web analytics
September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Apartment 758x530 Africa-Israel at the Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York

Africa Israel Residences, part of the Africa Israel Investments Group led by international businessman Lev Leviev, will present 7 leading projects on the The Israel Real Estate Exhibition in New York on Sep 14-15, 2014.



Forget the Borscht Belt – Go to Monticello, THE Bagel Capital!

Monticello, NY is staging a comeback as The Bagel Capital with a Bagel Festival Aug. 16 - 17 - this effort is the model for how to revive a comatose resort town
The Borscht Belt turns into the Bagel Belt on August, 17, 2013

The Borscht Belt turns into the Bagel Belt on August, 17, 2013

This weekend, if you travel to Monticello, New York, you may see the awakening of a long-slumbering Catskill Mountains native.  It is a positive spin on the Rip Van Winkle tale, which was set in the region, but this one has an ethnic Jewish twist, Monticello’s First Annual Bagel Festival.

In the heyday of the Catskill Mountains – the 1950′s and ’60′s, Monticello, New York swelled from the year-round resident population of approximately 5,000, to upwards of 15,000 during the summers.

The primary boost to the population boom was from area bungalow colonies, the area’s famous hotels and sleep-over camps. The setting was gorgeous: rolling hills, clear, clean rivers and lakes, cool mountain temperatures and only a 90 minute drive from its feeder: New York City.

But over the past 40 years the entire Catskill Mountain region has suffered through very hard times. What was once a bustling Broadway, Monticello’s thoroughfare, has more shuttered shops than ones open for business.  Of the famous hotels, the Concord, Grossingers, Kutshers and the Nevele, only Kutshers is still operating, and it is a dessicated shadow of its former self.

Monticello is the county seat of Sullivan County. Sullivan has the sad distinction of being the county with the highest unemployment and largest consumer of social service benefits of any county in New York State.

But the slumbering former tourist attraction is stirring, and efforts are under way to bring back visitors to this still largely bucolic, picturesque destination.

And when there is a will, there’s a way.  And Monticello has enormous will in the person of native son Jeff Siegel and his colleagues on the Monticello Business Association.

In a long interview with The Jewish Press, Siegel explained how Monticello is pulling itself up by its boot straps, and is using its newly minted status as “The Bagel Capital” and its Bagel Festival this coming weekend, August 16 – 17, to put the Bagel Belt on the map.

Read this carefully, because it is practically a guide for how to revive sagging towns.

First, the town’s representatives went to the local governments, and eventually on to the New York state legislature, and succeeded in having the township, the county and the State of New York approve their respective Resolutions naming Monticello as “the Bagel capital.”

“Of what?” The Jewish Press asked.

“I don’t care what you put in after ‘capital,’ that’s your choice.  But Monticello is the capital,” Siegel said.

It was not entirely arbitrary.  Not only has Monticello’s Bagel Bakery been a fixture on Broadway for more than 50 years, but the man who obtained the patent for the first “Dough Kneading Machine for the Forming of a Bagel and the Like,” Louis (Label) Wichinsky, is from the area.

Then, armed with the Resolution and their own certified authentic historic connection to bagels, Siegel and his friends spent the next year and a half preparing for the Bagel Festival.

In addition to the many vendors and a parade, in keeping with the theme, there will be all kinds of bagel “firsts, biggests and bests.”There are a few real highlights, all of which are testaments to the ingenuity of the team behind Monticello’s First Annual Bagel Festival. (As Siegel told The Jewish Press – there’s no “i” in “team.”)

There will be an effort – one likely to succeed – to create the world’s longest bagel chain, ditto success likelihood for the creation of the world’s “largest tie-dye peace sign bagel.”  This latter is a nod to another of the area’s historic milestones: the Woodstock Festival took place exactly 44 years ago in Bethel, a stone’s throw from downtown Monticello.

There is also an author, coming from California, of the book, “The Psychology of Bagels.”

Of course all kinds of bagels – ones you might want to eat, and ones you might want to just marvel at – will be available during the festival.

The festival will kick-off Friday evening, from 7:00 until midnight.  There will be comedians, live music, and a special drink – the Bageltini – will be served.  There is a charge for Friday evening’s festivities, but no entrance fee the next day.  See the schedule, but some highlights include a bagel triathalon, spin art bagels, more live music, and lots of children’s activities, in addition to many vendors booths, including local farm goods, jewelry, representatives from Sullivan County Community College, and a local beekeeper.  Chefs will be paired with local farmers to showcase various locally grown produce.

