[Marxism] Fwd: Chester’s Zumbarg | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Dec 7 11:53:01 MST 2015
Yesterday’s NY Times Sunday Book Review had an article on Stephen M.
Silverman and Raphael D. Silver’s “The Catskills: its history and how it
changed America”. As someone who grew up in the southern Catskills in
the so-called Borscht Belt and who went to college in
Annandale-on-Hudson in the northern Catskills, the region has been a big
influence on my life.
I had the good fortune to attend a talk by Stephen M. Silverman at a
Barnes and Noble on the Upper West Side just after the book came out.
The audience, like me, came mostly for what he would say about the
Borscht Belt. Many had memories of going “to the mountains” in the 1950s
when it was still a vibrant resort area.
When I was in high school I had heard about a hotel called Chester’s
that had a reputation for being leftist and culturally advanced,
featuring string quartets rather than Mambo bands. I never made it over
there but was keenly aware that it existed. As I have mentioned in my
comic book memoir, there was a leftist underground in the Borscht Belt
in the 1950s that had certain hotels and bungalow colonies as part of
its “liberated territory”.
Michael Elias is one of the people who knew Chester’s well. Five years
older than me, he was the son of a leftist physician in South
Fallsburgh, a nearby town. Michael made it out to Hollywood after
graduating college and became a very successful director and
screenwriter with films like “The Jerk” to his credit. I had a brief
chat with Michael about 20 years ago on a trip out to tinseltown but
never had any idea that he was a red diaper baby.
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