Burlesque at the Lex!

We had passed by the defunct Lexington Hotel on many occasions while driving around the area. So a few years ago when we heard that the hotel was throwing a grand re-opening bash we were excited to check it out. What we found was a dark hotel - not merely dead, but most sincerely dead. Here it is in daylight.

My background research revealed that the hotel was a hopping Slavic hot spot in the early half of the 20th century with a mostly Ukrainian clientele. It changed hands off and on during the latter part of the century. According to the New York Times, Philadelphia nightlife impresario Philip Cohen bought the hotel in 2003. Its restaurant, an eclectic vegetarian/vegan affair, was run by Kaya Chaos, founding member of the NY hardcore punk band Deviant Behavior. Cool! After hosting burlesque shows (oh my) the place was shut down for violating the town's anti-noise ordinance. Not cool. Cohen vowed to fight the town and bring back the shows the following winter. I'm wondering if that was the grand re-opening advertised on the radio. Alas, it never came to be. But enough internet-gathered history (we all know how accurate that is) and on to more pictures!

This sign perplexes me. Cohen reopened the place in '03, but the sign says '98. Does not compute. Unless there were several incarnations. But why leave the old sign up?

A peek inside:

I almost fell through a hole in the floorboards on the rear porch. That's the Lexington Bridge in the background. The hotel literally hangs over the Schoharie River. The porch was covered in river silt.

Just across the river is a view of the impressive Lexington House. It was a resort hotel back in the 1880s. Now it's on the NY State Registry of Historic Places. It enjoyed past lives as a summer camp, an art center and a summer theater. It's one of the last standing examples of late-nineteenth century resort architecture in the Catskills. It's up for sale, so place your bids on this faded beauty!

This yummy Plymouth Valiant has been sitting in the lot across the street, most likely since 1960.

If you're ever in the town of Lexington, take a moment to pay a visit to the Lexington Hotel. They say it's haunted by old Ukrainians, but I like to think the ghosts of burlesque queens shake their pasties at passersby. 

A gravestone lovely as a tree

As commonplace as graveyards are there is always beauty to be found within their gates. In the town of Lexington a dozen gravestones dot the yard of a small church. Most are simple slabs except for this one memorializing a young woman who died more than a hundred years ago. (click on the photo for an enlarged image)

Trees are recurrent motifs in gravestone iconography. They represent the regenerative beauty of life. Befittingly, a tree stump alludes to the brevity of life.

Note the exceptionally fine detail of the bark. That rope looks woven rather than carved!

Surrounded by mountains, woods and streams, this lovely marker of a life complements its idyllic setting.

All Along the Watchtower

Driving down a country road in Jewett, we came across this funky tower. It has a lighthouse vibe to it, wouldn't you say? I'd love to walk around the gallery and pretend to spot ghost ships sailing over the distant mountains.

After admiring it we continued on our drive. Just a few houses down we saw this! I guess someone else on the block wanted a tower to call their own. Check out those narrow windows. I'd love to explore the interior - I'm imagining a spiral staircase going all the way up.

I took a few photos and we got back to our travels. We didn't get too far before we saw...yup...another tower!

Third time's a charm, I suppose, but this one looks like an evil spell was cast over it. If you look closely, you'll see a sad girl with very long hair gazing out the upper window.