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So Goes Grossingers, the Nevele – So Goes America… A Brief Reflection.

March 7, 2021

My mother (then – Beatrice Magazine) at the Nevele in the Catskills. The photo date is July, 1938. She was all of 19 years old, her 20th birthday still five months later.

Growing up in NYC in the 1940s and 1950s – the place for my family which was “closest to heaven” was the resort area in the Catskill Mountains – a low mountain range, hardly meriting the term “mountains” 100 miles or so from “the city.” And of course, being New York City provintials, there was only one city in the entire world – it was a world – New York City.

My parents, aunt and uncles, whenever there was a sale and prices dipped, went there already in the 1930s and to be there at “Grossingers” or “The Nevele” was a sign, albeit a deceptive one, of upward mobility, that young workign class Jews, the children of immigrants whose parents could never afford it, had made it out of poverty, the ghetto – even if, like my parents, at that time, that they hadn’t.

The Catskills still very much had that prestige in the 1950s when I was a boy. Our family visited several times during that decade.
A few days ago, someone posted a series of postcards and photos of different resorts – then and now – on social media. These images gave me the chills – the sense of the temporariness of places, things… how fast they decay, how swift the decline… Me being me, I think of it as a metaphor for the fate of the country as a whole.
So look at the past – the present and think about where we’re heading in the future.
My mother had many talents, skills, but as I recall, horseback riding wasn’t one of them.
Flashback – Photographer updates postcards from the 1960s’ resorts into their abandonned ruins.
The Nevele – filmed in 2019
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