Vacancy Everlasting

Vacancy Everlasting  

Winding our way through rural New York in late October, we pass by several cute old towns decked out for Halloween. Talking amongst ourselves, we find that we've come to miss the feeling that Halloween decor evokes, as it seems more and more towns are celebrating this particular holiday with less and less enthusiasm. At least out here Halloween is alive and well, as each quaint borough which we pass through shows off their love for the season with the type of fervor one may remember from childhood.

This all changes when we reach our destination. Things are far more depressed here. Though there are still some signs of life, and clear efforts are being made in some areas to clean up the village, there is no denying that the area has suffered greatly from the implosion of their tourism industry many years ago. At one time this small village was home to famous sulfur baths, and had numerous bustling hotels within its 1.8 square miles. Today we find picturesque town in a rural mountain setting, with an abandoned resort on every street corner. Of all these empty hotels, none were more impressive, or more massive, than the former hotel Adler.

Closed in 2004, it still stands over the town today, though it has grown far quieter than when it opened in the 1920's. When constructed, the hotels primary function was that of a sulfur-bath spa, a very popular therapeutic treatment at the time. As it is with most health-related trends though, they come and they go. Eventually the public's interest in bath-houses declined, and as such, this resort was eventually put out of business in 2004.

All this information is trivial though; What draws us here is not the resort's life, but its unique postmortem state. Nearly every item located within is of interest in some bizarre way, be it the tacky vintage furniture, or the dizzying effect of the metallic art-deco wallpaper. The combined effect leads one to wonder if the interior designer was mad, blind... or both. Alone, any of the nauseating wallpapers, abominable carpets, or ridiculous armchairs could be derided as simple trash, but when compiled into a single space they become something else altogether. What conceptually should simply be ugly rooms somehow coalesce into something better described as chambers in a multi-hued nightmare.

Now, one may gather from the writing thus far that this place is somewhat charming, or perhaps even humorous in a strange way. It is not. The retro patterns and colors, mixed with the heavy shadows that are always present, make for a downright creepy environment. It's also always dark, even at midday. Without electricity the windows alone simply do not provide enough natural light to illuminate the long hallways, resulting in patches of deep black at the far end of most hallways, and in many corners. Beyond that, the years have not been easy on the old place, to the point that every passing wind stirs up a choir of creaks and groans. The building is never silent, and no amount of time there ever allows one to become accustomed to it. Hidden away below vintage carpeting and wooden floorboards, the framework of the hotel grows tired and frail. Old windows and the occasional missing pane of glass allow the late autumn winds to easily enter and swirl down the old hallways, oft causing the countless crooked windows to rattle in their frames

At some point in our day, for reasons unknown (or simply not recalled), one of us picked up the receiver of an old bedside rotary phone. We had been seeing the phone all day long, as the exact same model appeared on every bedside table, in every room of the hotel. To our unpleasant surprise what greeted us on the receiver was a dial tone. Not a normal sounding one though, a subdued and distorted one. It hummed, crackled, and hissed in a sickly fashion, and it was present on every phone in the hotel.

Heading down the master stair, we came upon the lobby, it was enshrouded in deep shadows resulting from the boarded doors and windows. The front desk was empty, old paperwork scattered the floor, and cobwebbed chandeliers hung along the ceiling. In the middle of all this sat a lone luggage cart. Everything about this hotel is ominous in some way, and that cart was no different. It seemed to watch us as we made our way carefully through the lobby to the room beyond. Here we found what would best describe as having been the hotel lounge. A large room with many chairs and couches all sit facing a stage. Surely this room once entertained the whole of the village just down the hill, but nowadays it stands in muted reflection, much like the whole of the hotel itself.

The lobby was unnaturally quiet.

The stage in the lounge area was filled to the ceiling with chairs.