WATCH: Fire Island ferry immortalized in song by singer Seth Sikes

Seth Sikes on Fire Island
Seth Sikes (Photo: YouTube)

Although visitors from further afield are discouraged from flocking to its beaches this summer, Fire Island is still welcoming locals and New Yorkers that adhere to strict social distancing measures.

Fire Island Pines and Cherry Grove have been popular gay hotspots with the LGBTQ community for decades. One fan of the island is theatre director and cabaret singer Seth Sikes.

Related: Gay summers on Fire Island remembered in evocative new photo book

His latest YouTube video is a tribute to Fire Island and its iconic ferry. It’s performed to the tune of ‘On The Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe’, an Oscar-winning song by Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren. It was performed by Judy Garland in the 1946 movie, The Harvey Girls.

Sikes has changed the lyrics to comment on the South Bay ferry bringing LGBTQ visitors to Fire Island in “the perilous year of 2020”: “After months and months of quarantine, those cranky city slickers crave a brand new scene, so they make a little getaway, to the Fire Island ferry on the old South Bay”. However, he also reminds people to be responsible: “And don’t forget your mask or you’ll be sent home fast.”

It’s a pity more people didn’t take note of the advice last month. Thousands of fun-seekers descended upon Fire Island to party over the July 4th weekend, prompting condemnation on social media.

Since that time, Fire Island has gone to lengths to remind people to wear face masks, wash their hands, and avoid getting too close to others.

Related: Meet the queer team of real-life superheroes protecting Fire Island from COVID-19

Sikes told GayCities that, like many in the performing arts, his career has been seriously impacted by the pandemic.

“I’m the Assistant Director of The Band’s Visit and the show had been on a national tour but once COVID hit the tour came to an abrupt halt. And I had been slated to perform my latest show at Feinstein’s/54 Below last Spring but all performances have been postponed for the time being.”

Sikes usually lives in New York City, “But once the weather got a bit warmer I decided to head for The Pines on Fire Island and have been here steadily ever since. It’s gorgeous out here and I’m grateful to be able to stay for such a long period of time. Plus all my friends come here for vacation so I get to see a lot of people I love and have been missing.”


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