An Enduring Spirit: 1980’s Cherry Grove

photographs by Susan Kravitz

The forty black and white photographs included in Susan Kravitz’s new book, An Enduring Spirit: 1980’s Cherry Grove were taken during the ten-year period when large numbers of gay men who summered in Cherry Grove, Fire Island became the unsuspecting victims of a new horror, AIDS. A generation of Cherry Grove men died of this strange new disease, while those who lived were left to bury their friends and lovers, time and time again. Ironically, Kravitz’s photographs explore the ways in which Cherry Grove tried to celebrate the good times during this very scary, dark period in their history. Many of her photographs were taken at traditional community events, including the Invasion of the Pines, High Tea, theatrical productions, and the Annual Homeowners’ Ball. Her images, reflecting the human condition, capture the joy, exuberance and the craziness that accompanied the despair.