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. 


  1. Oh, those Ukranians know how to party. I went to a get-together hosted by the Ukranian-American Youth Association, and I didn't sober up for days afterwards. So it is entirely likely that the Ukranians and the burlesque queens are having a grand old time together.

  2. "hopping Slavic hotspot"---Beff, you know how to turn a phrase! Once the snow completely melts, that Plymouth is MINE!

  3. Bitterly - The Ukrainians do like their wootka!
    Laura - I get shotgun!

  4. That was my restaurant and It was an amazing place to be...the hotel was an insane spot for about a year......an ultimate rock and roll hotel....it had debauchery in every Kitchy corner...lol....I miss it....in the basement we had a club called the "Floodzone" (self explanitory name) that is where we had the burlesque shows.....but our house band had Dr. Know from the Bad Brains and rotating members of the Parliment Funkadelic....good times....-K. Chaos

    1. Dear K. Chaos,

      Would like to speak with you about this property. Is there a number or email where I can reach you directly?


  5. Did anyone film these great times? I'd love to see what was to be seen. I went by there a few weeks ago. The floods from Irene ravaged the surrounding area, but the Lex still stands. A neighbor told me someone bought it and plans to renovate. True?

    1. I am sure someone had to have filmed the events at the Floodzone, I'll ask around and will gladly update once I have heard back:)

  6. Thanks for your comments, Rico :-) I hope what your neighbor told you is true - it would be great if the Lex got a second life!

  7. Indeed a good time. I was a live in worker there during the flood zone days. I help Kaya in the restaurant bartender engineered live shows dj and cleaned. Phil was the best boss ever. But make no mistake the Lex was not in violation of a noise ordernance. They had measure the sound pressure from the area c most complaints and found nothing. There were rumors that we are a red light district totally untrue and every wife in town and outside of town would call looking for their long lost hubby. We got a reputation that was undeserved prejudice. We were constantly in local papers for nothing and the rumors were beneath low. It was an amazing time an amazing place that attracted amazing people artist and musician and that made people jealous and threatened with diversity. It's not for everyone.