Book 3 of our Decomposition Series

Paperback, 8" x 7.5", 60 pages, color photos 
Published on November 30, 2010
ISBN 978-0-9772742-8-4


by Jonathan Haeber

Grossinger's: City of Refuge and Illusion is an exploration of the relics of a once legendary Catskills hotel. Jonathan Haeber takes the reader on a journey through the abandoned Grossinger's resort with 25 gorgeous color photos that illustrate entertaining and poignant narratives about the hotel's once glamorous history.

Jon Haeber’s cat burglar-like ability to slip into abandoned sites, combined with his scholarly quest to understand the history of the places he visits, makes him the consummate urban explorer.  This project, with its palpable sense of obsession, is exactly what an urbex book should be: A love letter to culture and history lost, and a chronicle of an adventurous journey into a forgotten world few ever get to see.
– Troy Paiva, author of Lost America, The Abandoned Roadside West and Night Vision, The Art of Urban Exploration

"I would like to believe that my Grandmother Jennie, the person most identified with and committed to the conventional success and maintenance of this property... would have been shocked by the demise... but, after one viewing of Jon’s portfolio and a moment’s contemplation, would have shaken his hand and, with tears in her eyes, thanked him for preserving the integrity and dignity of her manor."
- Richard Grossinger, author of Out of Babylon: Ghosts of Grossinger's

"How sad that we often fail to record the glorious present of the lives and histories in which we live. Too often we return to the ruins, working to reconstruct a past that we and others may now have experienced. The Catskills are one of those places where people were too busy to adequately photograph and collect, and now the memories are scavenged from abandoned buildings. Jon Haeber’s excursions into Grossinger’s  show us an important slice of Jewish culture, through
his narrations that are accompanied by the riotous color palettes generated by decay, rain, and time."
- Phil Brown, Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies, Brown University

A recovering product packaging copywriter and freelance journalist, Jonathan Haeber is embarking on a project to document historic architecture across the United States, particularly architecture of national significance that faces imminent destruction or dismantlement. His interest in the built landscape originated with a U.C. Berkeley Geography thesis on the history of miniature golf. Haeber’s photography has appeared in The New Yorker online, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, Der Spiegel, The San Francisco Chronicle, and National Geographic News. He has written for CNET, National Geographic News, Discovery Channel, Microsoft Encarta, and The Daily Californian. You can see more of Haeber’s work at