Archive for the ‘Bungalow Colonies’ Category
That’s the subject of a photo essay in the NY Times, in which 32-year-old photographer Marisa Scheinfeld revisited the resorts of her youth in the Catskills. But instead of bustling with the Borscht Belt goodness of her younger days, “Nature was reclaiming the spaces,” she says. “You would see an entire room filled with a carpet of moss. Then there was vandalism, people gutting the buildings for wiring and other metal, anything they could take. Then there were squatters and taggers. Then paintballers, who put their own marks on the places.”
She documents what she called “the new life” these buildings were taking on, creating what the Times calls “portraits of destruction as well as rebirth, now numbering almost 100 photographs.”
For us, admittedly obsessed with those aged and ailing resorts, the project encapsulates the sadness of this section of the world, and the new life we envision for it is not about moss-covered floors (although that could be cool); we’d prefer for a new generation of humans to take up residence there. So perhaps her project will pique the interest of those truly interested in reinvigorating the Catskills bungalow colonies and Hudson Valley resorts, instead of just lamenting what’s gone wrong.
This is a sponsored post.
Last year, Pine Lake Park, a 65-family bungalow co-operative on 50 wooded acres in Westchester’s Cortlandt Manor, went looking for a few good renters who wanted to join them for anywhere from a month to the whole season, May to October. They found their likeminded souls here on Upstater: people who wanted to be in nature and have a little privacy but also be part of an affordable, welcoming community.
The New York Times called Pine Lake Park “Shangri-La,” noting the swimming and boating in the lake, playground for kids, tennis and basketball courts, and Saturday night entertainment in the social hall. Pine Lakers call it “camp for the entire family.” As a returning Brooklyn renter said, “It’s the safest environment I know for kids to run around without constant ‘helicopter’ supervision.”
Pine Lake Park is now 85 years old, having escaped the fate of so many other bungalow colonies by way of its location (five minutes from the MetroNorth stop), and its devoted families. But it’s been updated for the 21st century, too, with recent modernization of plumbing, electric and the lakefront.
Currently there are several one- and two-bedroom units for rent, starting at $2,400/month, and four units for sale starting at $50,000. The community will conduct a tour of the Park and the available units in late April. For information and to make an appointment for the upcoming tour, email email@example.com. Visit PLP blog at pinelakeparkcoop.blogspot.com or on Facebook.
Readers, be patient: we are in the midst of our annual roundup of summer bungalow colony rentals and sales (and on the search for the perfect one ourselves, at least for a week in August). In the meantime, hm, another site has taken up the cause and brings you an offer of a $12,000 bungalow. They write:
“Lansmans, a 70-year-old bungalow colony in Woodbourne, NY, has a few units available for sale this summer, and for under 15,000 bucks you get tennis courts, a basketball court, a swimming pool, paddleball courts (???!!!!), a clubhouse and softball fields. And while you might not have the funds to cash in on a second home, this sounds like a nice move to make, considering how much you probably pay per month for a walk-up apartment to which you lost the keys to the fire escape. And they’re also selling single-bedroom units for $4,000, which is also a pretty good deal if you and your buddies don’t mind getting thisclose. Plus, they promise “high quality weekend evening entertainment from around the country,” which, as we all know, means DANCE COMPETITIONS with instructors who may or may not look like Patrick Swayze.”
Well done. We’ll bring you a report on other options soon.
Well, this is the dream (for a select few of us): purchase a dilapidated bungalow colony — of which there are many in Sullivan County — fix it up, organize it into a co-op and have a summer home that is also a community, a place where you can have the privacy of your own pad and a group soccer game at a moment’s notice.
Here’s one that purports to be not-so-dilapidated: five buildings, housing a total of 12 apartments (though you conceivably combine a few to make bigger spaces). All but two have been renovated, they say, but we’re awaiting photos of the newly polished spaces. There’s a nice common lawn, and we suggest pooling resources to add, say, a salt water pool and a tennis court, and maybe a few trails through the property.
Let’s say your ideal upstate New York vacation home has a tennis court and a pool, but you want to pay less than six figures for it. A bungalow community might be the solution. A reader suggested this one: a two-bed, one-bath cottage with an enclosed porch in a community of 12 bungalows on 16 acres in Putnam Valley.
The cottages were built in the ’50s as rentals, and it became a co-op later, like so many old bungalow colonies. The focus here, says our reader, is tennis, though you’re welcome even if you can’t hack a backhand. The fees vary depending on the cottage, but tend to be less than $500 a month. That’s actually quite a bit more than many communities (they’re often less than $2000 a year), but they gotta keep up those courts and the pool! It’s also a destination for gardeners.
If you can get the owners to throw in those nice mid-century chairs, that would be a boon.
You can list your own home for rent or sale in our self-serve real estate section.
