Leon Panetta, Doomsday Cabin Salesman

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This ad appeared on page 15 of Sunday’s New York Times. In stark terms, using a recent comment by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, it warns of impending cataclysm. It urges New York City readers to prepare for doom…by buying a cabin in the Catskills, “located less than two hours from New York City.”

The website linked to the ad features cabins familiar to those of you who have seen Dirty Dancing. “The Catskills are the perfect location for small communities of cabins in which people can ride out the coming storm,” it says. “When disaster strikes, you can reach your cabin easily.” Shades of the late 1950s-early 1960s’ fallout-shelter craze, even if your cabin isn’t exactly in your back yard.

“The moment catastrophe overtakes New York City, while others are in panic mode, unable to decide what to do, you will know that your family’s needs are completely taken care of,” says on its website (which lacks anyone’s name, or the price of any of its “cozy warm luxury cabins”).

The website continues:

At Prepare and Protect NYC we make sure that you have everything you need to come out the other side of whatever hits. Food and clothing are stockpiled for you. Seeds and equipment are in storage for vegetable and fruit farming. Everything necessary for hunting and fishing is available.


The community is located on a private, secluded retreat with gorgeous scenery, abundant excellent hunting, fishing and gardening. Prepare and Protect NYC is a remote yet acessible getaway provided with generators, wood heat with propane backup. Cabins have wood burning cookstoves for preparing meals. There is plenty of pasture land and forested areas for horses and livestock. In addition to gasoline generators, we will have solar and wind power to guarantee electric power for the entire community. The premises are very private and quiet…

Our cabins are safe houses in the Catskills. We provide our clients with:


Aquaculture – Not only will be be breeding fish for food purposes but we also have a stream on the property with an abundance of wild fish to augment our bred stock.

Hydroponic gardens with vegetables

An initial three month supply of nonperishable food for each family. Then, every three months during the first year (unless world events make it impossible), more food is added for each family until every family has 12 months of nonperishable food put aside.

Around the clock security

And don’t fret about the source of that security. There’s a wonderful grace note at the bottom of the ad, offering “free cabins” to “emergency room physicians, military medics, former Navy seals and other special operations servicemen and women, and former elite Israeli soldiers in exchange for their expertise in providing medical and security services for the community.”

Former elite Israeli soldiers? What, the British SAS aren’t good enough? Sure, many of Israel’s co-religionists have enjoyed summer vacations in the Catskills for generations. The reporter in Battleland fears the advertisement is real. The American in him hopes it’s a Woody Allen stunt.