Early Years

early-yearsIn the days before interstate highways, polio vaccines, and vacations to exotic lands the Catskills in the Borscht Belt of New York were where many went to escape the hot summers in New York City.  Early on in the 1930s small farms were bought by ‘entrepreneurs’ looking to find a place to own in the healthy air of the “Mountains”.  Of course they weren’t in the mountains, or even in the Catskills; they were in Liberty, Loch Sheldrake, Ellenville, Kerhonkson and other small towns scattered around Sullivan and Ulster County in ‘Upstate New York’.  But they were out of the crowded city and so were their families.

Isador Friedman, was one of those dreamers.  A garment presser among other occupations, he wanted to find a place for his family outside the hot and crowded city.  He was always looking for an opportunity to find the perfect farm, but once he had the farm he realized that he wasn’t a farmer, but he could rent rooms to friends and relatives who also wanted to spend time in the country in the summer.

That was how The Brookside Hotel, in Kerhonkson, NY started, from a wish to escape the City and a hope to own one’s own land.  A small parcel of land that had a farmhouse that was filled with rocky fields that had a hard time growing grass let alone real farm crops  [who but a city immigrant from New York City would buy a ‘farm’ in a town named Granite].   But it was in the country, it had a brook with a pond behind the farm house and it was his.

10 Responses to “Early Years”

  1. Tobi Kibel Piatek says:

    I remember you. We played together too, with Audrey, and ….
    I always liked your name, and remembered it.
    This website is a wonderful trip back. I always thought there was a book in those years in the Catskills, and especially, the Brookside.


    • Charney Greenberg says:

      Tobi, I remember hanging out with you and Audrey, too. What great times; life was so much more innocent then!! We had fun with so much less than kids have nowadays. I also remember you nicknaming me Chucky, since I said my name sounds like Charlie with an “n”. The funny thing is that my husband’s name is Chuck, and growing up, his family called him “Chucky.” I also remember that you had an outgoing personality; I think you introduced yourself to me. During what years did you go to The Brookside? We went from about 1955-1965.

  2. rick levenberg says:

    My name is Rick and my mom’s family use to spend a lot of summers up at the Brookside. I have several photos of my mom, her brother and my grandmother at the Brookside in the 1940s. My grandparents’ names were Martin and Etta Sills and my mom’s name is Barbara Sills. My mom’s brother’s name was Clyde Sills. I believe I’ve heard the name Charney mentioned many times over the years. Charney are you the daughter of the owners and do you remember my mom Barbara SIlls and her brother Clyde Sills. They called Clyde Mickey back then. Both my mom Barbara and her brother are still alive. Whatever became of the Brookside Hotel? Is it still a hotel?

    • Richard says:

      Unfortunately as the pictures show the fire really devastated the main house of the hotel. The land was sold and it is now mostly meadow. My parents house was sold to a nice family and they have redone it

      Rich Friedman

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