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Borscht Belt History Marker Project sees new addition

Vincent Kurzrock
Posted 6/18/24

The Borscht Belt Historical Marker dedication to honor Kiamesha Lake’s Borscht Belt history at the Adler Hotel took place Thursday afternoon.

Leading the ceremony was Marisa Scheinfeld who …

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Borscht Belt History Marker Project sees new addition


The Borscht Belt Historical Marker dedication to honor Kiamesha Lake’s Borscht Belt history at the Adler Hotel took place Thursday afternoon.

Leading the ceremony was Marisa Scheinfeld who co-founded the Borscht Belt Historical Marker Project and is also a photographer of the Project. This is the sixth Historical Marker in a projected trail of 20.

Schienfeld describes each Marker as an emblem that cements and solidifies a place of “refuge and renaissance”.

“Having grown up in Sullivan County, I’ve always felt that the Borscht Belt is a story that needs to be told,” explained Scheinfeld. “For me, this project is a labor of love about the land that I love.”

Scheinfeld and her team are grateful for the support that this project has gotten, as well as all the attendees that came to the event. She also thanked Jerry Klinger and the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation which funds every single one of their Markers.

“This night is a lot about photography, and if you’ve seen my photography on the Borscht Belt, it’s very melancholic,” described Scheinfeld.

Kiamesha Lake is estimated by Scheinfeld to have had 22 hotels and 25 bungalow colonies, which she attributed to a long and illustrious history.

Present at the event were members the Parker Family who owned the Concord Hotel, family members from the Gibber Hotel, and descendents of the summertime haven known as the “Breezy Corners Bungalow Colony”.

Scheinfeld noted that Rabbi Everett Gendler once invited Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to give a keynote speech at the Concord’s Imperial Room. This would be 10 days before his assassination in 1968.

Inside the Adler’s lobby, a slideshow of 200 photographs were presented made by photgraphers and their families. The slideshow was projected around the bar area as well as an area further back with a couch.

“It will transport you through a portal to a place that I can only call the ‘Lost city of Atlantis’,” described Scheinfeld, “Make no mistake, the Borscht Belt was living art.”

Her partner Isaac Jeffreys stated that he was “so thrilled” to be working with her on the Marker Project. He’s been seeing her work since he was fifteen to sixteen years old and felt that Scheinfeld brought the Borscht Belt back into the public’s view with her book published in 2013.

“[I like that Marisa’s speech was about art because] I photograph the Borscht Belt at night primarily,” explained Jeffreys. “That’s what I spent the last three to five years doing, and continue to do so whenever I can.”

Jeffreys described that he would go to the field that the Concord existed on and he would feel the energy there and he dreams of the Imperial Room.

“I feel like I have to make up for all the places I never got to photograph [because I never got to photograph that],” explained Jeffreys.

He described Morris Lapidus [who designed the rotunda outside the room] as a very important figure within the Borscht Belt experience.

Lapidus was said to have created the “most iconic buildings of our time” like the Fontainebleau in Miami.

Jeffreys described that with the way the Fontainebleau is celebrated as a mid-century gem, he always wished the Concord, as well as other hotels in the area would get that same recognition.

The speakers for the event included Jimmy Parker [a member of the family who ran the Concord], Cheryl Cashin [Granddaughter of Edith and Sam Miller, Owners of Breezy Corners Bungalow Colony], Dean Tamar Gendler [Daughter of Rabbi Everett Gendler], and Lori Glauberman, [Daughter of Harold & Marilyn Gibber & Granddaughter of Abe & Rose Gibber].

The Borscht Belt Historical Marker Project’s next event will be “A Happening in Hurleyville” taking place on Sunday, July 21st.

“We are thrilled to have dedicated our 6th historic marker at Resorts World to honor the history of Kiamesha Lake. The evening brought out so many faces of friends new and old — all who came to share the joy that was the Borscht Belt,“ stated Scheinfeld. “One of the things that made the Borscht Belt so special was the sense of community it offered. This project brings that feeling back, even if only for a night - and our markers further cement the era’s profound legacy ensuring the millions of memories and histories will forever remain.”

“As a young adult admittedly obsessed with hotels like The Concord, being able to honor a hotel of such magnitude, such grandeur, with such trailblazing qualities—is beyond my wildest imaginations.” said Jeffreys, “I’m glad to see the hotels of The Borscht Belt finally getting recognized for their influence on the American vacation experience. It’s been a long time coming and I’m beyond honored to work with such an amazing team and meet so many people that made this era what it was. It warms my heart and inspires me eternally.”


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