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. Leonard Sudberg MD says:

    I was a 8-12 year old (1962-1968) staying for the summer with my parents Joseph and Minnie up at the Brookside. You see my dad, then was the head-counselor / camp director. ( He was a phys-ed teacher from NYC) I remember fun summer days, especially going to “flat-rock” a stream near by ,we would call it, and catching tons of salamanders.

    I have recently retired with my wife (in PA-Hemlock Farms) but plan on going to Bethel Woods and saw how close I’d be to the Brookside Hotel. I will visit soon

    Fondly Leonard SUDBERG MD

  2. Evelyn Herbert says:

    My mother was Clara Berman. When she worked at the hotel in the early 1940s, My sister and I was there with her. Looking at the pictures and reading about the early days brought back many memories.

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