Postcards from Gibber Hotel


My great-grandparents, Rose & Abraham Gibber owned the Gibber Hotel in Kiamesha Lake, NY, in the Catskills. This area, coined the Borscht Belt, was a popular vacationing spot for Jews during much of the 1900s. Each hotel catered to the Jewish community, offering Shabbat services, Kosher meals, & comedic entertainment: Joan Rivers & Billy Crystal.
During the mid-1970s, the Catskills became less desirable, as air travel became more affordable. The Gibber was in contract to be sold to an Hasidic organization. The day of the sale, most everything burned in a fire. The investigation was inconclusive, but regardless, the damage was done. In 1987, Mayor Ed Koch suggested that it be repurposed as a homeless shelter; yet, the bill was rejected. Its fate was similar to other hotels, becoming a home for the area’s omnipresent Hasidic community.
Recently, I visited the site of the hotel. I approached a man outside who showed us around. He was vaguely familiar with the name Gibber. Though I never saw the hotel first-hand, the stories I’ve heard prove that it’s a shell of what it once was. I was appalled at the extent of garbage strewn everywhere; the previous day’s lunch was still out. What was once an elegant indoor pool had been turned into a decrepit lunch room. The guest rooms had become fetid dorms. I refuse to bring my grandma, as she’d be saddened & outraged by what the hotel has become. This postcard symbolizes what was once there- a piece of family history that I can’t bare to see forgotten.

Gruber, Max. “Hotel Gibber, Kiamesha Lake, NY” Northeastern DRS, 1970

Place(s): Catskills, New York

– Luka Dubnick

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more