Fire hits vacant Grossinger's hotel, once a Catskills jewel

LIBERTY, N.Y. (AP) — A fire consumed a building at the site of the long-closed Grossinger’s resort, once among the most storied and glamorous hotels in New York's Catskills.

In its heyday after World War II, Grossinger's drew hundreds of thousands of vacationers a year, many of them Jewish. The resort had a 27-hole golf course, indoor and outdoor pools, a nightclub, two kosher kitchens and a 1,500-seat dining room. It drew crooners like Eddie Fisher and has been cited as an inspiration for the 1987 movie “Dirty Dancing.”

The fire broke out Tuesday evening in a three-and-half story building on the old hotel property. Firefighters who responded to the scene had to cut through a gate and were hampered by overgrowth and concrete barriers. An excavator knocked down the structure after the fire was out, according to a Facebook post by the Liberty Fire Department.

It was not immediately clear what the building had been used for, though Sullivan County Fire Coordinator John Hauschild said the main building was torn down about four years ago.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

The former 812-acre resort is about 80 miles (130 kilometers) north of New York City.

Fisher not only made his debut at Grossinger's, but married fellow entertainer Debbie Reynolds there in 1955. Other big names to appear at the resort were Joel Grey and Leslie Uggams, as well as boxers Rocky Marciano and Jack Dempsey.

Grossinger's operated for nearly 70 years before closing in 1986, suffering the fate of many local hotels after the region's appeal faded. The site fell into disrepair amid efforts to redevelop it.

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