What's a Bungalow Colony?

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  • #619232
    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Please explain a bungalow colony in layman’s terms….

    Questions that I have after Googling it:

    1) Is it like a frum kibbutz in the Catskills?

    2) Can you live there year-round?

    3) Do the bungalows have A/C and heating?

    4) Is it a getaway thing for city people to have some nature and peace?

    #1219060
    HaLeiVi
    Participant

    1- No, each child has his/her own parents.

    2- Oh no!

    3- Air conditioning in recent years. Heading would depend on 2.

    4- For grass deprived, chicken coup dwellers to get to experience the outside.

    #1219061
    Little Froggie
    Participant

    1) Don’t know what a kibbutz is, but there’s generally no planting to do in the colonies

    2) You (or me) can live there year round, if you’re a hermit, or absolutely allergic to other humans.

    3) Some newer one do. So they facilitate the possibility of #2. Also many go up there for a Shabbos. (I’ve done it, exhilarating!!)

    4) In case you haven’t figured it out – YES. The scenery is gorgeous – in ALL SEASONS!! Miles and miles and miles of just pure wilderness, HaShem’s nature the way Hes set it. It does wonders the the mind, body etc.

    And btw, we LIVE there year round – it’s always on our (our family) mind. The summers we spend at our place give ‘chiyus’, life, energy, zest for the whole year!!

    #1219062
    rebshidduch
    Participant

    I would hope you know what a bungalow colony is unless your from a 3rd world country. People go there in the somewhere as a gateway.

    #1219063
    Joseph
    Participant

    Google the Borscht Belt.

    #1219064
    Utah
    Member

    1) Yes and no. Its more of a small frum community but its more like a village

    2) People tend just to live there for the summer since thats when it is the nicest

    3) yes

    4) yes

    #1219065
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    People generally don’t live in bungalow colonies, but if they would, they would mostly be very near to some very nice Jewish communities.

    #1219066
    yehudayona
    Participant

    rebshidduch, bungalow colonies are a uniquely NYC phenomenon. Contrary to popular belief, the area outside the Greater New York area is not third world.

    Basically, Brooklyn is uninhabitable in the summer, so wives leave their husbands there, take their kids, and go to shacks in the Catskills. The husbands live on takeout food during the week, and fight traffic on the way to their families for Shabbos. Then they fight traffic on the way back to Brooklyn on Sunday.

    #1219067
    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Yehudayona +1 (Lol!)

    Thank you. I def was raised in the Western World and yesterday was the first time I’ve heard of a bungalow colony.

    When I was younger, I learned about rich New Yorkers going to the Hamptons (I think even Seinfeld talked about it).

    But bungalow colonies…that’s news to me.

    Why is Brooklyn uninhabitable in the summer?

    #1219068
    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Whoa. Thanks Joseph.

    I wonder if I would have allergies there.

    Are the bungalows more like cabins and camping (with bears oh my)?

    #1219069
    Lightbrite
    Participant

    HaLeiVi:

    1) Even if the kids have their own parents, I saw something about a shared kitchen, which seemed kibbutzy to me.

    Maybe that was a rare case or something

    #1219070
    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    In my childhood, bungalows were rented for the summer and were a bit of “roughing it” – not exactly luxurious. Run down kitchen with old appliances, 1 bedroom and 1 sofa/bed in the “living room/kitchen” for the whole family to share. I remember cuddling up next to the space heater during cold August nights. A/C was not needed. The idea was to spend lots of time outdoors- the kids had daycamp and could run free on the grounds, enjoying the playground equipment, or hiking in the surrounding woods on the property. The mothers would sit around schmoozing and enjoying the down-time. The fathers, well, Yehudayona summed that up nicely. The only communal part about it would be the shul, daycamp, canteen where they sold us kids icecream and popsicles, and some sort of social hall where there would be entertainment, lectures and shiurim. Oh yes, and the shared laundry facilities with coin-operated machines.

