Added: Londell Doyal - Date: 01.10.2021 14:02 - Views: 31685 - Clicks: 7682
There was a time here in this mountainous region 90 miles north of New York City when the Catskills were an easy place to define. They were a land of hundreds of bungalow colonies and resorts, where families would come for the entire summer, where young men and women would meet, where comedians of a certain style would get their start. And in many ways, that place still exists. It still hovers in and around Route 17 - ''the quickway'' as it is called - and extends from one end of Ulster County clear across Sullivan. You know the one I mean. You walk in and then open up a menu that's bigger than a Torah.
But over the years, the Catskills as a demographic entity have become harder to define. And they are also becoming a place where there is a lot of talk about identity - about what image to project to entice tourists in the face of changing vacation habits, about what this lake-studded area aspires to be. To spend a weekend here is to meet people from different walks of life with different expectations and interests - some on vacation, some at home, some frantically doing business. There is Robert Terrano, 31, who moved here from Yonkers just last month with his wife, Diane, and their two children.
Every morning Mr. Terrano, who installs windows in Manhattan co-ops, gets up at A. There is Michael Chung, a successful real-estate entrepreneur, who has been buying up land, houses and hotels as if he were at the scene of a 's Gold Rush.
Chung asked aloud, mulling the region's quest for definition and the potential for him to profit from it. Perhaps because of the changes here, there is a hip new restaurant in Monticello. It is called Scalawag's and on weekend nights, the bar is packed with young men and women eager to meet. Most of the customers never get to the Concord or to Kutsher's or to anyplace known for fielding teams in the resort sport called mingling. They live and work in the area as lawyers and carpenters, teachers and sheriffs and are part of a Catskills life most tourists never see.
The other night was an unusual one for Scalawag's. It was Ladies Night and 20 bachelors were being auctioned off - dates with them, that is - to raise money for an organization called the Katerskill Animal League. Not a word was said about the charity. A thin woman in a striped shirt called out ''Twenty five'' and the bids began climbing rapidly. The next bachelor, who described himself as a year-old restaurant manager, rolled up his shirt and showed off his biceps. A third, who said he was a year-old ''millionaire playboy,'' did a dance.
But the most unusual tack seemed that of a man clad in a white T-shirt, who reached for a cucumber and two limes and juggled them. The audience watched, mesmerized. Veronica Eckert, a teacher who is single and in her 30's, was watching. She has lived in and around Monticello all her life. She has been delighted in some ways with the new social opportunities.
But she said she was also saddened at the ways the Catskills had changed. I used to feel I was in the country. Now to be alone I have to go upstate. It was Caesar Night the other night at the Villa Roma in Callicoon and the waiters were all dressed in togas. A table was laid with swan-shaped cream puffs. A suckling pig sprawled dead center. Here and there were loaves in the shapes of alligators and turtles. A mountain of breaded mushrooms was framed by a bouquet of red and green balloons. Diners sang ''God Bless America'' in unison, waving their napkins to the rhythm.
Tradition comes in many guises here in the Catskills. There are some things that never change, and at the Villa Roma every Friday night is Caesar Night, just as every Friday night there is fresh challah at the Concord and ample opportunities any week to eat chicken in the pot, flanken, lox and other Jewish staples. Indeed, in many ways it is this predictability and sense of belonging that beckons so many repeat customers to the resorts.
For 20 years Rabbi Simon Cohen has watched guests come and go at the Concord. He has led services, comforted the lonely and has listened to more stories, he says, than would fill a book. Rabbi Cohen was, in fact, talking about some of the problems guests have come to him with over the years. There was the young woman who accosted him at the pool in tears because she was getting cold feet about the man she was supposed to marry the next week.
The couple had already secured a marriage , which the young woman had in her beach bag. She said she was ''torn in two. It didn't help. That is just what the young lady did, although he never found out how it ended. It is just what he would advise again. View on timesmachine. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions.
Some things never change.Lonely Yonkers ladies
email: [email protected] - phone:(236) 506-7403 x 9906
James Patrick Galligan Jr.