Travel to countries that have collapsed worldwide, and one will find post-Apocalyptic worlds. In the former Soviet Union, one can find scores and scores of abandoned and crumbling factories and cities - crumbling ruins testifying to the once great Soviet Union. In America, one can find a post-Apocalyptic world just out of New York City.
This is a creepy and eerie world - perfect for the adventurous traveler keen to explore such unusual destinations. This was once the playground for wealthy, primarily Jewish New Yorkers, but the good times weren't to last. See here for places in the world to survive an actual real-life apocalypse.
Updated by Gabriel Kirellos, December 3rd, 2021: The Catskills resort, particularly the Borscht Belt, served as a vacation spot back in the time to the Jewish population in New York. However, most of those resorts are abandoned. This article was updated to reflect what really happened to the Catskills Resorts and include some additional names of the abandoned hotels, such as the Lesser Lodge, the Nevele Grande Hotel, and others.
Background Of The Catskill Resort Area
The Catskill Resort area is situated in the Borscht Belt or Jewish Alps in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York. In its heyday, the area had as many as 500 resorts catered to guests of different incomes and welcomed some 150,000 or so guests annually. It was mainly a popular vacation location for Jewish families from New York City. It was popular from 1920 to the 1960s, but even by the late 1950s, things had started to go into terminal decline, and by the 1970s, most had shuttered and gone. But still, some managed to cling on for a while longer.
- Number Of Resorts: 500 In Its Heyday
Why It Declined
At the same time, as the resort area declined, air travel boomed. A similar story is to be found in England, travel back to the first half of the 1900s, and one could see the English coasts and beaches bustling with holidaymakers and bathes in the fridged waters. Fast forward, add in air travel, and suddenly the beaches of Southern France and Spain were infinitely more attractive.
- Primary Reason For The Decline: Rise Of Air Travel And The Desire To Visit More Exoctic Destinations
As air travel grew, the younger generation of Jewish-Americans looked further abroad for more exotic leisure destinations, sending the resort in decline and ruin.
With the decline, the railways began cutting service to the area. While the New York State Route 17 that led to the site was upgraded, passenger train access ended in 1953 on the Ontario and Western Railway.
The first of the establishments to fall prey was the bungalow colonies. These were followed by the smaller hotels. The most prominent and glitziest hotels like the Concord Resort Hotel and the Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel clung on for the longest.
Most Notable Abandoned Resorts
Two of the largest and most impressive resorts were the Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel and The Concord. These were each other's main competitors. These have been torn down now, but one should visit before all the other resorts are demolished.
Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel
It wasn't until 1986 that Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel finally closed its doors for the last time. This was once a large and proud hotel set on 1,000 acres in Liberty, New York. But as with so many things in life, the good times just weren't to last.
By the time it was demolished in 2018, one could have visited this crumbling ruin and seen its gigantic indoor pool holding little more than the overgrown vegetation colonizing it. As one would have wondered about the deserted halls, one couldn't have helped to have wondered if it was haunted.
- Rooms: 1,500 Guest Rooms At The Resort
- Dining Room Capacity: Sat 3,000
- Acres: Encompassed Some 2,000 Acres
- Kosher: It Was A Kosher Establishment Catering Mostly For Jewish Visitors
In an epilogue, today, the Resorts World Catskills stands on the sight of the former Concord Hotel. It is a large hotel and casino that boasts 65,000 square feet of gaming space with 112 table games. One can book accommodation here, but if one does, be sure to check out the many derelict buildings in the region before they too are all torn down.
- Date Opened: February 8th, 2018
- Number Of Slot Machines: Over 2,150
- Hotel: 18 Stories With 332 Suites
Not all old resorts are doomed to the eventual decline and oblivion being little more than the roost of pigeons. Check out the astonishing tail of The Greenbrier in West Virginia - a resort that has welcomed more than half of the USA presidents and is still going strong.
What Happened to the Catskills Resorts
Though the Borscht Belt Resort was once a major vacation destination in New York's Catskills, it's today an abandoned area. The Catskills Resorts were a safe haven for Jewish New Yorkers who went to vacation there because they were banned in the 1920s from most of the city's hotels.
One example of a small resort today abandoned in the Catskills is the Lesser Lodge, constructed in 1923, which was used as a favorite spot for Bar Mitzvahs. The Nevele Grande Hotel is another resort that was closed permanently in 2009. It was opened in the Catskills in 1901. Vacationers who were looking for meatless alternatives used to hit The Vegetarian Hotel, which discontinued its operations in the late 1980s.