Later Years

sixtiesThe Sixties
After the frantic expansion of the 1950s, where more buildings were added to the hotel proper on a regular basis, the 1960’s almost seemed sedate. However there was a continued push to expand the number of rentable rooms. The size of the cliental seemed to increased every year so Nate and Sadie felt that they could rent more rooms and there was a need to provide more and more sophisticated activities. No longer were people content to make their own fun or ‘make do’ with small rooms, card games and the like.

In 1959 the Isador Building, named after Pop Friedman who started the whole business was built. This was a single storied building of 8 rooms, all of which had a private bath that was typical of hotel rooms at that time. The room could fit 2 double beds (who knew about queen size or king size mattresses) and in a pinch a crib or cot for a child. That way up to five people could fit in the room. The building had a small common area, the Isador lobby, where people could sit and talk if the weather wasn’t good (Heaven forbid). A few years later a second story was added so there were 10 more rooms, and since rooms meant more paying customers, the small lobby soon became another private room.

In 1962 during the Passover holiday, as a fire started in the bake shop of the kitchen that destroyed the whole Main House building. Later I will write more about that fire since I happened to be asleep in the attic of the building when it started. Suffice it to say that it started a chain of events that resulted in a new Main House building that was built within 3 months. After the fire my parents had one decision to make. Were they going to rebuild and stay in the business, the only one they had known since the early 1950s, or were they going to walk away from the hotel and start some other career. The decision wasn’t an easy one, they knew the amount of work and effort it would take to get a building up in time for the season. If they couldn’t open for the summer, they had no chance of keeping the hotel operating. That was the reality they faced.

The decision was made, quickly and firmly. My parents felt a loyalty to all the people who had lent them money, supplies or whatever to try to walk away without paying them back. The new Main House would be built, bigger and better, in the same spot as the old building. This time it was going to be a modern steel framed structure with large windows looking out over the property with a large dining room, lobby and kitchen. Carved out of the lobby was a real office and reception area.

The building took all of my father’s efforts over those months, but he had loads of help for all the people that he known over the years. In addition to the building he had to figure out how he was going to pay for the whole thing. Finances were always a problem in the hotel industry and The Brookside was no exception. Getting everything organized, the area cleared of the debris, and the basement dug consumed everyone for until the steel was ‘set’ the building couldn’t go forward. I remember the excitement of waiting for the crane and the steel delivery, the day it was promised, it arrived and within days the frame of the building was up.

Next came the framing of the building and for that more than one carpenter was needed if it was to get done on time. In this case, my father couldn’t be the only person putting the lumber in place. He was lucky to get the help of Larry Yerkes and his brothers who quickly became the crew for this job. I remember banging nails into the plywood roof. My father snapped the lines I was to follow and I crawled along the roof putting in nails every foot or so. Somehow the project was completed on time, with the windows getting put into place and glazed by Harry Gilbert a few days before July 4th….it was a great celebration. Of course there were all sorts of ‘finishing touches’ that were missing at the beginning, and the first week was hot and the air conditioning wasn’t installed, but as with everything the bugs were identified and corrected.

In 3 years there was an addition to the Main House built that included rooms and an indoor pool. This increased the number of guests the hotel could accommodate and took advantage of the large dining room that had originally been planned for the building. In the late 1960’s a second floor added with more rooms and a few years later the building was essentially completed with the construction of the No Name Room, our nightclub in the basement below the dining room.

The Seventies
The Seventies

2 Responses to “Later Years”

  1. Stu Leventhal says:

    When I decided to look back in time of my youth, I found “The Brookside.” It has been so much fun to read all the information provided and comments. I used to come up every summer with my Mom and Dad, Henie and Nat Leventhal back in the 50’s, who were related to Sadie and Nate. How, I don’t know, but they were related in some way. Then in 1960 a friend and I decided to drive up to the Catskills and see if we could find a job. The first place I stopped was to see Nate and Sadie and they had one opening for a busboy and I was hired. My friend was hired by the Fallsview. I spent June and July working and having fun and early August, while playing basketball with Nate and the other staff, fell down and broke my ankle. That ended my working at Brookside and I returned home when my girlfriend and her mother drove up to bring me home. I have such fond memories of Natie and Sadie and the great times I had as a kid vacationing with my folks as well as the two months I was working there. Thank you for putting up this website and God Bless Nate and Sadie….they were truly wonderful people.

  2. Marc B says:

    We went to Lesser’s Bungalow Colony in the 50’s and early ’60s in Kerhonkson, near Rubin’s and the Linden House. We’d play softball against these other hotels and bungalow colonies every summer. I spent 14 summers there until I grew up and started working as a bus boy at these hotels. I can’t find anything online about these old places.

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