Thursday, October 4, 2018

Grossingers Catskill Resort....seizing the day and saying goodbye.


“Carpe Diem.  Seize the day, boys.  Make your lives extraordinary.”  -John Keating (aka the late, great Robin Williams) 

Close your eyes…now, picture your life the way you have always dreamed it to be.  Are you sucking the marrow out of life or are you choking on the bone?   Dreams, no matter if they are large or small, give our lives purpose.   They encourage us to live life to the fullest and to never ever take one day for granted.    It is with these thoughts in mind, that we, as explorers and lovers of life, have taken the past couple of months and turned them into epic adventures filled with the most amazing memories that will last a lifetime. It is our mission to encourage and motivate you to do the same!!  
Although feeling slight pangs of writer’s block and an urge to cram everything into one blog post so as not to miss anything, I (J of J&M) have made an executive decision to take my dear sweet time with our upcoming blogs, so as not to miss one darn thing.   After all, seizing the day is hard work and we don’t want to miss sharing a single adventure.

With all of this in mind, it was easy to choose which adventure to write about first.   A lesson in taking advantage of opportunity and not wasting a moment of the precious time we are given.   A lesson in seizing a moment of time before it’s too late and the moment is lost forever….


A graffiti covered security checkpoint guards the seven story abandoned hotel at the once world famous Grossingers Resort.

It was just a few months ago that we had found one of our favorite places to explore.  Perhaps it was, to some, an eyesore within the beautiful rolling hills of the Catskill Mountains of New York.   A time capsule filled with memories of the past.  It’s buildings looming with grandeur over the small town below. Mysterious echoes of days gone by resonated within our souls as we explored each time encapsulated hallway.  With each discovery, our affection for the treasures within grew and we found ourselves longing to return.   We had talked about documenting our adventures from the very beginning of our explorations together.  It would be a chance to share our favorite adventures with anyone who has an interest in urban exploration, historic locations and even a paranormal investigation or two.  Never claiming to be anything we’re not and through our flaws and sometimes amateurish camera issues, we shoot some of the most amazing abandoned places in the northeast and beyond.  And so, with that dream in mind, we vowed to return with camera in hand, to showcase all the beauty in the decay of what was once the premier resort for not only well to do Jewish families, but many celebrities as well.  To them, it was Grossinger’s Catskill Resort.  To us, it was exploration heaven.  

It was a typical J&M Explorations road trip!   The J (that’s me) of J&M was, as usual, blabbering on about some monumental occurrence of the upcoming trip…most likely in anticipation of Liberty Diner’s world-famous salad dressing and Baklava.  M always shaking his head and smiling…in awe of the plethora of oddities spewing from his silly partner’s mouth.  We reminisced about our last visit to this wonderous place and even joked a little about its eventual demise.   It had stood vacant for so many years against the hillside.  Why on earth would anyone want to tear down history?  We laughed….it just couldn’t happen. 

We veered right off the exit and came to a slow stop at the familiar stop light just below the magnificent resort.   At the exact same moment, we turned to each other with confusion in our eyes.  Could it be that the seven-story building that had become the hallmark of our entrance to Liberty, New York was simply engulfed by nature?   Collectively, our hearts sank, for we both knew.   There were no towering trees in Liberty…the building that had greeted us twice before was gone.  A quick drive up the familiar streets confirmed our fears.   Grossinger’s Catskill Resort was fading into history…it’s wonderous buildings, soon to be just memory.   The destruction was abundant, and our hearts began to ache.  Haunting echoes from the original owner and matriarch, Jennie Grossinger’s house cried out to us as we scanned the dirt where her cozy house stood.  



How would she feel to see her dreams…remnants of her extraordinary life being bulldozed into asbestos saturated dust?  We scanned the perimeter for a place to respectfully enter her abode.  We were eager to see what was left.  Eager to pay our last respects to this hallowed ground.  Our eyes met as we turned to the mountain of rubble just beyond the gateway.   Shards of glass, jagged stacks of cement, and the ominous smell of less than healthy dust particles greeted us with their intriguing embrace as we made out way toward ground zero.   The blue sky shimmered above as haunting images of detonation filled our minds.  What a sight it must have been to see the grand building’s demise.  What once stood so proud and tall, had fallen into desolation and in return had broken the hearts of at least two explorers that held her forsaken structures with great affection and regard.  Our collective sigh echoed in the abyss of debris as we turned the camera on ourselves.  Our usual playful and lighthearted introduction felt shadowed by a sense of loss and regret.   How can you seize the day, when the stroke of midnight intrudes?   But even in the shadow of despair comes the opportunity to shine.   We quickly turned our attention past the ruins to the treasures beyond.  It was a chance to seize the day without regret and to deliver a message of adventure without delay.   The day went by all too quickly as we found ourselves immersed in its abandoned brilliance.  Although a few of our favorite places had fallen, many remained.   And although awaiting certain death at the hands of bulldozers and a hearty stock of TNT, stood still in time, echoing haunting voices from the past as it intertwined two adventurers into its history, creating a firestorm of memories that could never be extinguished. 


  
And so, another day had been seized and our extraordinary lives would carry on to hopefully inspire others to do the same!  It was within the graffiti stained hallways of Grossingers that we found our motto,  “Do whatever makes you Feel Alive!”   We will carry this motto with us throughout our lives and wish to inspire you to do the same.  Live your dream and don’t waste a minute!   Make your life extraordinary and inspire others to do the same.  

Thank you, as always, for taking the time to read our blog!  Be sure to check out the video of this exploration on YouTube at   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zdu9jmSaz8k&t=1s


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