The Pines is an abandoned resort in the Catskill Mountains of New York.
The Pine’s began as the Daisy View Hotel in South Fallsburg, which offered showers and tub baths with cold and hot water in every room, and amenities such as dancing, live music and kosher dining. 14 It was replaced with the Moneka Lodge, a Mission style hotel, in 1931. 13
The original owners, Silverstein and Weiner, sold the hotel to Harry Cohen and May Schweid in 1946. It was renamed the Pines Hotel which grew into one of the largest resorts in the Catskills.
Recreational options included tennis, skiing, golf, swimming and other outdoor pursuits. 2 There were also numerous bars, a lounge, ballroom, card room and a nightclub — the latter popular with Buddy Hackett, Robert Goulet, Tito Puente, Joan Rivers and Tony Bennett. 2 4
In 1949, the Pines added a new recreation building, which was followed with another hotel wing in 1953, expanding the room count by 35 units.
An outdoor swimming pool with a distinct arch bridge was constructed in 1959 at a cost of $75,000. The bridge linked the cabanas one one side to a rooftop bar and the “Bamboo Room” on the other.
A new lobby, card room and indoor pool, designed by Architect H.D. Phillips, was built between 1959 and 1961. It was followed by the 1,300-seat Persian Room nightclub in 1962, the Wedgwood Room lounge, and the Viceroy Room ballroom.
New convention rooms and additional guest room wings were added in the mid-1960’s, including the Savoy, Hampshire and Regency wings. Also added were a nine-hole golf course, and an ice skating rink, ski chalet and double chair lift were installed by December 1965. 17 The chair lift was the first one of its type for the southern Catskills. 12 17
The congregation soon grew to offer resort-like services, essentially defining the “Borscht Belt,” an area distinguished by Jewish summer resort hotels, cabin colonies and camps. 1
Tourism peaked after World War II, when massive resort facilities, such as Grossingers and The Pines, were built in the countryside. 1 By the 1960’s, tourism in the “Borscht Belt” had entered a decline. Air travel was becoming increasingly convenient and cheap and the advent of interstate highways made long distance automobile travel easier.
Between 1982 and 1986, 40 acres of the resort land was subdivided into 78 condominiums called Pines Country Estates. 15 The Pines drew up plans for 600 additional homes to circle the golf course.
In the 1990’s, Cliff Ehrlich, vice president of the Pines and vice president of the Catskill Resort Association, approached the Oneida Nation. 16 The Oneidas had gone from offering bingo games on their reservation in 1985 to opening the Turning Point Casino in 1993. Ehrlich envisioned an Oneida Indian casino at the defunct Monticello Raceway. The push for a casino ultimately failed.
In January 1996, the kitchen and dining room at The Pines collapsed. 11 The hotel temporarily closed while the roof was rebuilt.
The Pines closed for good when a developer, Fallsburg Estates LLC, purchased the property from the Ehrlich family at the close of 1998. 2 8 The buyer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2002 and challenged property assessments. The tax case was resolved in July 2007 when the company paid a $1 million settlement for back taxes and the had the hotel assessment lowered in steps to $500,000.
At a point in 2006, Fallsburg Estates proposed to raze the golf course and ski areas for 700 homes. 10 The group later intended to demolish the hotel, golf course and ski areas for 300 to 400 homes. 2
The 28-room Carleton staff building burned in 2003, followed by the former day care on July 29, 2007, 2 9 the Ritz staff quarters on August 8, 2 8 the ski chalet on September 20, 6 7 and the Door Chester staff quarters on September 23. 5
In July 2008, the town of Fallsburg ordered the owners to demolish at least five of the wood-framed outbuildings, some of them nearly a century old. 3 They included the former annex, clubhouse and the Dorchester, Sheridan and Marlboro, all in a state of collapse.
At dispute was the ownership. 4 Abraham Piller, who claimed to be a 50% owner in Fallsburg Estates, sued another partner, Moshe Schwimmer and Princeton Realty Associates in state Supreme Court. The court papers said the property’s deed was transferred to Princeton Realty, which was affiliated with Schwimmer. A religious court involving a tribunal of rabbis in Brooklyn also tried to settle the dispute to no avail.
[su_spoiler title=”Sources” icon=”caret”]
- Larson, Neil. Division for Historic Preservation, New York State Parks and Recreation. Liberty Downtown Historic District, 2005 Sept.
- Yakin, Heather. “The Pines no longer shines in the Catskills.” Times Herald-Record, 30 Aug. 2007.
- Whitman, Victor. “Town of Fallsburg to order buildings razed.” Times Herald-Record, 4 Jul. 2008.
- Whitman, Victor. “Hotel in ruins; ownership in question.” Times Herald-Record, 19 Jun. 2008.
- Mayberg, Nathan. “Building razed in yet another fire at Pines Hotel.” Times Herald-Record, 24 Sept. 2007.
- Yakin, Heather. “Another Pines building burns.” Times Herald-Record, 22 Sept. 2007.
- “Fire destroys ski chalet at the Pines.” Times Herald-Record, 21 Sept. 2007.
- Yakin, Heather. “Another part of Pines Hotel burns.” Times Herald-Record, 9 Aug. 2007.
- Yakin, Heather. “Suspicious fire levels building at the Pines Hotel.” Times Herald-Record, 21 Jul. 2007.
- Yakin, Heather. “Pines resort land eyed for 700 homes.” Times Herald-Record, 17 Dec. 2010.
- Silverman, Francine. “Bygone Borscht Belt.” The Catskills Alive!, Hunter, 2009, p. 45.
- Conway, John. “Resorts and Recreation.” Remembering the Sullivan County Catskills, History Press, 2008.
- “Moneka Lodge.” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 28 Jun. 1931, p. L3.
- “Daisy View Hotel.” Evening Public Ledger [Philadelphia], 28 Jun. 1922, p. 28.
- Peterson, Iver. “Catskill Hotels Put Housing on the Menu.” New York Times, 21 May 1989.
- Nieves, Evelyn. “A Tradition, and a Resort, at Twilight.” New York Times, Apr 14, 1995, p. B6.
- Morgan, Sheldon. “Catskill Hotels Beckon the Skiers.” New York Times, 5 Dec. 1965, p. 30.