The Burning of the Borscht Belt

  |  April 16, 2012

The big news in the Catskills last week was the burning of the former Tamarack Lodge in Wawarsing, a property now owned by the Western Mohegan tribe. High winds and dry air made the fire, set deliberately by a 56-year-old Long Island man named  Lance Muckenhaupt who was attempting to burn some brush, burn out of control. It destroyed tens of old bungalows — most unoccupied and condemned, but a few were inhabited by members of the tribe or their friends — as well as the clubhouse, poolhouse and other historic buildings, some 30 in all.

Then, yesterday, another fire broke out, this one at the Grandview Palace condominiums in Fallsburg, which opened as Brown’s Hotel, a classic Catskills resort, back in 1944. It was transformed in condos in 1997, one of the few examples of a relatively successful rebirth of a Borscht Belt property. Not successful enough, alas: Fallsburg town officials threatened the owners with condemnation just two months ago, citing fire and safety violations.

Read On, Reader...