Share Your Story
SHARE YOUR STORY
Like many people, the fondest memories of my youth take place in the Borscht Belt. The picture above was taken at Kutsher's in the mid-to-late 1980s, shortly after my parents, sister and I moved from Brooklyn to Kiamesha Lake, NY.
My Grandpa Jack and I would often take a paddleboat out onto the lake at Kutsher's. I recall seeing fish in the pond and being amazed by their bug-eyes popping in and out of the murky lake. I remember the smell of the lake and also the pungent chlorinated scent of the indoor pool where afterwards I would swim around like those pond-fish with my grandmother, Ruth. I remember learning to play pool, but never being very good, and pumping quarter after quarter into the Indiana Jones video game in the game room. I remember my family, youthful and happy.
I went back to Kutsher's in July of 2014 to photograph what remained of the hotel and afterwards, while driving down Broadway in Monticello, I felt an tremendous sense of sadness and loss. Among all of the shoots I have done for this project and the various hotels and bungalow colonies I have visited (or revisited), Kutsher's played on my heartstrings more than I ever anticipated that it could. I still have not fully digested the emotions that I felt when I went back to the hotel - feelings that wavered somewhere between the place of devastation to that of utter bewilderment. Surrounded by bulldozers and construction equipment - the hotel, carcass like and in a state that seemed like light years way from its former glory as I knew it. Kutsher's was slowly but surely being demolished by the hands of people and by time. The act of photography is an act of preservation, whether of a person or a place. It is an undeniable power that the medium possesses -- as a photograph can literally transport us through time, and through them we can become time travelers.
Please feel free to share your Borscht Belt stories (and pictures) with me using the form below. Please note: this form does not allow the uploading of images or documents. If you wish to share your personal Borscht Belt photos via an online link please use the website field. Or you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for more Borscht Belt era photos, ephemera and videos.