Back when Dean Gitter first envisioned, then opened the world’s largest kaleidoscope in what was then Catskill Corners and is now Emerson Place on Route 28 in the Town of Shandaken, a lot of folks wondered whether what was being created was a roadside attraction or a new arts venue. There was a giant “Kaleidostore” adjacent to the silo/kaleidoscope’s entrance, and for a while a second kaleidoscopic attraction in another part of the classic old rambling Risely barn complex, which is now filled with high-end stores and convention-center perqs – plus some great exhibitions of cutting-edge kaleidoscopic art. Now, more than 15 years later, Gitter’s dream attraction continues to pull crowds, having become one of the stalwart tourist attractions in the area.
Certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest at 56 feet long (the size of the old barn’s silo), the concept was designed by award-winning kaleidoscope artist Charles Karadimos, with its initial specially created imagery-based video designed by psychedelic art pioneer Isaac Abrams and his son Raphael, a computer artist. With theater-quality surround sound and a musical score by composer and drummer Gary Burke, the kaleidoscope’s main presentations utilize video playing off a three-dimensional three-mirror system that creates “a precise pyramid tapering from 15 feet at the bottom to five feet at the top, which reflect a constantly evolving virtual sphere with a 50-foot radius.”
It really is fun, and with three annual shows rotating among America: The House We Live In, a psychedelic history lesson; Metamorphosis, a journey through the seasons; and an annual Hexagram Holiday offering just completed, it’s fun to come back several times per annum. For real fans, there’s even a Kaleidoscope Club that offers ten-percent discounts on future purchases valued at $100 or more, special notification of new, collectible kaleidoscopes added to the Kaleidostore’s already-inclusive collection and discounts on overnight accommodations at the Emerson Resort & Spa.
I was there before the beginning, when one watched the action (awaiting acid flashbacks, I must say) on beach recliners, as well as later, when new incline seats were installed. It’s time, I’m realizing, to return – and add to my son’s and my home collection of kaleidoscopes.
For further information call (845) 688-5800, visit https://www.kaleidostore.com/largest.htm or just head out Route 28 into the central Catskills, looking for that great silo and huge resort nestled by the Esopus, the mountains rising warmly around it.