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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Niagara Fell

The TripAdvisor reviews said it all: "words can't describe the awfulness", "we got locked INSIDE", "please stay at this hotel and RUIN your entire vacation". It's no wonder that between woeful management and upkeep, a terrible economy, and the fact that the hotel itself was a lie ("Fallside" doesn't mean "walk half a mile through the ghetto or drive and pay a $20 state park toll"), the Fallside closed for the last time in the fall of 2008. While there was an apparent attempt to revive the place, judging by the signs proudly proclaiming new management and "Major Brand Chain…

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Mosquito Coast

After watching the tower come down, Anna and I continued on to our real adventure planned for the weekend -- bike camping along the lake shore. On our way out of town we stopped at the public market to pick up Katie, Jake and Tom, and went on from there to route 101, and about a 40 mile ride to Sodus Point. Our destination: Beachwood State Park, a newly acquired property that was once the boy scouts' Camp Pioneer (which would be replaced in 1951 with the current Adirondack site), then the girl scouts' Arrowhead Camp, before closing around 2000.…

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