Kutsher’s was all about people, says Ron Mintz, who spent many weekends and family vacations there while he was growing up in Paramus.
Yes, says the 35-year-old Mintz, the appeal of the hotel was multi-faceted: It was a convenient place to take the kids because of all the activities – “things kids could do and the adults would have their own diversions.” There was Ping Pong, swimming, Simon Says (for both kids and adults); a sports camp; tennis; ice skating in the winter; and shuffleboard, which is “almost an extinct pastime,” Mintz observes.
“They had a boxer training there,” Mintz recalls, “Alex Stuart, who ended up getting knocked out by Mike Tyson. You could watch him train.”
And in the evening you could watch live entertainment with, he points out, “name talent.”
He adds, with a laugh, “Let’s not forget the whole point of this. You had three square meals a day, and for a Jewish family, that was ideal – the all-you-can-eat aspect. It was kosher. And it was good.”
It was all good, said Mintz, whose grandparents owned Woda’s Hotel in Swan Lake, N.Y., before he was born – but what was best about the place was that “you were spending time with other families. It was like six degrees of separation. If you didn’t bump into someone you knew, you bumped into someone who knew someone…. It was all very much about people – the people you spent time with, the people you met, and the staff you encountered there. As a kid, you were constantly entertained by the characters there.”
“The total feel” of the place, he said, was “very much like the movie ‘Dirty Dancing.'”
He thinks the effort to keep Kutsher’s alive is “a great idea” – but foresees “an uphill battle.”
“It’s going to take a lot to market a restored Kutsher’s,” says Mintz, who owns a media production company based in Philadelphia. The new management has “to be able to convince people that they can get not only the experience of old but it can rival another kind of vacation.”
And to recreate that “experience of old,” he adds, “to do it right, they would probably have to employ actors.”