23 eerie photos that show the crumbling beauty of New York's abandoned 'Borscht Belt' resorts

Photography by Marisa ScheinfeldThese once-popular resorts have fallen into disrepair.
  • Photographer Marisa Scheinfeld grew up in the “Borscht Belt,” a ritzy Jewish resort haven in Southeastern New York.
  • Many of the establishments have gone out of business and become abandoned buildings.
  • Scheinfeld returned to the area to document what the resorts look like today.

In the first half of the 20th century, Jews were unwelcome at many resorts in the United States.

So beginning in the 1930s, middle class Jewish New Yorkers found a respite in rural Southeastern New York.

The so-called “Borscht Belt” – also known as the Jewish Alps and Solomon Country – was transformed by the Jewish community into a resort haven of their own.

Skiing, skating, swimming, and boating were all offered by the ritzy resorts. Little-known comedians including Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and Joan Rivers all got their start doing stand-up comedy here. The community even inspired the film “Dirty Dancing.”

In short, the Borscht Belt was booming.

But that all changed in the 1960s. Cheap air travel suddenly allowed a new generation to visit more exotic and warmer destinations. Grossinger’s Resort, which once boasted 150,000 visitors annually and was known as the “Waldorf in the Catskills,” abandoned its operations in 1986.

New York-based photographer Marisa Scheinfeld grew up in this community, vacationing in the Borscht Belt with her family every summer. She set out to capture the crumbling glamour of the once well-known destinations in a photography book called “The Borscht Belt.”

“I truly feel there is a sense of a new life, a movement and presence in the photographs, and while bittersweet, and at times seemingly even apocalyptic, I thinkit’s phenomenal,” Scheinfeld said in a statement. “While photographing a lot of these [hotels], I’d walk in and feel disturbed by the way they looked and their conditions. But I’d also be absorbed and amazed. There was a tragedy and awe going on at the same time.”

Scheinfeld is giving book talks this summer in the Catskills and in Boston. A travelling exhibit of the photos from the book will also be displayed in 2020 at the New York State Museum in Albany, New York.

Keep reading to see what happens when glamorous resorts become eerie abandoned buildings.


The Borscht Belt was once a thriving Jewish resort community. It was even fondly referred to as ‘the Jewish Alps.’

Courtesy of Marisa ScheinfeldIce skating at the Pines Hotel.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


Many middle class Jewish New York families would take their children here for vacations in the New York Catskills.

Courtesy of Marisa ScheinfeldResort-goers enjoy a pool.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


The resort community was the inspiration for movies like “Dirty Dancing” and hosted comedians like Woody Allen and Joan Rivers. Through the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, it was thriving.

Courtesy of Marisa ScheinfeldVacationers enjoying the dock.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


But by the 1970s, with the rise of affordable air travel, a trip to the Borscht Belt was no longer fashionable.

Photography by Marisa ScheinfeldThe dock is no longer crowded.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


Photographer Marisa Scheinfeld decided to document the crumbling hotels she frequented as a child. Here, pool chairs lay abandoned at Grossinger’s Catskill Resort and Hotel.

Photography by Marisa ScheinfeldGrossinger’s Catskill Resort and Hotel.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


A broken music stand sits abandoned in the lower lobby of the Pines Hotel in South Fallsburg, NY.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


This outdoor pool at the Pines Hotel was once packed with vacationers — now there are mounds of dirt and trash everywhere.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


This indoor pool at Grossinger’s has been abandoned so long that moss has coated the floor.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


Plants seem to have ample room to grow at Grossinger’s indoor pool.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


The pool’s enormous wall of windows is still mostly intact.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


The hallway that once led to the gorgeous stage at the Persian Room has seen better days.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


These bright green chairs once held patrons waiting for coffee, but the bar is now long gone.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


Would you walk down this creepy hallway at Grossinger’s?

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


This was once the ice skating rink at the Pines Hotel. Now it’s just another crumbling infrastructure in South Fallsburg.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


Flamingo-coloured chairs and overturned tables have long been abandoned in the dining room of the once grand Pines Hotel.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


And the outdated, dusty furniture in this ski chalet in the Nevele Grande Hotel patiently waits for someone — anyone — to sit down.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


The Nevele Grand Hotel’s kitchens no longer offer fine dining — or any food at all.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


The Stardust Room nightclub at Kutsher’s Country Club is now coated in a thick layer of regular dust.

Photography by Marisa ScheinfeldKutsher’s Country Club.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


Guest rooms at the Homowack Lodge in Spring Glen, New York, are overrun with mould.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


The Homowack Lodge’s once-popular bowling alley sits empty and unused.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


Abandoned bungalows like Cooper’s Sunrise Bungalow Colony are still situated in the greenery of Rock Hill, New York.

Photography by Marisa ScheinfeldCooper’s Sunrise Bungalow Colony.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


The lobby of the Esther Manor in Monticello is closed for business.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld


Amid all of the crumbling swimming pools and dusty furniture, nature is taking its course.

Source: Marisa Scheinfeld

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