The once luxurious getaway two hours north of New York City was part of the"The Borscht Belt", an area of the Catskill Mountains home to hotels, resorts and bungalows for Jewish-American middle and upper-class families to vacation. In the early 20s Jewish guests were turned away from most resorts and hotels leading to the movement upstate into the catskills.
What began as a small boarding house in 1914 became so popular despite its lack of plumbing and electricity that in 1919 the owners had to expand which led to the purchase of the land in which the resort still (barely) stands today.
Austrian immigrants, Asher Selig Grossinger and his wife Malka founded the resort but it was their daughter Jennie who led Grossinger's to become one of the most successful resorts of its time.
The resort was given its own city designation upon request when the owners wanted to separate the resort from its current city of Liberty NY. Grossingers city and resort had its own Post Office, landing strip, indoor pool, tennis courts, golf course, ballrooms, auditoriums, beauty salon and day spa and even became the first place in history to use artificial snow when they opened their ski slope in 1952.
During its heyday, well known Jewish celebrities enjoyed their stay at Grossingers or performed as one of the hotel and resort's comedy acts. The resort even became known as the "Waldorf of the Catskills" with their guest count reaching over 1,000 check ins per week.
In the late 1960s, Grossingers resort as well as the other Borscht Belt hotels began to lose their popularity as cheap air travel to other destinations, decreased Jewish discrimination and general loss of interest in this hotel model hit all at once. The resort continued to stay afloat but Jennie Grossinger's death in 1972 ultimately lead to its closure seeing as she was the heart of the resort treating every guest like family.
After the property was abandoned there have been multiple attempts to rebrand and renovate the property but even investors abandoned the project. Grossingers still stands vacant and many of the buildings have been demolished but a few of the larger buildings still stand with reminders of their past still inside.
Grossingers may be abandoned and in an advanced state of decay, it is still a beautiful resort whose exquisite past can be seen with a bit of imagination when exploring the property. Former guests who stayed at Grossingers (and other Borscht Belt resorts, hotels and bungalows) have fond memories of summers, and even winters spent in the Catskills with family and friends which deserve to be remembered.
Comment below or contact me if you spent time visiting Grossingers and have memories you wish to share or would like me to include on this page.
All photos taken by Sami Fego unless stated otherwise