web analytics
September 18, 2014 / 23 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 beheading of British aid worker David Haines, Sept. 14, 2014. The terrorist standing beside him threatened that his fellow British aid volunteer, Alan Henning, would be next if UK Prime Minister David Cameron doesn't relinquish his support for the fight against ISIS.
British Muslims Plead for ISIS to Free Captive Alan Henning
Latest News Stories
The beheading of British aid worker David Haines, Sept. 14, 2014. The terrorist standing beside him threatened that his fellow British aid volunteer, Alan Henning, would be next if UK Prime Minister David Cameron doesn't relinquish his support for the fight against ISIS.

UK Muslims are calling on ISIS to release British aid volunteer Alan Henning, whose life is now threatened by the group.

Axe confiscated from Arab terrorist suspect by Border Police officers who were operating near Beit Jala on Sept. 18, 2014.

Border Police officers blocked an axe-toting Arab man from carrying out a terror attack near Jerusalem.

A home was damaged in a Qassam rocket barrage from Gaza on Friday, August 8, 2014. Miraculously, no one was in the house at the time.

A Code Red incoming rocket alert was sounded for Gaza Belt and Ashkelon Coastal communities.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz.

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz says former Pres. Bill Clinton is wrong about PM Netanyahu.

A massive sting operation hauled in 15 suspects and foiled a plot by ISIS to hold a public beheading in Australia.

A 3-hour strike at Ben Gurion International Airport at check-in counters has delayed thousands.

Have you seen Menachem Bodner’s twin brother Jeno, or Jolli Gottesman? He’s out there.

Iran scorns as “ridiculous” a US-led anti-ISIS coalition without boots on the ground.

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

Hamas claimed one of the bank’s clients owed them taxes…

Reports from Lebanon say that Israeli Air Force planes flew over the Marjayoun area in Lebanon, launching flares.

Despite previous claims, Hamas now denies they arrested any rocket crews. So, who do we believe?

Western Wall’s employees, remove thousands of handwritten notes placed between the ancient stones of the Kotel, the Western Wall, Judaism’s second holiest site, in the Old City of Jerusalem. The operation is carried out twice each year: before the Passover festival in the spring and at the Jewish New Year in the fall. The prayer […]

A memorial event with a special photo exhibition honoring the late Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon took place on Monday.

The location of the gas chambers at the notorious Sobibor death camp has been revealed, Yad Vashem announced Wednesday.

More Articles from Lori Lowenthal Marcus
The security guard tried to bar Jews from the store, but instead the security guard was barred.

British sports store fired security guard who barred Jewish kids from entering the store.

Arameans are now recognized as a distinct nationality in Israel.

Naftali Frenkel’s mother’s message for Rosh HaShana is for the Jewish people to remain united, as one family.

ISIS released a slick trailer warning Obama that the “Flames of War” are “coming soon.”

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

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.

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: