Islanders Club membership badge on chain
Overall: 1 1/8 x 1 1/8 in. (2.9 x 2.9 cm)
Marked on obverse: "1983 / THE ISLANDERS / 1441/322 E. 34TH STREET / NEW YORK 10016 / (212) 889-1806"; marked on reverse: "DROP IN ANY / MAIL BOX / RETURN POSTAGE / GUARANTEED"
Square white metal tag on chain.
This membership tag is an artifact of New York's gay culture. Worn as a badge by members of The Islanders Club, this dog tag was issued to Wilfrid J. Michaud, Jr., Esq., in 1983. Organized around 1965 by founder and president Blue Flettrich, the group initially organized gay parties, and soon after became a travel club that offered a bus service for affluent gay travelers between Manhattan and Sayville's ferry slips, where ferries left for Cherry Grove and the Pines, Fire Island's main gay communities. Members of The Islanders Club were provided luxury motor coach service, complete with air conditioning, alcoholic beverages, and crew clad in navy-and-white uniforms. In 1972, membership to The Islanders Club was $3, with travel to Fire Island costing $6. Each member was subsequently given a dog tag with an identification number, which served as their bus ticket for the season. By the summer of 1977, the Club boasted 30,000 seats per summer season and about 3,000 members. Though The Club's heyday was the 1970s and 1980s, it was mentioned in the 1998 edition of Access: Gay USA (a travel guide written by gay and lesbian authors providing information on the best nightlife, accommodations, and restaurants in America), and continues to run today. Fire Island has a long history as a travel site for gay travelers. Local legend has it that Irish writer and aesthete Oscar Wilde stayed for several days in 1882 at the Perkinson Hotel in Cherry Grove, which subsequently became a gay destination. Yet it was not until the 1960s that Fire Island became a nucleus of gay life, when John B. Whyte developed the Pines as a resort community.
Gift of Stephen Borkowski, given in memory of Wilfrid J. Michaud, Jr. Esq.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.