Borscht Belt marker project proposed

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MONTICELLO – The Catskills region of New York was known in the early to mid-1900s as the Borscht Belt, in honor of the cold beet soup often enjoyed by members of the Jewish community.

The Sullivan-Ulster County area was also known as the Jewish Alps as New York City residents would spend vacations and summers “in the mountains.”

To commemorate that era, the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation would like to install 10 to 15 historic markers in Sullivan County to tell the story of that age when there were 50,000 bungalows and 500 hotels in the region, said Marissa Scheinfeld, project founder.

“Standup comedy was created in the Catskills. We will also show markers that talk about the important dignitaries, big figures that came through Sullivan County such as Golda Meier, Martin Luther King, the Roosevelts,” she said. “Some markers will speak about Catskill history and sports, which had a huge lineage in the area.”

Scheinfeld said the purpose of the markers will be to promote tourism, education and history of the region.

The group hopes to roll out the first four markers by next spring.