The ghost hotels of the Catskills
The Daily Beast - 08/25/2014
Sullivan County had long garnered a reputation as a place of wellness, often being quite literally what the doctor ordered for those unable to properly convalesce in the city, but the advent of air conditioning made it less of a necessity—especially for vacationers with smaller budgets—to escape the Big Smoke for breezier weather.
Dr. Phil Brown, a sociology professor at Northeastern University, founder of the Catskills Institute, and author of Catskill Culture: A Mountain Rat’s Memories of the Great Jewish Resort Area, cites the gradual melting away of anti-Semitism in America as “the primary reason for the decrease in the region’s Jewish clientele.”
As prejudices waned, it became easier and ultimately desirable for Jews to fully assimilate. Once other holidaying destinations around the country lifted their ban on Jewish patrons there was less of a need to coalesce in the Catskills, and as Brown says, “it became easier for young Jewish professionals to find jobs in the city,” meaning that they no longer needed to subsist on summer resort wages to fund their education.