    Back when I was little, there weren’t daycamps in the city, and the city was hot and humid with little for a kid to do or go on their own. Since most mothers did not work, or worked in the school system and had vacation in the summers, they were able to get away with their families. We went until us kids got old enough for sleep-away camp. Then we got to enjoy the Catskills while our parents stayed in the city.

    I understand that things have changed a bit- people own their summer homes now, they have more amenities and are probably much more comfortable these days and able to handle larger families. I would imagine though that now that in many families both parents work, including summers, that more stay home in the city than they used to and send the little kids to local daycamps.

    #1219071
    yehudayona
    Participant

    It must be uninhabitable, because otherwise why would people prefer to live in shacks? Actually, I prefer Brooklyn in the summer: parking is much easier.

    #1219072
    takahmamash
    Participant

    No, each child has his/her own parents.

    HaLeiVi, children on kibbutz living in a “children’s house” died out in the 70’s.

    #1219073
    Thinking out loud
    Participant

    Yehudayonas description is quite accurate! There’s an entire culture that surrounds this phenomenon.

    I will paint a more descriptive picture for you:

    A bungalow is a (very) small and simple dwelling. I wouldn’t say it’s a shack, but it’s a pretty basic set-up: Built of wood, un-insulated, with a small kitchen with appliances that may actually date back to the 1950’s. 1, 2 or even three Bedrooms (Very large bungalow)and often a porch that is enclosed with screens. Shared kitchens probably were prevalent in the 1950’s and ’60s; I think today each would have their own. The inside of the bungalow is for sleeping and keeping your stuff dry!

    The idea is, you are going there so the kids can freely play outdoors in relative safety compared to the city. Also, Brooklyn, aside from not having much in the way of grass and trees, is hot and humid in the summer. The bungalow colonies are situated in an area that has a higher elevation, and therefore cooler temperatures. There is almost always a swimming pool with a solid mechitza, with separate hours for men and women. Sometimes there is a basketball, or racket ball court or other amenities on the premises. There is a laundry room (shack) with coin-operated washers and dryers. Most also offer a small day camp program for younger children; from age 2 up to about 10 or so. There is usually also some sort of communal building which doubles as a shul. During the week, there may not be a minyan of men, But from Friday through Sunday, there are plenty of fathers/husbands around. And more separate-swim hours for men.

    The properties are grassy, surrounded by natural forests, that certainly are home to wildlife native to the area. They are owned by private individuals, or small groups. The owners rent out the bungalows to individuals – usually family oriented – for the summer months when the Jewish schools are closed. This period is from the last week(s) of June until the end of August, or even until Labor Day. Some colonies are owned by a particular organized community, in conjunction with their own set of schools and shuls in the New York City area.

    A bungalow colony can have anywhere from 10 to a few hundred bungalows. Usually a few families that are acquainted will rent bungalows in the same colony. Additionally, the same friends will often repeat their specific arrangement for many Summers. It is common for a larger group to develop with adults and children that become quite tightly knit friends, having spent many Summers together, (in tight quarters) and maintaining their relationships throughout the year, sharing occasions such as weddings and other simchas.

    These days, there are less and less of the type of bungalow structures I described. Many colonies have become co-ops, with individuals owning their own bungalows. Some of these slowly get more modernized, and expanded to include additional rooms, and are even “winterized”. New appliances, proper floors, private washers and dryers are added. So it develops into a very basic Summer home. There are “colonies”, that were first built in the last 25 years, in which the bungalows are really basic houses, with modern amenities, electricity, heating and air-conditioning. In a different setting, you would just refer to it as a housing development. With very small, quaint houses.

    But there are quite a few hold-outs of the basic dwellings I described above, which you would see if you drive down the roads in the area of the Catskill Mountain Region being referred to. Most of these places are in towns or townships close to a stretch of Route 17 in South Eastern New York State. There are some additional areas a bit farther North East within the Catskill Mountain Region.

    The colonies are largely in the same areas where most of the religious Jewish Summer camps are located. There are a number of Lakes in the area too, some of which offer rowboat, canoe, and even speedboat rentals. Since this is the Yeshiva World News website, I am describing the set-up (and culture) in the Yeshivish/Chassidish world. There definitely are additional bungalow colonies and co-ops where the crowd is modern orthodox, and may be in areas I am not familiar with. But the non-religious crowd has pretty much abandoned this destination.

