AN ABANDONED resort that inspired iconic 80s film Dirty Dancing and hosted legendary celebrities like Rocky Marciano, Debby Reynolds and Jerry Lewis has been left frozen in time.
Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel was admired as one of the grandest hotel complexes of its time as over 150,000 lavish visitors walked up to it’s reception desk each year for decades.
Sat proudly in New York’s Catskill Mountains the hugely popular resort covered thousands of acres and had over 35 awe-inspiring buildings.
From a golf course dubbed “the big G” to a record-breaking ski resort and ice skate rink, the hotel complex was a dream for 60s superstars and the wealthy, looking for a great escape from New York’s hectic streets.
But like all dreams this one came to an end in pretty abrupt circumstances after one of the hotel’s brightest workers died and the resort met a harrowing decline.
Since 1986 the hotel was clouded with ambitious new owners with failed projects due to the size of the hotel and the mammoth cost to repair the crumbling place and get it back up and running again.
read more in crumbling places
A dining table that sat 1,300 guests was the main feature of the first giant building put in the resort that was first opened in 1919 when a pair of Austrian’s moved to New York and set up a hotel business.
After a few years running a smaller family friendly hotel the couple and their daughter – the Grossinger’s – bought themselves 100 acres of land and a building called Terrace Hill House.
This went on to become the huge dining room as more buildings came in as the land was used up in the heart of the Borscht Belt, outside of New York City.
By the mid twentieth century the hotel industry was booming across the world as major cities like London, Paris and Los Angeles all started to host guests in the post war boom asbecame a must have commodity.
But in New York one hotel stood tall above the rest – Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel.
Over the decades the resort grew in size and popularity by evolving from a small hotel to an architectural great of its time.
Constantly switching styles and going from a Tudor style safe haven to a modernist’s dream world, the resort kept up with the times and trends and that attracted a familiar type of face into the hotel.
One of the most famous stories coming out of the Grossinger was how Rocky Marciano – one of the world’s greatest ever heavyweight boxers – used the facilities to train for his fights.
The man who is believed to be the inspiration for Slyvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa cultural icon would waltz through the enormous entrance doors and lace up his gloves to perfect the art of boxing.
The knockout king wasn’t the only star who enjoyed spending the time at theresort as one of the original celebrity couples Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds tied the knot inside the massive walls that overtime had managed to grow to 1,200 acres.
Other icons of their era Jerry Lewis, Milton Berle and Jackie Robinson were all regularly seen hanging out in the resort.
By this point Asher Selig Grossinger and wife Malke had given the hotel in the Catskills over to their daughter Jennie who started to ramp up the project and make it a must see experience for millions.
Going from a couple of buildings to a whopping 35, the Grossinger had become an important staple of a visit up from New York City.
Multiple outdoor tennis courts, a skating rink, theatres, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and even a public airstrip and post office made the resort more of acity than a holiday spot.
But history was made when Jennie installed a ski hill complete with slopes and used fakefor the first time ever.
At its peak the resort welcomed in over 150,000 people a year thanks to multiple glowing reviews both by celebrities and the press.
In 1954, Commentary magazine compared it to some of the biggest products in the world.
The Grossinger was seen just as important to the hotel industry as Cadillac is to cars, minks was to furs, and Tiffany will always be to jewellers.
But following Jennie’s death in 1972, the resort met a steep decline.
Partly because the location in the rocky mountains wasn’t attractive to people anymore with the booming centre of New York City taking off and things like cruises and sunshine holidays became more popular.
It was sold to Servico in 1986, where it ended up shutting down.
All the buildings were left abandoned except the golf course that was constantly well looked after until late 2017.
One year after it closed Dirty Dancing was released.
Despite it never being officially confirmed Grossinger’s Resort is seen as the inspiration behind Kellerman’s Mountain Resort in the hit film that is still adored to this day.
Following its closure, several attempts to reopen the resort were made but nothing ever succeeded despite a casino, housing development and even another hotel being planned.
As the walls became overgrown with moss and horror weeds the entire resort started to fall to its knees.
Thepool was left a murky green with plaster from the walls littered across the place.
Graffiti was covering the walls by the 2000s and smashed glass and rubbished old chairs and wooden bits and bobs from the once bustling resort were now just reminders of a better time.
A demolition job got underway in 2018 at Grossinger’s Resort and only a few buildings were left.
It was back in thein 2019 when a hopeful report gave ambitions of a $50million construction redevelopment taking place but four years on nothing has been heard about the potential 250-room hotel and convention centre.
Today the resort is all but gone as a fire ripped through the Catskill’s and struck some of the final buildings leaving them in a sorry state.
The Grossinger is set to be the subject of a new documentary from Bungalow Media + Entertainment but outside of that the beautifully important resort is almost obsolete.