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Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Remembering the Catskill resorts
Five Towners share their memories of ‘Borscht Belt’ summers
Courtesy Jackie Spector Linder
North Woodmere resident Jackie Spector Linder was both a guest and employee at Kutsher’s Hotel and Country Club. From left were dining room hostess Linder, maitre d’ Abe Barrish, dining room captain Sylvia Lewis, assistant maitre d’ Bruce Aymes and dining room hostess Terry during the summer of 1982.

Beginning in the 1920s with a heyday of the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, the Catskill Mountains were home to many resorts, country clubs and camps that catered to a mainly Jewish population. So much so that the area in Sullivan County was called the Jewish Alps. The many performers who entertained there were called “Borscht Belt” comedians; named for the popular food dish.
All of the places are gone now — Kutsher’s Hotel and Country Club was demolished earlier this year — Brickman’s, Browns Hotel, The Concord, Friar Tuck Inn, Gibber’s, Gilbert’s Grossinger’s, Granit, the Heiden Hotel, Irvington, the Nevele, The Laurels Hotel and Country Club, The Pines Resort, Raleigh, Silverman’s River View Hotel, Stevensville, Stiers, Tamarack Lodge, the Windsor and the Woodbine Hotel.
Several Five Towns natives and current residents remember those days as if they were yesterday. For many it was a time of maturity and great fun.

Jackie Spector Linder

Linder, 51, lived in North Woodmere Hewlett Neck, began going to Kutsher’s when she was 7. “I vacationed with my family at Kutsher’s throughout my childhood, and then began working there in the summer of 1980 in the main office/check-in desk under Helen Kutsher. I worked for Helen for two summers, and then became [a] dining room hostess for the summer of 1982.
“I won my first trophy at Kutsher’s Day Camp; I had my first real job at Kutsher’s and learned a lifetime of lessons from the incredible Helen Kutsher, and I had the joy of bringing my daughters to the hotel as guests. I grew up there and shared endless happy moments, vacations, laughs and I learned important life lessons that will stay will me forever. The Catskills were a safe and magical place, and I am grateful to have the memories.”

Larry Parker
North Woodmere resident Parker, who describes his age as “60-plus,” spent nearly four decades of his life at Kutsher’s. “I had 35 years of affiliation with Kutsher’s Country Club and I was the co-director of their popular sleepaway camp, Camp Anawana. I worked my way up the ranks from camper to counselor, group leader and head counselor.

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