The lighthouse was first commissioned by Congress in the mid-19th century, and for several generations it safely guided merchant vessels into New York Harbor. Fire Island light was often the first glimpse of this new country for the throngs of immigrants that came to America over a century ago.
In 1974 the venerable beacon was decommissioned and it fell into disrepair due to the limited resources of the National Park Service. It was at risk of being demolished.
Many community members were determined to prevent that, however. They appreciated the importance of Fire Island Light to America’s maritime history, and they understood it’s iconic symbolism. Thirty years ago they formed the Fire Island Lighthouse Preservation Society, raising over 1.3 million dollars for the restoration and preservation of the lighthouse. In 1984 Fire Island Light was placed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the FILPS continues to manage it.
RJ Kikuchiyo knows Fire Island Light well in real life, so it’s no surprise that he put his masterful building skills to use re-creating the historic build for Second Life. However, from the beginning of the project RJ’s intention was to make FILH a special build, an inspirational centerpiece for the Sail4Life installation on Linden Lab’s Relay For Life weekend.
Well, since last September Fire Island Light has been quietly sitting over in DYC’s Stoogle annex, waiting for it’s RFL debut in July. As you can see from the video above, this is a highly detailed, museum-quality built that stands as a fitting tribute to both FILH and the litany of other coastal beacons that shone through fog and darkness to guide mariners home.
As part of the ongoing DYC renovations, we recently opened up the southern channel into Stoogle (the red arrow in the above map). So if you want to stop by for a preview inspection of Fire Island Lighthouse, you’re welcome to sail over and tie up at the lighthouse dock. Auto return for visitors is set at 30 minutes there, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore RJ’s build.
Be sure to visit in the next several weeks, though; you might not get another chance. 🙂 RJ’s decided that his Fire Island Lighthouse will be unique. There will only be one Fire Island Light in Second Life, and it will go to the highest bidder at the Sail4Life charity auction in July.
The sailor that has the heart to dig deep enough to make a winning bid on that day is going to take home far more than just a beautiful build. They’ll be graced with an enduring monument to the spirit of community that binds sailors for all time.