This shabbat I served as scholar-in-residence at the Homowack Hotel,as I had done three times a year for the last 12 years.I had mixed emotions as I finished my last lecture.
Apparently there will be a sale of the hotel to New Square for use as a housing project,boys school and girls summer school.While no one is talking officially ,employees are making plans for other employment.
If true, it will mark the end of an era.namely,the closure of the last year -round kosher hotel.
When I was in College, the Catskills had the Hotel Fiurst,Pioneer,Pineview,Lakehouse and a few smaller etablishments, all strictly kosher.
At the same time,Lakewood had a few hotels ,and Miami Beach had The Sterling, Waldman, Saxony, Carribean and a handful of others.
In the summers,young men and women would serve as waiters,busboys and counselors.The guests would come for a weekend ,or a few weeks.Pesach was a crowded time,and we waiters could make what was for us a small fortine in tips.
In winter ,well-to- do would visit the Florida hotels.
Cheap airfare,kosher cruises,travel to Israel and the economics of keeping a hotel up to date and competitive was an impossibility.Also many of the old timers have passed on and the lure of the Catskills or a hotel im Miami Beach is just not there.
It is more than the closing of a hotel,but the end of an era.For people such as myself and my wife ( who I met in the Pineview)it brings back such wonderful memories.