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the US correspondent for The Jewish Press. She is a recovered lawyer who previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

8 Responses to “Forget the Borscht Belt – Go to Monticello, THE Bagel Capital!”

  1. WHERE IN MONTICELLO?

  2. Lori Lowenthal Marcus says:

    Right on Broadway – go to the Bagel Festival link in the story, it will take you to the website for the Festival.

  3. Keengz Plaza says:

    Oy gevalt? I vant a bialy vith cream cheese. I guess this is the closest I could get to Jewish foods as Kaplan's Delicattessen closed many years ago.

  4. Keengz Plaza says:

    Vat about some cheese bilintzes? How about some noodle pudding or potato pudding? Zo gut.

  5. Alan Kesten says:

    But you didn't tell readers that Lori Lowenthal grew up in Monticello! IT WAS A FANTASTIC DAY! Great weather, GREAT PEOPLE! Thank you Lori!

  6. I was there for a little while on Saturday…looked like there was a great turnout! Who knew!

  7. Jbernie Jones says:

    Yea, and the only time I got to see Monticello was when I passed through driving OTR in my truck!

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The Iron Dome was called on for the first time in 2013 to intercept a missile fired by terrorists in Sinai at Eilat.
Iron Dome: Israel Ends the Long Battlefield Reign of the Missile
Latest News Stories
Ben Gurion Tower Top

They’re building a new observation tower at Ben Gurion International Airport. This is the view, and what it looks like.

Golani Rifle and Pistol Club safety training class.

A dozen rabbis and a Jewish gun club are extremely critical of the position on gun control taken by the RCA and the OU.

rocketpopmap12009

The IDF has confirmed that a rocket was launched from Gaza at approximately 6:30pm on Tuesday.

Arsonists set fire to a Brussels synagogue on Tuesday, that was previously firebombed in 2010, but Jewish officials are not ready to declare the incident as anti-Semitic. The wife and two children of the synagogue’s caretaker, who was not present at the time of the arson, suffered slight smoke inhalation after the fire broke out […]

If you don’t live in Israel, at least ‘Buy Israel.”

The higher rate is good news for Israelis with dollar accounts and for U.S. tourists.

A guide at the Gush Etzion Zoo (bet you didn’t there was one of those in Gush Etzion) explains to Junior High School students how to extract the ram horn shell after it dried, and eventually make it into a shofar, on September 15, 2014.

“Jewish teams’ are more proud to win than proud to be Jewish.

A prison inmate on death row in Connecticut is demanding kosher food, though he’s not really Jewish.

There were reports that ISIS shot down a Syrian regime’s war plane over its “capital,” Raqqa.

An eight year old boy was struck and killed in a parking lot by a school bus Tuesday at Kibbutz Kfar Menachem.

A new cancer treatment to fight metastatic melanoma, Keytruda, has been approved by the FDA.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid refuses to raise taxes and won’t let defense budget demands turn into a ‘Turkish bazaar.’

Turkey has offered to host the Egyptian leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood after their eviction from Qatar.

Israel is cracking down on Arab attackers determined to harm Jews in Jerusalem and around the country.

For the first time, US warplanes bombed ISIS terrorists near Baghdad in support of Iraqi troops.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
Posters of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. A Syrian war plane crashed while carrying out strikes against ISIS on Sept. 16, 2014.

There were reports that ISIS shot down a Syrian regime’s war plane over its “capital,” Raqqa.

A scene from the opera "Death of Klinghoffer." Protests at Lincoln Center start Sept. 22, at 4:30.

The Met’s upcoming opera trivializes the murder of Jews, pretends Jews have no connection to Israel, and portrays terrorists as victims.

Since March, there have been repeated acts of anti-Semitic vandalism against Philly’s Jewish sites and institutions.

On the Gaza border, Soroka treated hundreds of wounded soldiers and moved its entire NICU to a shelter during OPE.

Qatar’s horror of legitimizing Israel’s existence extends to even listing its name for TV sports purposes.

Sen. Ted Cruz walks out on a Christian audience which booed his support for Israel.

It’s a cliché, but nonetheless true that 9/11 changed my life. There is evil in the world. Our grandparents were right.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has now morphed into a #BurnISISFlagChallenge.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/forget-the-borscht-belt-go-to-monticello-the-bagel-capital/2013/08/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: