The Catskill Mountains in upstate New York used to be a bustling vacation hub, a destination filled with family-friendly resorts and comedy clubs. Known as The Borscht Belt due to its largely Jewish clientele, the Catskills were a breeding ground for the country’s best comedians — people like Mel Brooks, Sid Caesar, and Joan Rivers came up through the ranks of those resort rooms.
Then, like that, it was gone. Photographer Marisa Schienfeld grew up in the Catskills in the 1980s as the popularity of these resorts was petering out. She had parents who experienced it in its hey-day, and she saw it decay in front of her own eyes. So starting in 2010, she revisited the mountains to photograph what was left of The Borscht Belt.
What started out as a photo series called Echoes of The Borscht Belt is now a book. You can buy Schienfeld’s The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland and see her other work on her website. Schienfeld’s unique perspective allowed her to connect emotionally with what’s left of this great cultural event and cultivate a truly moving series of photographs.