Ten years ago this month, I found myself hauling my guitar to The Catskills in Monticello, New York. I, along with a few hundred others, was playing a folk festival at Kutscher’s Resort. The festival was really about marketing. Almost everyone there was either a performer or a booker of gigs. It was only three days, but the schedule was jam-packed. I really had no time to explore the place, which was too bad.
A lot of folks believe Kutsher’s was the inspiration for the setting of “Dirty Dancing.” Whether or not that’s true, I don’t know. But the place was amazing, and it did have quite a history.
I speak of Kutsher’s in the past tense because it’s gone. It was torn down last year and all that remain are memories. There’s a fantastic group of photos in this Gothamist piece, and a lot of what you see there isn’t much different from what I saw ten years ago. The dilapidated parts are worse than anything I witnessed, to be sure. But the place was old. Real old. Regardless of its heyday heights, it definitely declined.
Take a look at the photos in that Gothamist piece. They’re kind of amazing. Not just for the decay, but for what once was. Kutsher’s seemed, to me, like a dream. It was so many things I imagined, but never actually knew. Family vacations. Summers in The Catskills. Ten years ago, simply being there was crazy. And cool. And now it’s just a memory.