Life WTF

These Unbelievable Photos Show Spooky Abandoned ’60s Resorts Then and Now

These Unbelievable Photos Show Spooky Abandoned ’60s Resorts Then and Now September 6, 2017

abandoned '60s resorts then and now

Photographer Pablo Iglesias Maurer collected postcards, matchbooks and other items showing Borscht Belt hotels and resorts in the 1960s. Then he recreated the images with photos of the same places now abandoned. Because nothing lasts forever. And the images of these abandoned '60s resorts then and now prove it...

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

Hi, I'm the Ghost of the Poconos. In the '60s, I vacationed here with my family every summer. Now I haunt the long-abandoned husks of various Catskills resorts, trying to recapture those idyllic days. I remember this patio well. I drank a lot of gin-and-tonics under those umbrellas, let me tell you.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

The first time I returned here, to see if there was an open bar for ghosts, I ran into a total weirdo dressed like a clown. Said his name was Pennywise. Haven't been back to haunt that place since.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

This building was added to Grossinger's Catskill Resort Hotel in 1964. I remember when my family stayed there the year it opened.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

As a ghost, I tried to go up and down in the elevator, but it was broken. And elevators, like all tangible objects, just go straight through ghosts instead of lifting them up. But I'd forgotten about the rules of incorporeality.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

Grossinger's installed this pool in 1949. My kids loved it there. I loved to watch them swim. My son Archie was like a fish. I used to call him my little fish. He hated that.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

When I returned to haunt the pool, this is what it looked like. Nothing but a small puddle of stagnant rainwater in the deep end. There were some little fish in it.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

Oh, boy. This lounge! I used to hang out here with some other dads. We smoked stinky cigars and drank old Scotch. We called ourselves the Harts, or sometimes just "the gang." It was Heaven on Earth, boy.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

Looks like a different sort of gang hangs out here now.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

I remember this bowling alley so very well. It was at the Homowack Lodge. This where I won $80 off Roy Mezvinsky in July of 1964. His wife Mavis was not too happy with me.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

The first time I came back here as a ghost, I found an old ball still sitting in one of those ball returns. I tried to roll it down the lane for old times' sake, but I couldn't pick it up. Forgot the rules again. I'll never get used to being an apparition.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

Sandy Lowenstein managed the bowling alley at the Homowack. Let me tell you something, that Sandy was a real mesch. And he ran a tight ship. Everything at the bowling alley was so clean and organized all the time, and Sandy always had a smile and a kind word for everyone.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

I was glad not to see Sandy's ghost around since I never knew whether he found out about Sheila and me. But I have to admit I got a little misty when I saw this now empty shoe cubby. But I'm actually always kind of "misty" because I'm an ethereal spirit. I exist half on one plane and half on another, belonging to neither.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

In 2017, there are a lot of things like the Poconos. For examples, graveyards. Haunted mansions. Abandoned psychiatric hospitals. Et cetera.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

In the '60s, there was nothing like summer in the Poconos. The trees, the pulsing summer sun, the beautiful girls. I'll never forget it.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

My son Archie was my "little fish," but both of my kids loved to swim. One summer, my daughter Sarah won a diving contest at this very spot. I remember I was supposed to meet Kiki Abramowitz that day for a little afternoon delight. But I stayed at the lake to watch my baby girl instead. I'm a good dad.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

While I was remembering that day recently, waves of emotion washed over me. In a fit of nostalgia, I tried to jackknife into the old lake just the way my Sarah did in that diving contest all those years ago. But it didn't work. I forgot that ghosts can't enter water. We can only walk on it.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

I loved this dining hall. My wife Fran used to complain that there were too many tables, that it was always too cramped. But I loved it: all the people, the din of the cutlery and glassware, and the rabble of happy vacationers.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

Fran would love it here now. But thank God she doesn't haunt these places too. Can you imagine?

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

My second favorite pool was the indoor pool at the Penn Hills Lodge and Cottages. It's not that the pool itself was so great, but it's where I met Ruth Bauman, the very first woman I ever went out with. And I always took her to the pool.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

I have to admit, I was kind of hoping to run into Ruth's ghost when I made my first haunting of Penn Hills. I didn't see her, but I realize now I forgot to look under that pile of trash. I should go back! Oh, Ruth.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

I still remember the ad copy from this brochure for the Birchwood-Poconos resort: "Here couples enjoy the white-sand beach, chaise lounges, bicycle and row boats, and fish off its shores."

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

I heard that, not too long ago, there was a crime that took place and the perpetrator hid out at the Birchwood resort's abandoned airstrip, which is where they eventually found him. I guess ghosts don't look so spooky now, huh?

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

I saw Henny Youngman play this room in the summer of '66. Hardest I ever laughed while I was alive. I don't laugh very much these days. I'm a ghost.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

Folks say you can still hear Henny's ghost doing one-liners and sawing that violin of his in this now abandoned and dessicated theater. But that's not the ghost of Henny Youngman; it's actually just me messing with people.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

This is that theater from outside. See the picture of the stag? Some folks thought it meant this place was run by the Elks. But the stag actually represented a different fraternal order, one I started with my summer pals. We called ourselves the Harts.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

Today the theater stands empty and decrepit. But our Harts emblem is in surprisingly good shape. It still reminds me of all the women I met during those glorious summer vacations.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

This cocktail lounge. How many gallons of Scotch did I drink in this room? How many games of bridge did Fran and I play in this room with other vacationing couples? One, on that last thing. Just the one time.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

Once is also the number of times I came back to haunt the old lounge. It used to be my favorite place, but it just wasn't the same without the bar and all the tables.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

This was the indoor pool at Grossinger's. It was the jewel of the Borscht Belt, the most famous part of the most well-known resort hotel in the Catskills.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

Now it's like a greenhouse that grows graffiti and mildew. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Ghosts love mildew. It's what we eat!

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

Here's another photo of the indoor pool at Grossinger's. And there's me. I'm the one in the white bathing suit. I remember that day. I was pretending to listen to Roy Mezvinsky chatter on.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

This room used to be synonymous with luxury. Now it's all but forgotten. It's filled with cobwebs and decay, not to mention less tangible things like desolation, despair and melancholy. But, to be honest, that all equals luxury to an old wraith like me.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

They put this building up in the '70s after the previous one burned down. I never liked it. It was too modern. Also, it reminds me of the decade when my marriage fell apart.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

abandoned '60s resorts then and now
IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

It does my heart good to see nature retaking that ugly facade. Who's modern now?

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

This is that same building that took the place of the better one that burned down. I remember when this one opened. It was the last summer I ever vacationed here. I went by myself. But it just wasn't the same.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

Now it is the future, and this once futuristic-looking building doesn't look so futuristic anymore. It just looks like an old relic. Like me. It stands alone and long-abandoned. Also like me.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

Here's another picture of what that "modern" building looked like. It reminds me only of how bad that last summer was. I couldn't stop thinking about my old, corporeal life of vacationing in luxurious locations.

Abandoned Resort Then And Now

IMAGE BY: Pablo Iglesias Maurer

I never came back to the Poconos. Well, at least not until after I died. Now I'm here and I can never leave. Sometimes I wonder: When was the last time anyone alive was in this place? I guess it doesn't matter.