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Crumbling away under a mass of vegetation: Inside the abandoned Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel

Jack Beckett

Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel was a famous resort in the Catskill Mountains in the Town of Liberty, near the village of Liberty, New York.

It was founded by a pair of Austrian Immigrants, Asher and Malke Grossinger. They moved from New York City to Ferndale in Sullivan County in the Catskill Mountains in 1914 and in 1919 they raised a small hotel, with running water and electricity.

It expanded rapidly and became one of the largest Borscht Belt resorts, where primarily Jewish families from New York City vacationed starting in the 1920s. Photos: Forsaken Fotos/Flickr

Dramatically expanding in size to encompass 35 buildings and 1,200 acres of land while welcoming 150,000 guests each year, Grossinger’s was so huge, it had its own post office, private landing strip, ballrooms, auditoriums and sports grounds.

It evolved from a Victorian hotel, later remodeled with Mission-style improvements, through a Tudor-styled expansion in the 1940s. The hotel gained increasing fame in the 1950s when it became the first resort in the world to use artificial snow.

 

In August 1984, Grossinger’s, in its dying years, promoted a Woodstock weekend to mark the 15th anniversary of the festival.

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.” 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.

 

By the late 1980s and early 70s, Grossinger’s and other neighboring resort hotels could no longer attract younger guests, and after decades of activity and notable guests, it closed its doors for good in 1986.

 

Since then, after years of neglect, decay has set in, such that layers of rust, mildew and grime cover its every surface. To this day, Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel sits abandoned next to a still working golf-course.

 

Numerous companies failed to reopen the hotel due to the massive costs associated with it. As of September 2013, it is owned by Louis Cappelli who is hoping for casinos to come to the area. The Concord Resort is also part of the same deal.