    There are also flourishing commercial businesses; mostly small supermarkets, that have sprung up in the area for the Summer months. There are Brooklyn based pediatricians who have opened offices in the area, all but moving their entire medical practices to the area for the Summer months. Some of the towns have a commercial street with a few stores, which likely includes a Pizza Shop and/or Ice Cream Parlor. In the Summer, the emergency volunteer corps, Hatzolah has a full fledged division operating up there. For safety reasons, they have actually created a fairly accurate map listing and locating almost every known bungalow colony and summer camp. There are a few towns that are actually home to local residents all year long. (They live in normal houses). National chains such as Walmart, Walgreens and Supermarkets exist in those towns. These are highly popular destinations when it rains!

    One humorous note you have to know to be an insider:

    For some reason, many people who speak primarily Yiddish, actually call these bungalow colonies “countries”. That evolved from the term countryside, which morphed into the country, as in “for the summer, we go to the country”. This further evolved among some Yiddish speaking groups, to simply call the individual colony where they rent their bungalow, ‘the country’. If you follow this logic, there are numerous bungalow colonies which some people actually call “countries”. If you go into a kosher grocery up there, a friendly person may seriously inquire “Which country are you in?”!!!!

    #1219074
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Why don’t people just move out-of-town or to EY where there is grass, air and sunshine year-round instead of living somewhere that’s uninhabitable in the summer and paying a fortune to move out to live in a crowded shack for two months a year, leaving the fathers behind?

    #1219075
    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Bungalow Colonies proliferated after WWII and the majority were Jewish, but NOT frum.

    This was during the baby boom when small NYC apartments were overcrowded by young families with little space and no air conditioning.

    My grandparents owned a bungalow colony near Loch Sheldrake and we often visited for a week in the summer in the 50s.

    By the early 1960s most non-frum Jews no longer went to bungalow colonies, many had escaped crowded NYC apartments for a small suburban home with a patch a grass.

    Also, in 1964, President Johnson singed the Civil Rights Act. Jews could not be legally kept out of beach and country clubs or hotels/resorts. There now were many choices for non-frum Jews to vacation. with the advent of cheap Jet travel the attraction of the Catskills died out for many.

    Frum Jews took advantage of changing conditions and bought up failed bungalow colonies. Some became schools/Yeshivos. Others became condominiums/coops instead of profit making businesses.

    BUT, the wife and kids still spend most of the time there without husband.father who still commutes from the city for Shabbos.

    BTW, It’s not all about Brooklyn. My grandparents who owned the colony were from the Bronx, as were most of their renters.

    #1219076
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    So, to sum up Thinking out loud’s post, a bungalow colony is a third world country.

    #1219078
    golfer
    Participant

    Lightb, just read the essays kindly provided by WinnieTP and Thinkingol, and you’ll know everything there is to know.

    Then be sure NOT to miss the Absolutely Brilliant conclusion by DY.

    I was hesitating to post here, because I didn’t want to kill its impact by posting a following post.

    Looks like I did though.

    #1219079
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    DaasYochid: “So, to sum up Thinking out loud’s post, a bungalow colony is a third world country.”

    There you go Golfer – does that do the trick?

    #1219080
    golfer
    Participant

    LilmodU, yes that might have done the trick.

    But I just had to tell you-

    Thank you, I appreciate your help!

    So there I go again…

    #1219081
    Little Froggie
    Participant

    Today’s days you’ll find a mixture, some have decent or even fancy structures, weatherized and filled with all the latests. Other colonies have basic “shacks”, one, two or three “rooms”. Sometimes they’re connected to another dwelling, so the separation is a paper-thin “wall”. It all depends on the place. Size and amenities also vary. Some have 20 or less families, some have upwards of over 300 families. Grounds, how well they’re kept, swimming pools.. they all vary. The main thing we look for, which is our most important aspect, is the crowd. Know that your family is going to be exposed, and pick up one the behavior middos, hashkafaos, attitudes of anyone and everyone of that crowd. So someone who really cares for the main thing will or should make that top priority.

