As the term borscht implies, the people who worked and stayed in the hotels and bungalow colonies were almost all Jews. The “fall” in the title of Davis’s film refers to the tourist industry collapsing after Jews became wealthier and more assimilated. After moving from the garment industry cutting rooms to accounting firms, they could now afford vacations in Puerto Rico and no longer felt the need to be in a hotel that served kosher food.The Rise and Fall of the Borscht Belt, a 1986 documentary by Peter Davis on the famous Jewish-American holiday resorts of the Catskills, has been put online by Louis Proyect.
Grossinger's Hotel used to be one of the most popular resorts in the Catskill region of New York State. The resort served as a playing ground for the famous stars of the time like Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Robinson. But, like most things, its popularity faded and by 1986 it closed its doors forever. It has remained abandoned ever since. (Buzzfeed, Now and Then photos)
"One of the largest and most beguiling works of art on the entire continent." So said Brendan Gill In the March 1989 edition of Architectural Digest. What was he describing? This place. [more inside]
Mystery Solved. Somewhere in the Catskill Mountains, two nature filmmakers are busy shooting a documentary on rabbits in their natural habitat. In the morning dew they are about to meet something considerably bigger than a rabbit... [Flash and safe for work]