Friday, June 19, 2009

Greene Rooms

------GreeneLand’s foremost resort (by size and self-advertised stature) is bankrupt. As reported in The Daily Mail (6/13), company lawyer Sean Serpe submitted a petition on May 31 requesting Chapter 11 protection from creditors for the Friar Tuck, and a hearing was slated for yesterday in Federal Bankruptcy Court in Albany. Among the Tuck’s creditors are Ulster Savings Bank ($3.1 million), tax authorities ($400,000), a fuel supplier ($266,000), and food providers. Proprietors Rosario and Ricky Caridi hope to keep the place going and, says Mr Serpe, “we’re very bullish” about that prospect. ------Yeah, right. ------The Friar Tuck offers support for the hunch that in GreeneLand’s hospitality industry, size relates inversely to quality. Our most capacious hostelries seem to be the most atrocious. Such is the pattern, at any rate, that emerges from reviews that travelers contribute to Trip Advisor and similar information centers. The 425-room Tuck catches the most frequent and most, uh, eloquent of pejoratives. ------“Run down, in need of updating, strange people around….” That is the start of a positive assessment of the Tuck. “True, no clock, hairdryer or iron” in the room; and “the TV was really small”; and “the walls are thin and I could hear the neighbors’ TV clear as a bell”; and the hallway is “spooky”; and in the game room “we played pool on a level table but no chalk for our cue sticks; and “half the video games were broken”; and at dinner the white wine came to our table uncorked and unchilled, without an ice bucket. Still, the Tuck’s “creepy and eerie” atmosphere, evoking “The Shining” or “The Twilight Zone,” “endeared the old place to us.” -----That assessment strikes a contrast of sorts with
*“falling apart” *“dirt, smelly rooms, moldy walls” *“wouldn’t stay again” *“ugliest, dirtiest, smelliest hotel I've ever stayed in!”; *“staff look like a bunch of zombies” *”…TOTALLY let down by just about EVERYTHING we encountered” * DISGUSTING, DIRTY, and UNSAFE” *”…deteriorating mess. Several of the electrical sockets did not work or were simply missing with just a hole in the wall. The air-conditioning was virtually non-functional. There was inadequate lighting and some of the lamps were burned out. The TV reception was poor. Garbage was piled up in the hallway and not disposed of for days. The buildings were damp and smelly. The food was horrible.” *“RUN AWAY!”
------Are those comments representative? We cannot know for sure, since only a few lodgers take the trouble to record their experiences. A broader canvass of reviews, however, does dispose of the notion that only the disappointed or miserable travelers speak up. Several GreeneLand resorts inspire esteem. Even love. -----The venerable, capacious Sunny Hill resort in Freehold is a sterling example. Some families have been vacationing there for 15 years and longer. Sunny Hill proves that bigness does not necessarily beget tawdriness. Moreover, other GreeneLand resorts that remain from days past—Pollace’s, Lange’s Grove Side, Acra Manor—attract preponderantly favorable reviews. -----Windham seems to be blessed with lodgings that win high praise from visitors. That applies not only to the cozy little places (Catskill Lodge, Catskill Maison) but also to the 31-room Hotel Vienna (“adorable”; “cozy”; “hated to leave”; “heaven in the Catskills”) and the 90-room Thompson House (“fabulous place with fabulous people”; “our new favorite hotel”; “Having your kids tell their friends it was better than Disney was evidence enough”). ------Hunter’s hostelries, on the other hand, attract mixed reviews. The Hunter Inn and Scribner Hollow Lodge have inspired strong praise (“absolutely amazing”; “can’t say enough good things”; “”charming”; “best dining in the region”) as well as strong put-downs (“hell hole”; “Dirty! Disgusting!! Smelly!! Noisy!”; “ruined trip”; “total ripoff”). As for the new Kaatskill Mountain Club, visitors have warned of thin walls and, more broadly, of “Hampton Inn standard at a Ritz Carlton price.” ------In ability to inflict pain on travelers, meanwhile, one GreeneLand establishment comes close to matching the Tuck. This challenger is the biggest place for transient visitors: the 73-room, Catskill-based, ironically named, Quality Inn. Thus: ------“Extremely disappointing.” “Dump.” “Beyond filthy.” “Gross.” Top of the line for “most disgusting, filthy hotel.” “Should be condemned.” “I should have slept in my car.” “I can’t believe that the Board of Health doesn’t shut them down.” “Worst Night of My Life.” ------Backing those summary judgments are specifications. Rueful Quality Inn visitors tell of “sickly sweet smell” and “stench of urine” in rooms, “noisy air conditioner,” “no hot water,” “Dingbat in charge,” “soiled sheets,” “toilet clogged constantly,” “bathroom floor sticky,” “one ice machine in July for the entire hotel,” “black mold all over the shower curtain.” And so on.

