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Preview — Catskill Culture by Phil Brown. Catskills of Sullivan was build by New Yorkers who wanted mountain air, good food, and a Jewish environment.

Memories of The Catskills -- Part 1 of 4

By the s, this Eden of bungalow colonies, summer camps, and over hotels had attracted over a million people a year. This book recounts the life of guests, staff, resort owners, entertainers, and local residents. Paperback , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Catskill Culture , please sign up.

Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. I found this to be a wonderful bit of history of New York that most people would never know about. This definately was a book of nostalgia for the author yet he managed to not make it too biased and balanced out various perspectives. It makes me think about my own childhood, though it was not too long ago, and place more significance in the memories. Through this book he managed to display several changes of generations and display priorities of each.

It was a lot of information and even more so I found this to be a wonderful bit of history of New York that most people would never know about. It was a lot of information and even more soul. Jun 18, K. Katzmann rated it liked it Recommends it for: New York descended Jews, historical researchers. If I'm going to murder a half dozen people somewhere, I better understand that place. So, given that I'm working on an upcoming book set in a bungalow colony, I picked this one up.

The Jewish Catskills were an interesting phenomena where New York Jews settled the mountains and filled them with summer resorts.

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The author did a lot of work in his younger years in the area, so he's got a feel for the h Rule 1: The author did a lot of work in his younger years in the area, so he's got a feel for the history, culture, and atmosphere. It wasn't entirely what I needed, but I don't fault Brown for that. His youth was spent in the hotels, and detail on them peppered with funny anecdotes make up the majority of the book.

One chapter focused on the bungalow colonies, weird little clusters of cabins rented for months on end. Still, I got what I needed. I admit, this is a pretty niche slice of history, but if you need a book on it, this one was funny and extremely well-researched. I'm going to try "Borscht Belt Bungalows" next; it seems to have some more of the seedy side of things.

Then I'm going to sit down at the word processor and kill about a half-dozen teenagers in the woods over a knish. Feb 14, Susan Grodsky rated it liked it. I began reading this book by pure chance. I was in the library, rushing to pick up my holds from the designated shelf, when I noticed this title, abandoned on a table.

Intrigued, I picked it up and took it home, without even looking inside. Yes, people certainly do judge a book by its cover. So maybe I can't complain that this wasn't the book I hoped it to be. It's a memoir and not the socio-historical study I wanted.

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Although Brown doesn't present the story in a well organized and chronological I began reading this book by pure chance. Although Brown doesn't present the story in a well organized and chronological way, I was able to perceive that outlines of borscht belt history. It seems that the first Jewish residents of Sullivan and Ulster Counties were farmers operating dairy and egg farms. During the summers, the farmers took in boarders, renting out a spare room or so. These boarders evolved into "kuchalyns" -- "cook alones".

Boarders cooked for themselves, no doubt using produce from the farm.

Catskill Memories

Then came the bungalow colonies and, more or less synchronously, the hotels. I remember visiting a cousin at her family's bungalow in "the Laurentians" north of Montreal. So now we are in the s or so, the golden age of the borscht belt.


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Here is where Brown's sociological analysis skills should come to the fore, telling us who came to which places, for how long, what they ate, what they discussed, how much they paid. What music they played.

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A ritual in the Catskills was the serving of rib steak on Sunday. Some hotels served it for lunch so the customers leaving had a great meal to remember when going home.

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Others served it for dinner so the new customers should have a great meal coming in. Kutsher's served it for dinner. The waitress I was dating saved me one for late night snacks. I went up in the summer of the late 60's as a teenager, little to know how Kutsher's would ultimately change my life. At the beginning of the summer season it happened. I had just finished serving lunch on a Friday, for those guests that had shown up early for check in. For some reason, fate had drawn me up to the Kutsher's lobby and there she was. A beautiful tall, thin, gorgeous red head.

Her hair draped silly down all the way below her waist. Call it love at first sight! I timidly walked up to her and introduced myself. She responded to me. I felt electricity pulsating through my every fiber.

She was going to be on staff. She was hired to be the assistant hostess to Phil Kugel and Joan Schauer who ran the night club. We became an 'us'. We worked that entire summer. I worked from 7 AM in the morning until 9 PM each night. She worked from 9 PM at night until AM in the morning. There were the nightly show with singers and borscht belt comedians-- Freddy Roman, Mal Z.

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After working all day, I would hang out at the night club to be near her. Usually working as a bar waiter bringing drinks to the tables during the shows. We were wed, November 22, Phil Kugel gave us a dining room server which we recovered and made into a bar for our first apartment. We still continued to work our regular jobs and worked weekends at Kutsher's. But now as man and wife, I got to stay at her bungalow room, across from the main entrance. Thank you Kutsher's for being such an integral part of my life! Thanks to you, I met the girl of my dreams and made a life together.

Our grandchildren will never be able to experience the warmth and innocence we derived. We were broken-hearted to hear about your demise. Kutsher's will live on in our hearts and memories. I spoke with Celia and her daughter Valerie and it has been bringing up old memories, as I have begun to go thru many of hundreds literally of videos I have from the rink.

I don't think I ever missed skating or taping a show and practice.