The Concord Resort Hotel
Kiamesha Lake, NY
The Nova Scotian winter had made me angry and miserable. I concluded that I was going to spend 4 days of my March Break driving back to Ontario.
It was when I was leaving to go back to Nova Scotia that I found out the location of the Concord Resort Hotel. The Concord had been on the places I wanted to see list for too long & it needed to be done.
(The building above is just the easternmost portion - see here for a comprehensive view showing the full size of Concord)
In 1937, Russian immigrant Arthur Winarick, founder of the Jeris Hair Tonic Company (which is apparently still around and popular in barber shops), settled a debt by accepting a small hotel which would later become the Concord Resort Hotel.
The Concord Resort Hotel is located in a portion of the Catskill Mountain range in Southern New York known as the Borscht Belt - an area concentrated with many rich Jews. The prosperity of the area made it a world famous resort destination in post World War II times.
The Concord's popularity continued to grow through the 50's & 60's with numerous expansions being made to the structure in the 60's. The area would become known as the 'Jewish Riviera' to many New Yorkers trying to escape the humid urban streetscape.
I'm gradually eradicating my bad habit of procrastinating on things. Concord was almost procrastinated upon.
I really didn't like the feel of the area. I didn't like the walk up the road.
But here I was, parked on a rural road in the Catskills of New York State, after driving 2 hours out of my way to hit this place. I told myself that it was getting late and that I wouldn't regret it - I parked my car and began to walk towards the overwhelming structure.
The Concord Resort Hotel is something out of Stalinist Architecture. It's a big, boxy, drab-grey building that you drive right next to - its ten stories dwarfing your automobile.
You feel even smaller when you walk the road up to it. I stood on the road by the entrance and took one last look up & down the road. I had no idea where an entrance was, so it was more of a mad dash to any opening.
Once inside, I found my flashlight and made haste - there was only 2 hours of daylight left.
The first area I entered had the pool that you can see in the second and third pictures. Behind the pool was the Cold Plunge which you can see in the above picture.
The Cold Plunge was a tub filled with 50 degree water which was supposedly really good for your health. Many hotel guests wished it was a hot tub instead and the Cold Plunge was rarely used.
From the pool/Cold Plunge area, I made my way through the registration area and over to the lobby with its grand staircase.
From the previous aerial image, you can see that the Concord could provide a full day worth of exploring. Unfortunately, I only had 2 hours and therefore couldn't be very thorough.
For a far more comprehensive tour, see: http://www.uer.ca/~bratchny/catskills/12530/
I barely went through the structure that you can see in the first picture.
Instead I opted to exhaustively search and roof the westernmost building which you can't see.
The problem with hotels is that, away from the lobby it's just room after room after room of similar objects and dimension.
The Concord was no different; but I knew this coming into the visit. People had told me that The Concord is boring, but its stature and size compelled me.
I ended up spending more time gawking out the windows than inside the actual rooms. The Concord was still exciting because of its magnitude.
At The Concord's peak, it sat on a 1700 acre ground.
Upon these 1700 acres sat 1500 hotel rooms, 30 tennis courts, 3 golf courses, horse stables, a small bar, chalets, golf club houses and a smaller hotel for workers.
Above you can see a portion of the 3 pools that are found on the grounds of the Concord.
The westernmost building also afforded a nice view of the setting New York sun and the ruins of the tennis courts.
Portions of these tennis courts were covered and there was also an arena to the right - the indoor tennis court buildings and the arena have since been demolished.
The setting sun from that westernmost portion meant that it was time to go.
I hit the road and continued on. The one stop en route to Nova Scotia was enjoyable.
Plans continue to come about and fall through. The police and firefighters of the area routinely use the building for training - but this is about the extent of purpose that Concord satisfies.
Currently, the owners are trying to get a Native American casino to open so that they can renovate a portion of the Concord into a 200 room elegant facility.
Time will tell.