Once upon a time, the Catskills were home to a flourishing arts and recreation scene in the form of giant family resorts that hosted up and coming talent for memorable evenings of entertainment. The Borsht Belt, as it was known because of the immense Jewish flavor of the clientele, gave a start to comedians like Mel Brooks and Joan Rivers. And this scene was later immortalized in pop culture by books like Marjorie Morningstar and films like Dirty Dancing, which shows the waning days of one such fictional resort, Kellerman’s — as the film depicts, the upheaval of the 60s and 70s made these places seem quaint and out of date.
After fires and neglect led to hundreds of closures, only a few of these old lodges and resorts have lasted in any form. Photographer Marissa Scheinfeld has been visiting the sites of many of these former cultural and social behemoths and capturing what’s left, revealing striking modern-day ruins. Her photographs — part of a continuing project — can be found in the Borscht Belt Book. This week, she offers Flavorwire a group of slides from the book and beyond, showing the way nature is taking back some, but not all, of its territory from Grossinger’s, the Commodore and many other storied resorts, colonies and hotels.
Tamarack Lodge, Greenfield Park, New York
Lobby, Homowack Lodge, Spring Glen, NY
Outdoor Pool, Commodore Hotel, Swan Lake, NY
Indoor Pool, Grossinger’s Catskill Resort and Hotel, Liberty, NY
Black Magic Showroom, Commodore Hotel, Swan Lake, NY
Kitchen, Nevele Grande Hotel, Ellenville, New York
Handball Court, Echo Mountain Bungalow Colony, Monticello, NY
Outdoor Pool, Laurel’s Hotel and Country Club on Sackett Lake, Monticello, NY
Outdoor Pool, Tamarack Lodge, Greenfield Park, New York
Rotary Phone, Pines Hotel, South Fallsburg, NY
Chaise Lounge, Cardroom, Pines Hotel, South Fallsburg, NY