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April 19, 1991 - Image 25

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-04-19

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

ALAN H. FEILER

Special to The Jewish News

rusting yellow taxi came to a
screeching halt at the curb of
the Concord Resort Hotel. Like
strangers arriving in Mecca,
four young women jumped out
of the cab and looked up, dreamy-eyed, at
the glistening white facade of the colossal
hotel.
Attired in tight black mini-skirts and
dresses with plunging necklines, the wo-
men reached into their purses and pro-
duced brushes for their well-coiffed, per-
manently-streaked hair. As they com-
menced brushing, their taxi driver gunn-
ed his engine and sped into the upstate
New York wilderness. The merger of fe-
male fragrances gave the air the aromatic
quality of a K-Mart perfume counter.
"So this is the Concord singles week-
end," one of the women gushed to a friend
in the hotel's parking lot while balancing
her arm on the shoulder of another com-
rade to adjust a high heel. "Single men,
look out! We have arrived."
With a squadron of groaning bellhops
lagging behind with enough baggage to
transport a road production of Les Mis-
erables, the women confidently strolled
into the hotel's ornate lobby. They seem-
ed to catch the eye of every massively
pumped-up, gold necklace-laden male
checking in at the front desk or sitting on
the velvet couches and chairs lining the
foyer of the Concord.
"Yo, bay-bee," a man in his late 20s
with a Sylvester Stallone inflection in his
voice yelled at one of the women. "Like if
you really want to have some fun this
weekend, call me in room K224."
In a lounge adjacent to the lobby sat
David Bromberg, a 28-year-old advertis-
ing executive and veteran of several sin-
gles weekends. Sipping an icy Bud Lite,
he briefed a newcomer on what to expect
over the next 72 hours.
"A lot of women come here to find rela-
tionships," the Boston native sneered.
"But for the guys, it's sort of like every-
one's fantasy of being stuck in a cabin in
the North Pole after nuclear war with a
dozen hot babes. The women are stuck
with us in a closed environment for the
entire weekend. We can be as obnoxious
as we want. There's no escape."
The area in New York's Catskill Moun-
tains affectionately called "the Borscht
Belt" by generations of Jews is no longer
a haven for vacationing families or a
breeding ground for up-and-coming gi-
ants in entertainment. Relatively inex-
pensive flights to tropical islands and
Europe have taken their toll on Catskill
resorts.
But in recent years, the Borscht Belt
hotels have served as central meeting
grounds for singles.
"My father's friend's stockbroker's son

A

met his wife here," boasted Eileen, a
speech therapist from Queens, N.Y., in
her mid-30s who attended the Concord's
singles weekend from Feb. 1 through 3.
"I'm hoping my luck will come through
this weekend."
Winds emerging from frozen and pic-
turesque Kiamesha Lake sent a succes-
sion of cool breezes through the swinging
doors of the 53-year-old resort. Located
on the outskirts of Monticello, N.Y., the
1,200-room Concord hosts four special
weekends a year for unmarried men and
women.
In addition to the 2,000-acre resort's
skiing, golf, tennis and ice skating facilit-
ies, the Concord offers a potpourri of ac-
tivities for singles such as group mambo
dance classes, sporting competitions and
coed swim parties.
For $221, the Concord's singles week-
end package included accommodations
for two nights, three seemingly-endless

A singles weekend
at the Concord
Resort Hotel is a
case study in the
battle of the sexes.

meals a day, sporting and entertainment
activities, and all the opportunities for
schmoozing and cruising any single could
ever desire.
A 30-year tradition, the Concord's sin-
gles weekends have spawned over 10,000
marriages, according to the hotel. Al-
though past singles weekends have in-
dividually attracted as many as 3,000
unmarrieds, the current recession cut the
number of attendees at February's event
to about 1,200, said Gordon Winarick,
the hotel's executive director.
About three-quarters of the people who
attend the Concord's singles weekends
are Jewish and from the New York met-
ropolitan area, Mr. Winarick said. While
singles weekend guests usually range in
age from early 20s to mid 50s, most at the
February event seemed in their late 20s.

Most attendees said they had never
been married and reported they heard
about the Concord weekend through
commercials on New York television and
radio stations. About half said they had
been to the Concord before.
"Singles want to spend time sharing
their hopes and dreams together," Mr.
Winarick said. "Our resort offers that in
a beautiful environment that is safe and
weatherproof with plenty of activities.
We get singles nowadays whose parents
and grandparents met here."
While opening activities for the singles
weekend were kicked off Friday after-
noon with a cocktail hour, most of the
unmarrieds — working full time jobs —
did not arrive at the Concord until after
suppertime.
After unpacking and cruising around
the lobby, some people received their first
taste of singles life at the Concord by at-
tending a Latin dance class with a mid-
dle-aged fellow in chinos and a ruffled
shirt who said his name was Machito.
Alan Katz poked his head into the Con
Room to watch several rows of
rhythmically impaired singles mambo to
Tito Puente under a crystal disco ball.
The 38-year-old physician from Manhat-
tan soon decided to catch the Concord's
"All-Star" variety show. It featured co-
median Vic Arnell and a troupe of "dirty
dancers" who appeared in the 1987 movie
of the same name.
Less than jubilant about the quality of
the show and intellectual caliber of wo-
men attending the singles weekend, Alan
left the Concord the next morning.
"I originally thought it might be fun to
get away and meet some people and play
some tennis," he said. "My expectations
weren't that high to begin with. But this
just isn't my style."
After the show, many of the more ad-
venturous singles decided to dance into
the wee hours of the night to the disco
sounds of the Artie Narvez Band in the
Nite Owl Lounge. Resembling a bar
mitzvah reception for dancers turned
down by the producers of "Soul Train,"
the Nite Owl Lounge was alive with disco
tunes rightfully unheard of for more than
a decade.
A returnee to the Concord singles expe-
rience, Marvin May, 48, said he enjoyed
the freedom to shed inhibitions offered by
the resort's designated weekends for un-
marrieds. One of those freedoms, he
pointed out, was the right to do the Hus-
tle in a leisure suit with the best of them.
"I don't set things like sex or marriage
as goals when I come here," said Marvin,
a Manhattan systems analyst, while
shaking to the music on the dance floor.
"Not that those things would be bad. But
I really needed to get out of New York
and have a chance to enjoy myself."
After midnight, those not ready to call
it a night headed to the hotel's all-dairy

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

25

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