Monsey Memories: When the Monsey Hotel Was Slated to Be Transformed Into Yeshiva Dorms
By Yitzy Fried
Last week we wrote about the demise of the Monsey Hotel at the corner of Route 59 and Route 306, where weary train commuters would be able to rest after a long journey in times gone by. But as times changed, so did the hotel change, and it became a rooming house for welfare recipients, and the building deteriorated.
Two years after a judge ordered the hotel closed, a New Square resident was interviewed by The Journal News after he had invested a fortune into renovating the hotel completely, inside and out. He intended for it to serve as a Yeshiva dormitory.
"Monsey Hotel back in business with a new look," the interview reads. "Once called a hellhole by a county official and ordered closed after it accumulated a stack of health and fire code violations, the 80-year-old Monsey Hotel has been reborn.
"The building—which stands near Monsey's Main Street, at 7 Depot Square (named for the Monsey Train Depot)—has undergone a total renovation through the efforts of a New Square man. Inside, the walls, ceilings, and oak floors are new, as are the bathrooms, kitchen, heating, and air conditioning. Outside, broken doors and missing windows have been replaced, and cornices, siding, and woodwork spruced up.
"' Everything on the outside was ruined. Everything on the inside was ruined," said Yehuda Frank, who bought the building in February 1982, six months after the former owner was ordered to close it. Frank, 30, and his family own several nearby commercial buildings in the hamlet—including the Monsey Bake Shop."
"... Frank said the building would provide accommodations for students attending nearby Yeshivas and visitors to the Hassidic community in the area.
"'If I didn't renovate it, it would have stayed the way it was, and no one wanted that," Frank said.
"So far, Frank's improvements have pleased the Ramapo Building Department, which has inspected the repairs. Across Main Street at Monsey Fruit, the repairs also look good to Abraham Klein, who has operated that business for nine years. 'If it is going to be for the yeshivas, that is good. But if it goes back to the way it was before, then it won't."
Forty years have passed since this attempt at rehabilitating the Monsey Hotel, and perhaps due to changing times in Monsey or other factors, the establishments never did get a new lease on life. In its place are the famed Shoppers Haven and Rockland Kosher, which continue to serve the Monsey community, albeit in a different way.