60 Years Ago in Pop Culture: Let it Snow.

Are we having fun yet? Photo by: Proctor Archives

In the forties, fifties and into the sixties, Grossinger’s hosted 100,000 people a year.  Attracting a predominately, but not exclusively, Jewish crowd, the resort in the Catskills, or Borscht Belt, in southeastern New York state, was one among hundreds of hotels and bungalow communities.  Referred to as the Queen, it was known for its welcoming hospitality and family-style accommodations.

There was food, oh, my, was there food!  If one waited around the dining room long enough, breakfast became lunch.  The dinner menu consisted of a choice of seven juices, four soups, four appetizers, seven main courses, and eight desserts.  If you couldn’t make up your mind, you could always have a second or third entrée on the side “for a taste.”  Or why not try them all?  Concerned about being hungry, you could put something in your purse for later.

To work off the calories, if calories mattered, activities were available from dawn to dusk. There was swimming in the Olympic size swimming pool, golf on a championship golf course, canoeing, horseshoes and horseback riding, and ping pong, you name it.  The social director led a game of Simon Sez in the morning for those who wouldn’t clap their hands, raise their arms, bend over, and simply stretch, unless someone told them to.

And there were dance lessons and dance exhibitions.  Tony and Lucille, Grossinger’s dance team, introduced the mambo to the American public there.  Dirty dancing, anyone?

Nighttime was show time, and comedians, among other entertainers, were center stage.  Jerry Lewis was working as a waiter, only fourteen years old, when he was discovered at Grossinger’s.  Sid Caesar started as a clarinet player in its nightclub.  Buddy Hackett, Milton Berle, Danny Kaye, Alan King, Jackie Mason, Joey Bishop, Freddie Roman, and Phil Silvers all did their spiel to appreciative audiences.

In cold weather Grossinger’s became a winter playground.  It had an ice skating rink, toboggan ride, and ski slopes.  If there wasn’t enough snow to satisfy its guests, it did something about it.  It was the first resort to manufacture the white stuff beginning in 1952.

Grossinger’s true to its slogan “had everything.”

© 2012 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved


For memories of the Catskills, visit:

Grossinger’s closed in 1986.  For photos of now and then, visit:


  1. I remember friends and their families who had some money getting ready to go from Cleveland. What stories!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: