Vacant New York hotel that inspired ‘Dirty Dancing’ suffers devastating fire

A fire at one of New York’s Catskills most storied hotels broke out and forced the local fire department to demolish the abandoned building that had once served as inspiration for the 1987 hit Dirty Dancing.

Grossinger’s resort, located in the popular New York state vacation area of the Catskills Mountains, was consumed by flames on Tuesday, the Liberty Fire Department said in a Facebook post.

The flames ensnared the decrepit building, which was part of the once glamourous resort grounds that counted among it 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 Eleanor Bergstein, the screenwriter responsible for the 1987 film starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, has been quoted in multiple interviews citing the Grossinger’s – the place where she’d vacation as a child – as being a source of inspiration for the movie.

The blaze initially broke out on Tuesday evening in a three-and-half story building on the property, with firefighters reporting they’d struggled to access the scene initially after being stalled by a gate that needed to be cut through due to the overgrowth and concrete barriers.

The Liberty Fire Department, the town closest to the remote and previously idyllic resort, said that the plumes of smoke emanating from the building could be seen for several miles away from the site of the blaze.

Shortly after diffusing the flames, an excavator came to knock down what remained of the abandoned and decaying structure, according to a Facebook post by the Liberty Fire Department.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, the Sullivan County Fire Coordinator John Hauschild told the Associated Press. The main building on the resort had been torn down four years ago, confirmed Mr Hauschild, and he added that he was unsure what the building that went up in flames this week had been used for recently.

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

Singer Eddie Fisher feeds a piece of wedding cake to his bride, actress Debbie Reynolds following their marriage at Grossinger’s in Liberty, NY, on 26 September 1955

(AP1955)

Mr 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.

With files from The Associated Press

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