142 OCEAN WALK

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Designed by: EDWIN WITTSTEIN & ROBERT MILLER, c. 1967.

 

Popularly known as the TV House, 142 Ocean’s iconic silhouette is often attributed to Horace Gifford. Like most Fire Island rumors, there is just a whiff of truth to this. The set designer Edwin Wittstein and the art director Robert Miller commissioned two Gifford homes in the early Sixties. But around 1967 the pair went rogue, designing 143 Ocean Walk themselves. This led to a cooling of the relationship with their architect. When passing by, Gifford would ostentatiously turn his back to the house before offering a slim greeting.

 

Slanted walls cradle the approach and the sundeck. A simple but dramatic interior features a double-height space with a lofted bedroom looking out on the sea--a proscenium in which the rituals of summer life were acted out in grand style during the 1970’s, when it was rented by architect Scott Bromley and populated by the likes of Fern Malis and Robert Mapplethorpe. Tom Bianchi immortalized the TV House in a series of Polaroids that perfectly encapsulate the emerging gay aesthetic of the Pines, and appear in his book entitled Fire Island Pines, Polaroids 1975-1983.

 

Photos: Courtesy Scott Bromley and Fire Island Pines Historical Preservation Society. Polaroid: Tom Bianchi.

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