|The Catskills may be about to undergo a radical change of image. Mambo lessons and stand-up comics may be replaced with croupiers and blackjack.|
Hopes have been raised that the Catskills are finally on the verge of recapturing some of the excitement of their ‘Borscht Belt’ past following the step forward of plans to bring casino gambling to the fading resort area.
Antiques and bric-a-brac shop owner, Elaine Streisfeld said, “Now that gambling will come, al this will be revived. Big money will be coming to this county.”
Lawmakers have so far resisted adding more Indian casinos to the two operating in New York. However, that opposition has ceased due to the state’s financial difficulties following the events of September 11. The state legislature has now authorised Gov. George Pataki to negotiate compacts with Indian tribes for up to three casinos in the Catskill Mountains and Ulster counties and also another three in the Buffalo area.
It could be as long as three years before any cards are ever cut, but hopes are high hat casinos will bring back the flush days after World War II. After the War, big hotels and bungalows attracted thousands of visitors each summer. The aim is that new casinos in the Catskill area will do the same.