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Sizzling, its summer in the city it could be oppressive and back in the early 20th century, down right deadly. tuberculosis was a big fear and people seem to think that, if they were in the country they'd get that in milk and fresher air and that they'd would protect themselves from disease and save their health and get out of the hot city. Working class families couldnt afford wide varandas and graceful lawns of fancy country hotels and some encountered other more insidious obstacles, like racism. Excluded from many main stream vacation spots a large number of Jews and African Americans had to carve out their own vacation destinations The Catskills, the Jewish Alps, the Borscht Belt, a 250 square mile stretch of furry green country, just northwest of New York city. An oasis for east coast Jews of all classes. The golden era of the Catskills, a period roughly spaced between the 40's and the 60's is best known for its famous resort hotels, nearly a thousand of them. Legendary, family run places like Coutures, the Concork, and Grossingers offered much more than clean air and and fresh milk. The all inclusive vacations kept their middle class guests fed, four times a day plus a snack, hence the Catskills culinary nickname, the borscht belt. After the cold Russian beat soup served in abundance, with the customary dollop of sour cream. To keep guests fit and trim in between meals hotels appointed social directors or tumors part masters of ceremony, part court jesters, they served up round the clock entertainment from giant games of Simenon Says to ballroom dance lessons then hotel headliners. The Catskills resorts were a variable farm cap for musicians, singers, band leaders and comics. Performers like Jerry Lous, Milton Burro, and Joey Bishop frequented the nightclub circuit. But many families couldnt afford the resort hotel experience, enters the hotels lowly neighbor. By the early 20th century porches are going to boarding houses in the Catskills, that were originally farm houses and those farmers realized that tourists were a better crop then cows a more profitable crop and, and these would not have been restful places, these were often houses built to house 5 or 6 and there would be 30 people or more staying there a community of modest wooden shacks sprang up around the main house, the whole thing was called the bungalow colony. The roomer y cottages were more comfortable and more private then the main house but the boarding house was certainly more affordable families on a budget. When I went out to the country with my children we took one room in a big house, we only took that one room cause it was cheaper, it cost us $50 a month, I think it was $50 a month Thats what I remember, $100 for the summer. That was it no meals, no activities, no entertainment, 100 bucks worth of do it yourself vacation but to the Marowits family from Brooklyn New York, that was just fine. And we made are own fun, Ya, and we brought are own tuna fish, right, thats why it was affordable it was not going to the Concord or Grossingers or to a place where people served you meals Every summer in the 1940s and 50s, the Marowits escaped from New York, Ella her song Barry and her daughter Marlyn stayed in the Catskills the entire summer Dad, David Marowits, a short order cook in a Wall Street lunchenet mostly came on weekends. Out of all their fond Catskills memories, getting there was not exactly one of them hours and hours in a car with no air conditioning, filled to the gills with all the necessities of life in a bungalow cottage. We had to bring up are own blankets and sheets and linens and frying pans, cloths to the left, cans, my books, tuna fish, and salmon, pots and pans, are own dishes, it wasnt like it was even comfortable nearly eight hours after leaving Brooklyn the Marowits would arrive in Mountain Dale, the main house one huge kitchen for communal cooking and eating, it was called a cook lane, a yiddish word meaning cook alone, in reality it was just the opposite We shared this big table in the middle of the kitchen and everybody did their cooking their preparing, all in that big big kitchen, one day, I started to make potato pancakes and I would fry it in a big frying pan and everyone that would pass my little stove would take a sample, now by the time I had, have supper, I maybe had about 4 pancakes. Outside the kitchen the fun began, the women would sit for hours playing majoun a popular tile game invented in China. The kids, city kids, not used to all the open land, had the run of the place we used to have are little hiding place and with trees all around us and if was very hot and we didnt feel like going in the pool, we used to go to this little place because it was cool there. All that luxurious space for the kids made shopping a challenge for moms without cars. So with the Catskills bungalows the shopping came to them. Vendors hocking everything from bagels to bathing suits. I think we kids used come running, Yes, Mom the shoe man is here, Mom the fruit man is here the one man made the kids run faster then any old vendor, when the fathers came up we would all get really excited. Every time a car would pull up, with some of the men everybody would run, Maries, Marlyn its your dad, Barbra its, the poor men who came up every weekend spent the entire weekend doing 2 things playing cards and complaining about the trip, all you heard during those card games was it was bumper to bumper from Brooklyn to my bungalow, thats all they spoke about it was bumper to bumper. Along with the fathers weekends meant extra special entertainment, bungalow style, of course the vacationers all chipped in on Saturday nights we brought in the big guys, the big entertainers, one rule was it couldnt be anybody that anybody heard of, and it would be either be a magician I remember a hypnotist once, once I remember a singer coming up I think it was the same guys with different uniforms, Now we enjoyed it it was something different for Saturday night, I think Loui and Betris dead for 30 years, they wont mind me saying their entertainment was terrible. Come Sunday night, it was time for the working dads to get back in their cars all the women would kiss their husbands and we would all cry, and be glad when they went away so

Video Details

Duration: 7 minutes and 49 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Views: 40
Posted by: atrctech on Oct 27, 2011

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