The Rural Urbanism of Fishers Island

2009_05_fishers_island_showThere are places in this country that have managed to stop time and not age. Fishers Island, New York is one of these places. The island is a magnificant example of a rural urbanism. Even with the dirt roads and stunning landscape, a framework of compact, pedestrian centers hold the island’s charming character together. The grocery store is the first neighborhood center with the yacht club a short walk away. The fire station, hardware store and public docks create the second nod of activity. The two unique structures, each perched on the edge of the shore hanging effortlessly over the waters of the bay, are timeless buildings grown out of utility and love. The final, and most active center, is of course where the coffee shop, ice cream and liquor stores are located. Pulled together with a handful of other, more urban minded, buildings this hamlet is more about the landscape supporting the structures then the framing of space through architecture. It is both a garden and a retail district all in one. We were lucky enough, as guests of friends, to be within walking distance of the ice cream shop. The wind worn shingle siding, painted wood floors and 1940’s bathroom fixtures were the final touches convincing me that the Island had not been touched by time for generations. A truly remarkable collection of timeless buildings and character defining landscapes.

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