When I recently came across an article about the abandoned and overgrown Grossinger’s Resort Hotel, I became fixated on the photographs of the pool within the resort’s natatorium. I recognized the space (but barely) from a collection of ephemera, which we digitized for The Catskills Institute several years ago.
The distinctive, once orderly, deck chairs now stand alone in the muck and moss, or have been tossed like bones into the bottom of the graffiti laden pool, joining muddy strings of blue beaded lane markers. The signature tile work is faintly recognizable under the encroaching moss, and the star burst lamp still hangs from the ceiling. I knew how tragically abandoned the formerly thriving resorts in the Catskill Mountains had become, and had seen photographic evidence of just how overgrown and lost these spaces currently are, but the images of the natatorium haunt; the building sits upon the landscape like a perpetually decomposing corpse. In the mid-century (when the indoor pool was constructed) the resort was thriving, as it had been since the 1920s. Grossinger’s gradually declined throughout the 1970s, a decline which hastened when the property was sold in 1986.1 Many items of interest pertaining to Grossinger’s, including an Auction notice and contents for sale, can be found in Brown’s Digital Repository. Most of the resort’s buildings have now been demolished, but the natatorium still stands as a ghostly relic; its remnants pointing to fragmented memories, an uncanny space filled with abandoned objects of leisure being consumed by nature itself.