Say, did anyone see Dirty Dancing? Good, because I didn’t. But I’m informed that it takes place in a Catskills resort populated by plenty of my Jewish brethren. Yes, that’s the way it used to be if you were Jewish and lived in the Northeastern US in the 40′s, 50′s, and 60′s. Flights to Europe were out of reach of most people and you goyim weren’t letting us vacation with you. Shockingly, once the world and Jewish vacation plans began to change most of these places went out of business.
I was lucky enough to catch the end of this era and spent a few weekends of my childhood up at Grossinger’s as well as The Concord and The Raleigh. By the time I got there they were already in really bad shape, corners were cut, and the decor was out of a Brady Bunch episode. You couldn’t quite see it as the place where Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds got married. Still, I have some pretty fond memories. Which is why I was amazed and horrified to find this website chock full of depressing pictures of what Grossinger’s looks like now. Apparently it was sold and the new owners intended to renovate, only the plans kind of came apart.
(Let me just pause to tell you how I reached this site. I wasn’t actually Googling Grossinger’s to see if I could go there and play a round of golf with the Children of Israel, but rather, I was pursuing a chain of links that began at Digg and was originally a search for information about this town in Pennsylvania where an underground mine fire has been burning since 1962. Seriously! The government gave up a la the Simpsons Garbageman episode and everyone had to leave except a few
idiots loyal townspeople who decided to stay on. Anyway, a completely abandoned town is the kind of thing that fascinates me and apparently a lot of other people as there are quite a few sites devoted to the exploration of abandoned places (even ones without smoke coming out of the ground), and voilà, we have Grossinger’s.)
So here are some photos. This first one is kind of how I remember the pool, only less postcard-like. But the walls were glass and it was lovely. The deep end had a window and people in another part of the complex could see you if you were drowning, er, showing off underwater.
And, well, here it is now. Notice the beach chairs still lined up. Oh, the humanity!
Look, I found a picture on another site of the pool-voyeur window!
Well, this really took me back in a moss-covered way. I mean, believe me, I’m hugely thankful for both $400 fares to exotic locales (and by exotic I’m not talking about beautiful Mt. Airy Lodge) and the fact that Jews are welcome to sip drinks with Friends of Jesus, but I do think something lovely has been lost. Something besides Henny Youngman.