Friday, January 13, 2006

So I'm here at Kutsher's in the Catskills, it's day -1-ish (starts "properly" this afternoon, quite a lot of people came up last night, and sessions have already started).

First off, I should say that it was unseasonably warm in New York: yesterday I was walking around Soho in a t-shirt like it was July. But up here it's properly snowing/snowed and cold and icy.

In Manhattan, I saw Auntie F, a very old (ie of longstanding) family friend, a native New Yorker who's been back in NY for a couple of years now. (She married a Manchester guy, and whenever her and Uncle S would argue, she would say, "Sidney, I was just coming for one year").

As a kid, the nearest thing to a "Jewish resort" in the north of England was Palm Court in St Annes. We went there for Pesach a few times until I think (probably) it closed. On Pesach, it was creaking at the seams with overeating Jews desperate not to change their own pots.

When I told Auntie F I was coming to Kutschers, she said, "it's like Palm Court, but worse," and it's fair to say that there's a certain... faded grandeur to the whole set up.

Last year's Limmud NY was at the Hudson Valley Resort, and compared to Nottingham university's student acommodation and walking four miles to a shared cold shower, was extreme luxury. But some of the New Yorkers were really disappointed with the Hudson Valley; tired, faded, not quite the service level they wanted.

Kutscher's is all that and more. For a start, they have the heat up to about 90, and because many of us are not 95, that's quite warm. But you can't open any windows. But if you go outside, it's icy. It's like that Woody Allen sketch where he makes a weather system in his hotel room: I expect to see a storm in the lobby any moment.

Last night, after sessions, they showed Dirty Dancing in the bar - which was part-filmed here, in like 1987 - and it reminded me of watching the Rocky Horror show as a kid: everyone knew the dialogue, although when B and I started dancing, we were the only ones.

In other news, most Americans, on hearing my dulcet UK tones think I'm South African.

No comments: