Eileen and I, along with two wonderful photography friends, recently took a trip to the “Jewish Catskills” to see what remained of our memories of years past. For those of you who did not grow up in Brooklyn (and environs) in the ’50’s let me try and explain. Back in the ’50’s there was no such thing as air conditioning, so, when summer came and school was out, much of the city emptied as our families headed upstate to what we know as The Borscht Belt, the “Jewish Catskills”.
My family would go every summer to Meisel’s Bungalow Colony in the Ellenville, NY area. My mother, sister and I would stay the whole summer while my dad would make the weekend commute with all the other fathers. Eileen, on the other hand, would come up for a couple of weeks each year and stay in a bungalow colony in South Fallsburg, NY.
The Trip Up to the Catskills…
Back in the day, when we would travel from Brooklyn to the Catskills, there was no NY Thruway to travel on, so we would take good old Route 17. One stop that everyone, and I mean everyone, made was at the Red Apple Rest. Now, long in disrepair, the Red Apple Rest was our family and many other’s pit stop. I’m sure that those of you who made this trip have fond memories of stopping there.
On an earlier trip I took some images of what remains of The Red Apple Rest.
Our destination was the South Fallsburg area as Eileen has not been there in over 40 years (a long trip from Israel) and she wanted to see what remained and if she could locate the bungalow colony her family went to. Well, things have certainly changed in 40+ years, and I think Eileen was a bit surprised that the area has changed so much. In the town proper, the only place that remained that she was familiar with was the Rivoli movie theatre.
One of the big hotels in South Fallsburg, long gone now, was The Pines. We headed out to find it, but we were greatly disappointed as the hotel has been pretty much totally destroyed and we thought might be too dangerous to go inside to do some shooting. We did find an old, non-running bungalow colony just outside the hotel so we stopped there for a few shots. I say ‘non-running‘ because many of the bungalow colonies have been taken over by Orthodox Jews, mostly Hasidic, and while closed now for the winter, are very viable during the summer months.
Our trip continues in the next blog. Bet you can’t wait! 🙂