Bluebird Of Friendliness

Once we finally found the stairs (which are not obvious in any way), we arrived in the iconic pool. The only resort with a full-size Olympic pool indoors, Grossinger's used it not only for recreation, but also for championship competition, hosting Olympic qualifying in swimming in 1956, as well as championship boxing, and early development of Alpine skiing, having been held in the resort's glory days. The pool area itself is a relic of its time, built in space-age modern style. Unfortunately every year nature and vandals eat up more of it... although it was always unlikely at best anyone…

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Lives of the Rich and Famous

When it closed abruptly in 1985, Grossinger's Resort had just began its sixth major expansion, and attempt to reclaim the title of "World's Largest Hotel" from the Concord and a few up and coming contenders in Las Vegas. With a declining tourist business in the Catskills already, and the scattering of Jewish families out of Brooklyn and into the rest of the northeast, the Borscht Belt's days were numbered, and the few remaining resorts intensified their competition, building unsustainably to build market share and go down in history as the Greatest. Among frequent guests in the 1980s, vacationing here as…

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I Walk Along Darkened Corridors

This was my second try at what is without a doubt the creepiest place I've ever explored. I'm still not sure why, but something about the Paramount Hotel is about as "haunted" as an abandoned building can get. Its history isn't particularly dark; the hotel expanded and contracted from 1905 to 2000, run for 93 of those years by the Gasthalter family, before burning partially in October 2000, while full to near capacity with 350 guests of a conference on Judaism. While everyone evacuated the hotel without casualties, 1/3 of the hotel had to be removed, including the lobby and…

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Pining For The Fjords

The Sullivan County Catskills are no longer the prime vacation spot they were for most of the last hundred years. Once known as the Borscht Belt and the Jewish Alps, the region was the birthplace of stand-up comedy and the ski lift, and once known for bumper to bumper traffic all the way from Brooklyn to the mountains. Air travel, air conditioning and middle-class Jewish families moving to the suburbs brought hard times to the Catskills, and resorts started closing through the 80s and 90s until by 1998 only two remained, out of nearly 100 abandoned and destroyed. The Pines…

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Resident Ego Castle

I built for Me a castle where my ego could reside Rooms filled with useless treasures which were my joy and pride Its steps led to confusion and massive doors kept out the light The walls closed in around me, and left me hostage to the night Mile Marker Zero -- Rooms (2008) Dundas Castle, or Craig-e-Clare, (often incorrectly referred to as Ravenloft Castle) is an isolated, uninhabited castle in Roscoe, NY abandoned in 1921. Originally a resort for the ultra-wealthy railroad tycoons, in 1915 it fell into the hands of the Dundas family (best known for their founding role…

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Mines of Moria

The best and weirdest ideas begin with beer, specifically the consumption of it in the outdoors. (like this:) Not that any of you didn't know that I'm not normal, but with some liquid inspiration and the right friends, even something as strange as a weekend bike trip to Niagara Falls makes perfect sense, and less than 24 hours later we were off riding into the night, basically in search of the unknown, to go sleep in a cave. After 55 miles or so, we found the cave entrance, and in the morning it was time to explore. From all we…

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