The slow decay of Grossinger's

Maybe it’s still popular in some places, but the idea that “mommy and the kids go to the hills/seashore/other nearby attraction while daddy works in the city and visits them on the weekends” seems rather quaint to me.

Did the Jewish resorts in the Catskills admit black guests, back in the day? It sounds like the gentile hotels did not.

Not sure if you’re aware of it, but the idea behind that was that it got HOT and humid in the city. In the days before widespread air conditioning, the idea was to spare the wife and kids the discomfort, and to pack them off to the cooler and less congested mountains or seashore, while Dad, who had to hold down the job (a lot fewer working moms back then) stayed in the city and worked during the week. He visited the family on weekends, if he could.
Thus developed the “Summer Bachelor”. Alistair Cooke, the BBC correspondent in America whose “Letter from America” was popular on both sides of the Atlantic, described it in detail in one of his Letters. It’s also the necessary background for the play and movie The Seven Year Itch. The movie opens with a prologue explaining the custom.

What killed the practice, as Cooke observed, wasn’t the advent of cheap airplane travel, but the widespread use of air conditioning in the 1950s, which rendered the hot city habitable for everyone. If you didn’t have to spend all day in the air conditioned movie theater (or standing over a subway grate), you didn’t need the mountains or the seashore. And so the reign of the Summer Bachelor, with its many temptations for the unsupervised male, came to an end.

I’m only going on my impressions of what my father & his friends told me, but the “kids” ( boomers my dads age) really didn’t think the resorts were all that fun. They didn’t really want to continue as adults or share that experience with their own children. By contrast my dad’s family went to one of the Jewish cabin campgrounds, and at other times went to/worked at Jewish sleep away camps, and found that to be a formative experience he wanted to share with his kids. So my brother and I went to sleep away camps and went camping with family… Not to a stuffy boring expensive place like Grossingers where you spent your day listening to your aunts and uncles kvetch, same as at home. I’m not sure if it’s personal or generational, but my parents have a lifelong aversion to all-inclusive style resorts.

Again, just my impressions based on various conversations and discussions of the olden days, some indeed prompted by the film “Dirty Dancing”. Heh.

That’s basically where Baby was coming from in Dirty Dancing, after all, and the movie makes her sister look puerile for performing in the silly skits, etc.

If the “Peak Oil” doomsayers prove correct, the Catskills may come back . . .