Photos by JizzaBella


Celebrating 30 Years on Fire Island
This Year, Poolside @ The Ice Palace

Photos by JizzaBella

Ariel Sinclair is one of the most creative, professional and fabulous queens to ever grace the New York nightlife scene, but she is also a Fire Island queen, and this year marks her 30th anniversary doing her pool shows at the Ice Palace in Cherry Grove. Ariel’s performances are not like a thunderbolt, but rather the perfect storm, and she is loved and cherished by everyone that knows her.

As an extra added bonus, in addition to her 30th season in the Grove, Ariel will be hosting this year’s Miss Fire Island pageant, alongside RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Sasha Colby. This summer promises to be like none other at the Palace, partly because of Daniel Nardicio and friends, but also because of Ariel.

I had an enchanting conversation with the queen regarding all the questions I ever wanted to ask her and about this summer’s adventure.

Photos by JizzaBella

Hello, Ariel. What is going on in your life at the moment?

Well, the 30th season on Fire Island is starting.

How did you get your first gig on Fire Island?

My first gig on Fire Island was a pool show. The first time, actually, on Fire Island, I entered the Miss Fire Island contest in about 1984. I didn’t win. Then I became friends with Sal Piro and he started inviting me back year after year to do the pool show. I started officially working there in 1994.

So you’ve been doing this pool show for 30 years. There must be something about you that everyone loves. 

I know. Like I said, I am very blessed. Sometimes you wonder how are you going to do this and then before you know it, five seasons go by. I’ve seen two owners go already–this is the third owner now.

So how do you decide who is going to be in the show and what you are going to do?

I try to give the new baby drag queens a chance, like somebody did for me when I first started. Get some fresh blood out there. I make sure it’s a good variety show and that not everyone is doing the same thing. 

Who taught you how to put on your makeup?

I did. No one ever did my makeup. When I first started doing it, I did it horribly. It was a mess. The more you do it, the better you get. Practice made perfect for me. 

How did you get your name?

Ariel, I had the name before the mermaid did. I think it was a Greek archangel. I never heard it before, so I thought, “I’m going to go with Ariel”. Then, years later, I did some pageants and they suggested it was better if I had a last name. Sinclair just kind of flew and the rest is history.

What do you recall as your most fun year at Fire Island?

My best year was definitely 2002 because that year I was Miss Long Island from the Bunkhouse, I was the homecoming queen in Cherry Grove, and I won Miss Long Island, all in the same year. That was a good year.

What was your most embarrassing moment ever?

I’m sure it was like when my wig came off during a show. You’re dancing around and your wig goes flying. Then there was another time this guy grabbed me and jumped into the pool. I hit the bottom and came up with no wig on and my makeup running all over the place. I’m sure there are a lot more.

How many years do you plan on doing this pool show?

‘Till I’m dead. I definitely want to be cremated and have my ashes spread all over Fire Island. Whenever people go to the beach, I tell them, “This isn’t sand, it’s people’s ashes”.

Do you have a favorite queen?

I love every queen. They are all beautiful and talented in their own way. As a queen myself, I appreciate everything they do. 

Who do you hate most?

Nobody, LOL I don’t hate anybody.

What made you even get into drag? What’s your story?

The first time for drag was definitely Halloween. I have pictures of me at four years old with my mother’s wig on. And then it kind of went away and came back. I did it one year for Halloween and once that started, I wanted to do it more often. One of the first shows I did was the Silver Lining in Floral Park.

Nowadays, you work more than probably anybody that I know. How do you have time for a social life? Or do you have a social life?

My work is social. I meet a lot of people when I’m doing the shows and I have fun while I’m doing it. It’s a job where I could have fun and be social at the same time. When I’m not doing it, I don’t want to talk to anybody. I just want to be left alone. The work is very social and you always have to be on.

You are probably one of the most professional queens. What do you attribute that to?

Hard work. Definitely something I learned from my parents. They taught me to treat people the way you wanted to be treated. I try to always be on time. I try to help out and be a kind person. That’s it. It’s not easy, but alcohol definitely helps. 

Photos by JizzaBella

What’s your favorite drink?

Stoli Razberi and soda with cranberry.

Do you have anything planned yet for this year?

My plan for the summer is to have really good shows. Daniel Nardicio has a lot of really great people coming–Bernadette Peters and a great lineup this summer on Fire Island. 

Daniel is so invested in the Ice Palace because for a while it was just not doing anything. It needed a little facelift and now it’s a fun place again. And I’m excited the pool will be open this year. Last summer, it wasn’t open and we couldn’t go in the water because of the sharks.

When does your season start?

May 19th is the first pool show of the summer. My show will always be on Sundays.

So tell me everything else you are doing. 

Saturday’s – host @ Lips Restaurant, The ultimate in drag dining.

Monday’s – Bingo 9-11pm @ The Stonewall Inn

April 17th Bingo 7-9pm  @ The Merrow, Long Beach

April 18th Bingo 7-9pm  @ One Trick Pony, West Hampton, NY

April 25th Bingo 7-9pm  @ La Buena Vida, Moriches, NY

Starting May 19th through this summer, celebrating 30 years at The Ice Palace on Fire Island 

Sunday Pool show 3pm sharp 

Monday’s  Bingo 5pm

Tuesday’s Bingo 9-11pm @ The Island Mermaid, Ocean Beach, NY

Instagram: @sinclair_ariel   

Facebook: Ariel sinclair      

Eileen Shapiro

Best selling author of "The Star Trek Medical Reference Manual", and feature celebrity correspondent for Get Out Magazine, Louder Than War, and Huffington Post contributor, I've interviewed artists from Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, and Annie Lennox to Jennifer Hudson, Rick Springfield, LeAnn Rimes, and thousands in between. My interviews challenge the threat of imagination....

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