If so, the newly launched Borscht Belt Historical Marker Project features a self-guided audio tour with a QR code for this region in upstate New York. If you happen to be hitchhiking (not recommended), there’s a tune from the film Catskill Honeymoon (1950, in Yiddish and English) headlining Hy Jacobson’s Yiddish-American Musical Revue.
This restored film, shot at Young’s Gap Hotel in Parksville, New York, belongs to the G. William Jones Film & Video Collection, Hamon Arts Library. It was recently licensed to the marker project. In 2011, the film was restored through funding from the NFPF (National Film Preservation Foundation). Jones curators, Jeremy Spracklen and Scott Martin, are also planning a new restoration.
According to Marisa Scheinfeld, Director for the Borscht Belt Historical Marker Project, the mission “is to create, preserve and designate places important the Borscht Belt’s vibrant history while considering the era’s impact on American Jewish life, New York State history, the legacy of the Catskills and its wider impact on American culture and entertainment.” Each marker tells a different story of its locale, leading to extended stories and media, all combined into the audio driving tour.
Marisa Scheinfeld is a photographer who co-authored and provided photography in a book on this region’s history. The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland is available online through SMU Libraries.
Blog post: Jolene de Verges, Director, Hamon Arts Library