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Monday, November 18, 2019

Calendar > Arts and Culture

When the Concord ruled the Catskills

By Dan Hust - staff writer

By:
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Dan Hust | Democrat
The heyday of the Concord was one of elegance and largesse, both in guests' clothing and the resort's amenities. Typical dinnerwear of the 1950s is modelled on these mannequins, who are flanking a poster promoting an appearance by Marlene Dietrich.
story and photos
by dan hust

You can't visit the Concord Resort Hotel anymore, but you now can relive its storied life.
Indeed, memories both warm and harsh of the Queen of the Borscht Belt were repeatedly shared Sunday.
It was the launch of “The Concord Remembered,” an exhibit occupying the Sullivan County Museum in Hurleyville through Columbus Day weekend.
Envisioned by Bill Gronwald and mounted by Myron Gittell, the collection of photographs, memorabilia and anecdotes spans the Kiamesha Lake resort's entire history, from its early days as The Ideal Plaza to its heyday as THE hotel of the Catskills to its painful demise at the end of the 20th century.
Those who had lived much of that history were on hand Sunday to swap stories and hugs.
Gittell and Eva Molnar reminisced about their waitstaff years in the Concord's massive dining room.

“It was really six dining rooms,” said Gittell, whose six-year stint as a handsomely dressed waiter was on display via a single photograph.
“It was work. I had to earn a living,” bluntly assessed Molnar, who had landed the waitressing job when she couldn't find employment as a hairdresser. “Of course, you met interesting people!”
That didn't just include the multitude of celebrities she served for three decades, but also members of the Parker family who ran the Concord.
Indeed, Sandy Parker - who was in attendance Sunday - called Molnar her “second mother.”
Jim Parker, the Concord's chief financial officer and director of golf, was better known throughout the room as “Jimmy.”
“It's very nice,” he observed, having provided a table's worth of photographs himself.
“You knew it was a special place,” affirmed Jim's son Aaron, who grew up at the resort and brought his own son, Judah, to the exhibit.
“He's finally old enough to understand it,” Aaron remarked. “It's nice they took the time to do this.”
Gronwald said it was a query by a reporter that made Museum organizers realize they had very little on the Concord's fabled history.
And with its defacto successor, Montreign at Adelaar, on the horizon, he thought, “There's a story there, let's do something.”
How did it all turn out?
“This,” Gronwald smiled, “is a thrilling afternoon.”

* * *

“The Concord Remembered” is on display during the Museum's regular hours: Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 p.m. Though donations are gratefully accepted, there is no admission fee.
For more information and directions, visit sullivancountyhistory.org or call 845-434-8044.





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