Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel

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Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel was a resort in the Catskill Mountains in the Town of Liberty, near the village of Liberty, New York. One of the largest Borscht Belt resorts, it was a kosher establishment that catered primarily to Jewish clients from New York City. After decades of activity and notable guests, it closed in 1986. The resort buildings were demolished in 2018.

History[edit]

Grossinger's in 1977

Asher Selig Grossinger moved from New York City to Ferndale in Sullivan County in the Catskill Mountains in the 1900s. There he rented rooms to visitors from New York City. His wife, Malka,[1] operated the kosher kitchen, and Jennie Grossinger (1891–1972), his daughter, was the hostess.[2] They called their home Longbrook House. In 1919, they sold it and purchased a bigger house on 100 acres (0.40 km2), calling it Grossinger's Terrace Hill House.

The indoor pool in 1976

In 1952, Grossinger's earned a place in the history of skiing as the first resort in the world to use artificial snow.[3] Reportedly, the Grossinger family offered a million dollars to rename the local New York, Ontario and Western Railway train station at Ferndale to "Grossingers", but were rebuffed by competing hoteliers.

While the resort was operated by their daughter Jennie Grossinger it expanded to over 35 buildings ... "the main building contained an enormous dining room capable of seating 1,300 guests; under the dining room there was a vast, cavernous night club called the “Terrace Room".[4] It had its own airstrip[5][6] and post office. During his fighting days Rocky Marciano would train at the resort. In 1972, Jennie died and the decline began. But in the late 1970s and 1980s, resorts like Grossinger's or the Concord could no longer attract younger guests.

In August 1984, Grossinger’s, in its dying years, promoted a Woodstock weekend to mark the 15th anniversary of the festival.[7] It featured a workshop in tie-dyeing, a musical performance by David-Clayton Thomas, formerly of Blood, Sweat & Tears, a midnight showing of the four-hour documentary "Woodstock," and an appearance by John Sebastian, who advised, "Don't eat the purple tzimmes."[8] Abbie Hoffman, who was thrown off the Woodstock stage by Pete Townshend of The Who for making a political speech, was brought in by Grossinger’s for the promotion.[9]

Room 7276 in 1977

Grossinger's may be most widely recognized as the Catskill resort that inspired "Kellerman's Mountain Resort" in the 1987 film Dirty Dancing.[10]

In 1986, the Grossinger descendants sold the property to Servico.[11] Grossinger's main hotel and main resort areas closed in 1986,[12] but the golf course stayed open until 2017, and has been kept maintained. The golf course clubhouse was demolished in July 2018.[13] The members of the golf clubhouse call the course "Big G". Servico failed to reopen the hotel due to the massive costs associated with it. Numerous other companies also failed the same feat. It is owned by Louis Cappelli as of September 2013, who is hoping for casinos to come to the area. The Concord Resort is part of the same deal.[14] Demolition of the remaining buildings on the resort started in summer 2018. The last building at Grossinger's was demolished on October 19, 2018.

In February 2019, a news reported stated that Sullivan Resorts LLC intended to build a "$50 million resort with a 250 room hotel, convention centre, private residences and other amenities.[15] Sullivan Resorts LLC was said to be "a subsidiary of owner Louis Cappelli’s Valhalla-based Cappelli Enterprises". The author of a news item in September 2019 did not seem as certain as to the long term plan for the property.[16]

Description[edit]

Grossinger's in 2015

Like most Catskill resorts, Grossinger's grew over time, evolving from a Victorian hotel, later remodeled with Mission-style improvements, through a Tudor-styled expansion in the 1940s and ending with the construction of Modernist-styled accommodations and entertainment facilities in the 1950s and 1960s. The original building, the former Nichols House, was designed by Frank Cottle, a local architect. Competition from nearby resorts drove the 1940s expansion, expanding the dining room on a large scale and creating the Terrace Room club and the Pink Elephant bar. The Terrace Room was expanded and renovated in 1949 by architect Morris Lapidus, one of his first hotel commissions.[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Malka "Mollie" Grumet Grossinger (1870-1952) -..." www.findagrave.com.
  2. ^ Shepard, Richard F. (November 21, 1972). "Jennie Grossinger Dies at Resort Home. Jennie Grossinger Dies at 80 In Her Resort Home in Catskills". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-18. Jennie Grossinger, the gentle Jewish mother who transformed a modest Catskills family hotel into a luxurious resort, died early yesterday morning in a ranch cottage on the vast property the world calls Grossinger's but she called home. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ On This Day: March 25, BBC News, accessed December 20, 2006. "The first artificial snow was made two years later, in 1952, at Grossinger's resort in New York, USA. "
  4. ^ Ruins of Grossinger's Resort
  5. ^ 41°47′59″N 074°42′04″W / 41.79972°N 74.70111°W / 41.79972; -74.70111 (Grossinger's/Liberty Airport)
  6. ^ Freeman, Paul (May 11, 2013). "Grossinger's Airport / Liberty Airport, Liberty, NY". Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields. Retrieved 4 August 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ "Town Troubled By Woodstock's 20th Anniversary". AP NEWS.
  8. ^ "Archives | The Philadelphia Inquirer". www.inquirer.com.
  9. ^ Mark, Jonathan. "Back To The Garden, Just Off Route 17". jewishweek.timesofisrael.com.
  10. ^ Nir, Sarah Maslin (August 9, 2017). "Owner Hopes to Remake Resort That Inspired 'Dirty Dancing'". New York Times. Retrieved 9 August 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ I am the son of Robert Lehman, the managing director of Grossinger's in 1986-1988 who worked for Servico, and I am the owner of http://www.grossingers.org
  12. ^ "Catskill Archive - Grossinger's, Grossinger, NY". www.catskillarchive.com.
  13. ^ "Grossingerrs Golf Club". www.grossingergolf.net.
  14. ^ Cappelli unveils plans for Grossinger's, recordonline.com, 21 August 2013
  15. ^ Possible revival of Grossinger’s Resort moves ahead
  16. ^ Grossinger’s Resort site cleaned up
  17. ^ Padluck, Ross (2013). Catskill Resorts:Lost Architecture of Paradise. Schiffer Publishing, Ltd. pp. 134–149. ISBN 978-0-7643-4317-9.

Further reading[edit]

  • Joel Pomerantz; Jennie And The Story Of Grossinger's (1970)
  • Tania Grossinger, "Growing Up at Grossinger's" (1975)
  • Richard Grossinger, "New Moon" (1996)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°47′23″N 74°43′23″W / 41.789809°N 74.722996°W / 41.789809; -74.722996