    We are B”H zoche to go to a place totally infused with Torah, Torah’dig families, Torah’dig hashkafos, bein adam l’makom and bein adam lchaveiro. Our living space is tight, but, our children are almost never home, that’s the idea of the country. And what our children (or us, parents!) acquire in the summer months is so much more than the rest of the year. Learning (a real cheder, principal, Rebbeim, tests), a real dagash on the areas of davening, friendships, shmiras halashon etc. We really feel lucky, and we do than the Ribono Shel Olam for directing us to this place!!

    #1219082
    yungermanS
    Participant

    a large yard with 10 trailers & a pool squashed into it. with the price of each rental same as your large home renal in NY but guess its worth it just so you can get the feeling that you got away & can be able to tell your friends that you went away for the summer

    #1219083
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    DaasYochid: “So, to sum up Thinking out loud’s post, a bungalow colony is a third world country.”

    There we go!

    You already thanked me Golfer, so you’re already yotzei, and you don’t have to thank me again.

    And I’m just warning you that if you do, you might find a new thread asking what to do about two annoying posters who keep repeating themselves over and over and over and over and over….

    Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

    #1219084
    Little Froggie
    Participant

    Lul: Ten points for that one!!!!!

    (In my humblekite, I’d think if two people say it’s a third world country, it makes it sixth, no?)

    #1219085
    yehudayona
    Participant

    CTL, I’d venture to say that the number of bungalow colony goers from the Bronx today is minuscule. There are probably some from Queens, but the frum areas of Queens are much more pleasant in the summer than BP and Williamsburg. They actually have very nice parks near the frum areas of Queens.

    #1219086
    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    yehudayona……….

    I absolutely agree with you about 2017. Outside of Riverdale there are few frum Jews left in the Bronx.

    My grandparents sold their colony in 1972. The land was developed for single family homes. That’s how I ended up with 2 Sifrei Torah.

    #1219087
    Lightbrite
    Participant

    (Thinking out loud & WinnieThePooh & Little Froggie & CTLAWYER) +Millions 🙂

    Thank you!!! ~ Such detail. I can envision it 🙂

    golfer ~ Thanks for the head up 🙂

    DY +1

    #1219088
    rebshidduch
    Participant

    yehudayona, I am not from New York so why would I know more than lightbrite what bungalow colonies are?

    #1219089
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    LF – I think you need to go back to school to brush up on your math skills….and we know how much you love school…..

    #1219090
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    rebshidduch – while there are people outside of New York who do know what a bungalow colony, there are many who don’t.

    While you are not from New York, my impression is that you are much closer to and have more shaychus to the New York world than LB does.

    #1219091
    Little Froggie
    Participant

    LuL: Sorry. I skipped first (made up in the summer with the most wonderful, fantastic, patient teacher – my mother, ?? ??? ???????), and dropped out at eighth. Hence my great attitude towards anything resembling scholastic.

    So while I know enough how to teach/train computers, I cannot qualify for a city sanitation position. I have not learnt the exact angle to arc bags into the truck.

    #1219092
    Lilmod Ulelamaid
    Participant

    Hey, we have something in common – I skipped first also. And I also made up what I missed by learning with my mother over the summer. But I only skipped hebrew, not english for First Grade. The english teacher refused to skip me because of my handwriting. I had to skip Third Grade english to even things out.

    I would qualify for neither of the above jobs, but I don’t think it has too much to do with my skipping Third Grade.

    #1219093
    WinnieThePooh
    Participant

    Boy, what nostalgia. I can still remember the excitement as we drove up to the “mountains”, as the scenery changed and we could literally see those tree covered mountains always looming in the distance. This city kid loved roaming the woods behind our bungalow, pretending that the rock wall marking the property was the ruins of some ancient castle, making clubhouses on the rocks, crossing over the brook and looking for frogs and salamanders, or the excitement of skipping daycamp and going with the Mommies on a shopping trip to Jamesway, getting ice cream at Lucky Dip and playing pinball. then there were the thuderstorms with the streaks of lightening that seemed to land right outside our porch, and the smell of skunk and the poison ivy…oops, I better stop while I am ahead.

