Town of the Week: Liberty

  |  August 20, 2012

Much like Monticello, a previous Town of the Week, the Sullivan County town of Liberty has suffered some heart ache over the past two decades. Formerly home to resorts like the famous Grossinger’s Hotel, Liberty was a shining gem in the crown of the Borscht Belt vacation scene until the 70s and 80s and the advent of inexpensive air travel killed the Catskill Mountain Resort industry. Grossinger’s, once the biggest employer in the Liberty area, shuttered in 1986, and Liberty hasn’t been the same since. Unemployment is still a problem in Sullivan County as a whole, hovering close to 10% as of 2010, which is about 2% above the state unemployment percentage (we got these numbers from

Liberty’s future isn’t clear, but it’s also not all gloom and doom. Proposals to turn the crumbling old Grossinger’s property into a casino, like the Concord Resort in Monticello, continue to make the rounds. We can’t say if that’s the key to revitalizing the area. However, let’s not forget that Liberty is located in some of most beautiful country in the US. The Catskills border the town to the north, and NYC is only 90 minutes south. Outdoor recreation opportunities abound, from skiing in the winter to hiking, kayaking, and camping in the warmer months. The town and village governments, as well as the residents, seem keen to make Liberty exciting again. All it takes is a quick glance at the photographs of the various holiday parades and events to see their commitment to making Liberty a thriving community. Given this level of enthusiasm, there is immense potential for this town to become a tourist destination once again.

Liberty, approx. 1901-1907

Real estate-wise, there is a wealth of dirt-cheap properties on the market, dozens of them in the five-figures category, not to mention land and investment properties. We know all too well how tough it is to find a gorgeous 2,000 square foot house 90 minutes upstate from Manhattan for around $100,000, but you’ll find them in Liberty.

Speaking of Grossinger’s Hotel, there are tons of stunning, heart-breaking photos on the Internet of its current state of disrepair. If you find beauty in decay and ruin, as we do, we highly suggest taking a moment out of your day to peruse these pictures and contemplate the long-passed grandeur of these Catskill resorts. Here are our recommendations:

Photo Adventure Journal

Buzzfeed’s 30 Eerie Photos of Grossinger’s Catskill Resort


Local government and historical websites:

Town of Liberty Official Website

Village of Liberty Official Website

Catskill Archives

Between the Lakes

About Kandy Harris

Kandy is a writer and musician/music teacher living in Saugerties, NY.

Read more from Kandy Harris

Read On, Reader...