Author Archives: upstaterblog
Since one of us bought a house up here, and the other one devotes far too much time to investigating the purchase of an upstate house, it’s clear that we believe there are deals to be had in the current Upstate real estate market.
Another ex-New Yorker, Raymon Elozua, believes the same, and moved up to Mountaindale, N.Y. to live among the ghosts of buildings that he found around him. (Mountaindale, by the way, is part of that same general area covered in yesterday’s Bungalow Envy post–the Sullivan County stretch that still has plenty of functional, happily inhabited places, as well). His project is Vanishing Catskills, a pictorial map of abandoned Borscht Belt buildings within 10 miles of his home. Sadly, there are a lot of them.
He sees them as ruins, as testaments to Sullivan County’s heyday and decline, but also as interesting on a sculptural and architectural level. We see them as full of potential. We truly believe that in these tough times, folks are searching for economical getaways, and that reviving the bungalow colony is a great way to do it. We’re going to come back as developers in our next lives.
Another interesting thing about Vanishing Catskills: you can buy Elozua’s photo books directly from Apple. Definitely worth having as a coffee table book if you’re joining the ranks of Upstaters.
Here’s an idea we’ve been batting around: buy a spectacular, slightly unaffordable place in the Catskills with, say, three other families. Each of us gets it for 13 weeks a year, with the option to rent it out any of those weeks to cover the mortgage. Yes, we know it’s rife with possibility for disaster, not to mention surfing the complications of tenancy-in-common. And who gets it for Christmas and Labor Day weekends?
All those details aside, this place is dreamy (sorry you can’t see much of it without registering on the site, but we’ll describe it for you here). It’s right at the bottom of the Shawangunks, south of Ellenville. Seven bedrooms, 7,000 square feet and 28 acres, all for $335,000. Did we mention the part about needing a fairly serious renovation? Well, yes, that complicates things, but even with $165,000 of work, it’s a fairly reasonable deal for four families. I mentioned the idea to several folks who said having it 13 weeks a year meant they wouldn’t feel guilty about occasionally vacationing elsewhere. We’re curious if other folks have tried this, where, and how it’s working out. Let us know.
Oh, and, right: wanna split this place with me?