What Should Be Done With Abandoned Catskills Resorts?

  |  July 15, 2013
The original Concord Hotel, 2005

The original Concord Hotel, 2005

That was a topic of conversation last weekend at the 18th annual Sullivan County Architecture Tour; this year, it was held concurrently with the 12th annual Catskills Preservation/History Conference.  There have been several photographic tours of their startling decline, grand hotels from the Catskills’ Golden Age now crumbling, with weeds rising up to claim the once-glittering terrazzo floors. But little has been suggested in terms of a plan to ameliorate the problem. Since the 1970s, when the “Jewish Alps,” stopped being the destination of choice for Jewish New Yorkers (thanks to the rise of global air travel, assimilation and the re-entrance of Europe to the travel scene after time and distance from the Holocaust), tens of these places have gone to seed.

The proposals that do exist for the Concord or the Nevele are heavily dependent upon gambling; developers plan to reinvent these places as casino destinations, mini-Atlantic Cities in the sky (not that that’s a good comparison, what with AC in such economic pain). But what about the others? How could we bring them back? Should we? What kind of tourism could realistically draw people from New York City and beyond?

Read On, Reader...