A reader has a post in the Forum, wondering if anyone knows of organizations dedicated to the preservation of bungalow colonies. We know of only location-specific groups, like the bungalow preservation group in Rockaway, Queens (here’s an article we wrote about it years ago), or the Catskills Institute, which is, oddly, housed at Brown University. Anyone else have suggestions? If so, leave ‘em in the Forum! (You gotta register first, but it only takes a second.)
Yes, they’re modest in size, but also in price. We’ve got quite a few cute little three-season cottages (sometimes known as bungalows) for sale over in the listings area, and we’ll keep rounding those up for you.
But this is pretty rare: an entire bungalow colony for sale for $50,000 (sound of jaw dropping). There are eight cottages and a mobile home. Looks like it’s only a couple of acres, but the taxes are currently less than $1800 a year (we’re pretty sure that would go up when they’re seasonally occupied and the place is turned into a co-op, which it probably would. Stay tuned for an interview with a real estate lawyer about how to do this).
The place was started in 1930 in Ellenville, and you can buy rights to the nearby Ulster Heights Lake. Go in with a few friends and you could make some magic happen. GMAP.
Back in “the day” most NYC denizens experienced the Catskills by summering at a bungalow colony, or so I’ve been told by Dirty Dancing and A Walk on the Moon. As has been documented extensively here on Upstater, several colonies are still on the go and often offer the lowest price point for weekending/summering upstate.
That said, mostly what you own is a share of a cooperative — providing exclusive use of your unit — but not the land it sits on. Hence, financing can be a tricky proposition. Bungalow colonies probably fared better during the heyday of the housing bubble, when suddenly equity-rich folks could buy units with a HELOC on their first home.
Here’s an assortment of what’s for sale right now.
First up, and the most “deluxe” of the bunch by appearances, is Unit AAA in the Buffalo Colony. Now, I haven’t visited any of these communities, but I will say the Buffalo Colony does the best job presenting/branding itself online. Caveat Bungalowpter and all that, but it makes a good impression.
A big 3BR with delightful wide plank floors and what looks like a ton of light and space (plus that massive screened porch!), Unit AAA is appealing – but it comes at a price. I’m bending the rules here, because the seller is asking $106,000 but insisted that “Emphasis is ‘negotiable’ price” – so I’m going to assume there is at least $6,001 of flex and put it in on a technicality. Yearly dues are high at ~$4,000, so slick web design doesn’t come cheap.
Next, from Upstater’s real estate listings, comes the first to two units at Sylvan Lake in Hopewell Junction. An adorable powder blue cottage with shed, and the community has a terrific lake, playgrounds, etc.
Looks clean and well maintained inside, and is asking just $47,500.
Also in Sylvan Lake is this 1BR/1BA unit, asking just $37,000.
It’s hard to tell from the photos if it’s a standalone unit or one half of a duplex (common in these colonies), but the kitchen has been recently redone by the looks of things and the outside looks well cared for.
Down the cute ladder, but down the price ladder as well, is this unit in Spring Glen. It’s not as adorable, but it’s asking just $17,000 and the yearly dues are only $2,000. We’re getting down into used car prices here.
Lastly, a real treat for those of us with an eye towards the adventurous:
An entire colony for $50,000! I know, I can’t even stand it. It’s actually a house, a trailer, and six seasonal bungalows, on just over 2 acres. If you’re nervous about buying in with others, just jump on this one and be the landlord yourself. The listing says “DEFINATLY (sic) FOR SOMEONE WITH A VISION” so assume this is in rough, rough shape. But come on. Eight units (plus barn!) for fifty grand? Pinch me.
Details on all listings after the jump!
Our friends over at Reclaimed Home have been tooling about the Catskills, looking at abandoned or dilapidated bungalow colonies. They picked out this one. which is a bit closer to the river than most, in Kerhonkson: six units, 5.45 acres, with the structures listed as in “fair condition.” But, as they write, “Most of the structures do not look to be in salvageable condition, so really, you’re buying the property.”
We stumbled across this site some time ago, during our continual search for information on restoring bungalow colonies in Sullivan County.
Artists Julie Courtney and Jennie Shanker were also interested in the plight of these old places, but rather than renovate bungalows, they decided to make sculpture out of them. The result is CENTERpieces, a collaboration between the artists, acting as curators, and the Hurleyville-based Center for Discovery, a nonprofit that provides educational, environmental and creative arts services for children and adults with disabilities.
The buildings on and adjacent to the Center’s land were beyond saving, but by reinventing them as installation art, Shanker and Courtney could help this struggling community to become an arts destination. “Hurleyville is in this cultural path of DIA:Beacon and Storm King, and we thought we could do some smaller scale version of those,” they told Upstater.
So a pair of identical 20-foot-high geodesic domes are now the setting for a camera obscura installation by the artist Richard Torchia, called The Harris Observatory. And the bungalows will eventually be altered and reconfigured by the architect and artist Allan Wexler.
The opening for the Harris Observatory is Saturday, February 25th. The installation will be open to visitors by appointment from February 18 through March 3.