The following article was written by Lisa Pellegrene, and was originally published by Patch.com on November 9, 2020.

Thomas Slatin’s urban exploration photography for the “Decade in Review” this week focuses on his work during 2017 in the Catskills.

Thomas Slatin is a photographer and writer, whose work in photography consists of a diverse range of work, from stunning portraits and landscapes to some of the most interesting urban exploration photographs. According to Slatin, “In 2017, I spent most of my time photographing abandoned locations throughout the Catskill Mountains of New York, specifically an area known as the Borscht Belt, where I photographed a lot of otherwise forgotten buildings.”

According to Time Magazine, “The Borscht Belt resorts reached their peak in the 1950s and 60s, accommodating up to 150,000 guests a year. … By the mid 1990s, the vast majority of the hotels were deserted, leaving cumulative memories with loyal patrons and an authentic museum of abandoned and decaying resorts behind.”

Resorts, which were once in the area include, Brickman’s, Brown’s, The Concord Hotel, Grossinger’s, Granit, The Heiden Hotel, Irvington, Kutsher’s Hotel, The Nevele, Friar Tuck Inn, The Laurels Hotel, The Pines Resort, The Overlook, The Tamarack Lodge, Stevensville, and The Windsor Hotel.

Thomas Slatin had photographed the nearby Westholm Hotel, located in Stamford, New York during late 2018. The photographs from the Westholm Hotel are featured on his blog www.tomslatin.com, as well as the Daily Star in Oneonta, New York, and Broadway World. The Westholm photographs will be included in the next article of the “Decade in Review” series regarding Slatin’s photography work in 2018. All of the photographs in this article and many more from Slatin’s many years as a photographer may be found on his award winning blog as well.

Some of Thomas Slatin’s favorite photographs of 2017, relating to his work in urban exploration photography, as summarized by Slatin.

1970’s House
“I found this abandoned house while out hiking one afternoon. The house was completely furnished, though had obviously been abandoned for decades. The most interesting feature was this forgotten vintage television set which was placed on top of a bed.”

Conrail 2233
This photograph was taken of Conrail 2233, which is currently on display at The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. “I like how the blue paint really stands out in this photograph.” (rrmuseumpa.org/)

Recipe For Disaster
According to Slatin, “Pictured are chemicals found in an abandoned laboratory, in New York State.”

When I’m Gone
Slatin states, “This is an abandoned tricycle that I photographed, which was found outside an abandoned residence in Chenango Forks, New York.”

Abyss
“This life ring was found floating in an outdoor swimming pool at The Paramount Hotel and Resort in Parksville, New York.” As discussed with Slatin, he states, “The Paramount survived the demise of the Borscht Belt, yet it was still abandoned following a massive fire on October 16, 2000, which destroyed the lobby, nightclub, kitchen, and administrative offices. The hotel and related buildings still stand but have been severely vandalized.”

Slatin had hoped to photograph Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel In 2017, but was unable to receive the permission needed to photograph the property. Stating, “Unfortunately, my
requests for information and access weren’t answered. I decided that my hopes of photographing Grossinger’s would likely never come to fruition.”

Thomas Slatin did obtain a photograph of the abandoned Beech-Nut factory in Canajoharie, New York, using a 35 mm Canon AE-1 camera that his father gifted to him when he was very young. “The light meter had quit many years ago, states Slatin, so I had to set all the exposures manually based on my many years of experience. I took this one picture through the glass of a door leading into the lobby of the factory.”

Slatin concluding, “In 2017, I learned a lot about doing research, especially in finding locations that have not yet been discovered nor photographed excessively. When dealing with urban abandonment, there exists a bit of a competition to be the first person to explore and photograph new and previously undiscovered locations. Unfortunately, what often ends up happening is that one person will find an interesting location and post the location on the Internet, which then ultimately results in a swarm of people visiting the location, either to photograph it or to cause vandalism. So, in 2017, I started to title my images with very obscure words and phrases to hide the locations.”

The next article for the “Decade in Review” will discuss some of Slatin’s substantial collection of photographs which he has selected as some of his “best work” from 2018. The “Decade in Review” article for 2018 will be published this Thursday, November 12th.

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