JOB STORY. While the rate of unemployment grew in New York State from April to May, and hit an 18-year high, it actually declined fractionally in GreeneLand. The May figure here, 8.5 per cent, was fractionally below (=better than) the April figure of 8.7%. Those numbers are higher than for the State as a whole (8%) and for neighboring counties (Columbia at 7.4%, for example) but they still record fractional economic improvement. Similar fractional improvements occurred in a few other counties (Rensselaer, Schoharie, Niagara, Warren…), although the April-to-May trend, nation-wide and State-wide, was worse.

AFRICAN STORY. "Sister A works at a government camp for the outcasts of Tanzanian society, lepers and albinos. Lepers are confined to these camps because of their disease and albinos because they are ritually slaughtered and dismembered by people who believe in witchcraft (google albino murders and see for yourself) ..... The government barely gives the camps enough money to feed the outcasts and Sister A brings them food and medicine. The lepers suffer obviously.... The albinos suffer because the sun does terrible damage to their skin and they all have skin cancer, so she brings them sunscreen and creams that the camp apparently cannot afford. They can afford it, says Sister A, and she says something in Swahili that Sister R translates for me [as] the local term for graft. Translated literally it means "take for yourself first" . By the time funds allocated to these camps actually get there so much has been siphoned off there is hardly anything left."

---------from GreeneLander Deirdre McInerney's blog about organizing medical treatment in Tanzania.


Ron Puhalski said...

I cannot help but notice - and I am not the only one - the absence of ANY mention of the River Pride events in Catskill this weekend........Hmmm

Ron Puhalski

Dick May said...

Equally noticeable is the absence of ANY mention of any other upcoming events.

regina.caridi said...

Hello DICK May,

Regarding your article about the Friar Tuck Inn-- First and foremost the Friar Tuck has been a landmark of Greene County for the past 40 years. The Hotel also employed hundreds upon hundreds of Greene County residents over the years and has paid astronomical amounts of taxes in this county, perhaps even your own paycheck if you are in fact paid and not just a weasley volunteer blogger with too much time on his hands... You should get your facts straight before writing an article detrimental to a business and livelyhood for many people. The Friar Tuck has had guests returning since our open in the 1970's. We have endured many ups and downs and been host to some of the most prestigious and recognized conventions in upstate new york. In these difficult economic times it saddens me that people like you do not ban together and support local establishments, particularly ones that have worked so hard in their lives. I am curious Mr. May, how would you have run a 500 room hotel in the already economicaly depressed Greene County area? It is quite silly of you to compare or establishment to a 50 or 70 room resort/motel. The Friar Tuck has been so generous and supportive of Greene County, CEO Ross Caridi was just recently awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship Aware from the Rotarian Soceity. This award is given in appreciation to tangible and significant assistance given for the further of better understanding and friendly relations among people of the world. This kind of honor is awarded to a select few. Also, do not forget the Friar Tucks free fire work show for the past forty years, something we did as a showing of appreciation for our county and town. I also took notice of your selectiveness when citing quotes from trip advisor. Funny how you do not mention 1 of the 25 4+ star ratings? Again DICK May please check your facts before blogging articles. Mary Distefanos Ice Cream parlor was called SPOON ME not SCOOP ME.

Nico Caridi