    #1219095
    Geordie613
    Participant

    My picture of a bungalow colony is from A Yid Cares by Yitzy Erps circa 1980. Everyone has those detailed Yitzy Erps hands. We don’t have them in England. (I mean the colonies, we do have hands. We got rid of most of the colonies in the 50s and 60s.)

    #1219096
    huju
    Participant

    Would anyone be interested in the thread about a booglaloo colony?

    #1219097
    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Geordie613, lol I like how you specified that you do have hands.

    #1219098
    Geordie613
    Participant

    LB, Thank you. Just wondering if you’re familiar with the ‘A Yid Cares series’; Look them up in your LJBS (local Jewish Bookstore). You’ll know what I mean.

    #1219099
    huju
    Participant

    Bungalow colony is a state of mind.

    #1219100
    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Geordie613, nope not yet but thank you ~ it’s on my to-do list 🙂

    #1219101
    Thinking out loud
    Participant

    Daas Yochid, thank you for that amusing summary!

    Personally, I don’t think it resembles ANY other world or country. It’s almost a 3rd world planet!!! With a bit of its own language and syntax, and a unique approach to family living! It’s difficult to understand the system of government. Everyone does whatever they want. Sort of. But it’s not anarchy. There are rules. Or maybe it’s more correct to say standards. But you have to be a part of it to know what they are. The year-round locals have a regular American system. It’s the “country” constituency that live by different unwritten charters. Which sometimes creates, ummm, inter-planetary friction! (Perhaps it’s fair to say that Hatzolah is the only accepted governing institution!?!?!)

    Also, it wouldn’t be “the country” without modern familiar traffic jams on Route 42, complete with the requisite Honda Odysseys, and Toyota Siennas not found in 3rd world countries. And don’t forget the FOOD resources. There’s way more up there than in a bunch of 3rd world countries combined!

    We all LOVE the parking situation in Brooklyn from the end of June until Labor Day! That’s how working people know it’s the Summer!!!

    #1219102
    Geordie613
    Participant

    The UK is not a 3rd world country by any measure, and we don’t have Honda Odysseys or Toyota Siennas.

    #1219103
    Geordie613
    Participant

    Redt fun der Malach…

    Today I saw a Honda Odyssey on the streets of Manchester. It’s definitely the first time, and it was somewhat an oddity (couldn’t resist) for this country. We like cars smaller and manageable on our streets that were built for people walking or being pulled by horses.

    #1219104
    CTLAWYER
    Participant

    Geordie613….

    Chevrolets of your childhood

    “Ag pleez Deddy won’t you take us off to Durban

    It’s only eight hours in the Chevro-lay

    There’s spans of sea an’ sand an’ sun

    And fish in the aquari-yum

    That’s a lekker place for a holi-day”

    #1219105
    Joseph
    Participant

    Geordie, what do large yiddishe mishpachos do?

    #1219106
    Geordie613
    Participant

    CTL – Jislaaik, I remember that!!

    Joseph – Toyota Previa, Ford Galaxy, VW Touran. They are people carriers but not as wide as the Oddyseys and Siennas.

    #1219107
    MDG
    Participant

    “Toyota Previa, Ford Galaxy, VW Touran.”

    Never heard of these, so I googled. These are models that are not sold in the USA, probably because we like larger vehicles. Our roads are wider and our fuel is less expensive – like a third to half of the price.

    #1219108
    Geordie613
    Participant

    I remember in my time in the Mir, there was someone who had an American car, (don’t know the model, ober dach tzich mir a Chevy). I have no idea how he got it around the tiny streets of Yerushalayim, especially the Beis Yisrael area. But it was there nonetheless, very American.

    Anyone here in the Mir circa 1996-1998, could you help out?

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