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No Place Like Home

Tania Grossinger chronicles her childhood at the Catskills resort

July 07, 2008

For many, the name “Grossinger’s” is synonymous with the excesses of a bygone Borscht Belt era—gargantuan meals, romantic dalliances between housewives and tennis instructors, and nightly rhumba and stand-up comedy. For as many as a thousand guests per week, Grossinger’s hotel was the perfect getaway. But for Tania Grossinger, a cousin to the family that owned the resort, it was simply home. She moved there with her mother in 1945, when she was eight years old.

In her memoir, Growing Up at Grossinger’s, first published in 1975 and recently reissued, she recalls her unusual childhood, spent playing pranks on guests, hobnobbing with celebrities (among them Milton Berle, Debbie Reynolds, and Buddy Hackett), and, as the years passed, attempting to forge an identity independent of the family business.

In a conversation with Nextbook, she shares her inside perspective on the now-extinct Catskills institution.

Home page photo courtesy of Tim Mallery, Catskill Archive. Black-and-white photos courtesy of Tania Grossinger.

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Sara Ivry is the host of Vox Tablet, Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast. Follow her on Twitter @saraivry.