snapshots of forgotten urban histories

by anzya

Today I was thankfully pointed in the direction of this unique & beautiful, really, photo blog. Subtitled “guerilla preservation and urban archaeology”, it’s full of photos of abandoned buildings, such as the once Jewish patroned Hotel Columbia. This most recent post provides a fascinating snippet of Jewish American cultural history. Richard Nickel Jnr says:

A short walk from the Hotel Adler, its sister building in Sharon Springs, NY, stands the Hotel Columbia. Like the Adler, the Columbia primarily catered to New York City’s Jewish population following the second World War. After the decline of the Borscht Belt region, much of the town catered in particular to Orthodox and Hasidic Jews; the Columbia was one of several hotels that did so, adapting all kitchen facilities to follow Kosher law, and removing the televisions from the establishment.

Unlike the Adler, the Columbia was primarily a long-term hotel; rooms were rented by the week (at an average of $140 per in 1977). Except for the tiny economy rooms on the top floor, every room came with a kitchen across the hall; guests of the hotel would be given keys to both. There was some light evening entertainment offered at the Columbia; noted Ukrainian dance musician Michael Skorr performed there for 18 consecutive summers. However, many guests would opt to head over to the Adler for the more elaborate comedy shows and vaudeville acts featured over there. Like the Adler, the Columbia shuttered its doors after the 2004 season; its fate remains in the air.

The picture above is one of it’s delightfully old fashioned (and as the blogger points out, probably tacky even for its time) rooms that has, like the rest of the hotel, been left to decay.