Exploring the ghosts of the famed Borscht Belt

I’M walking on sodden carpets which in their prime had cost a pretty penny, and crunching shattered glass beneath my feet.

Ahead of me is the ghostly skeleton of a hotel front desk.

There, stars like Joan Rivers, Barbra Streisand, Jackie Mason, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen, Rocky Marciano, Eddie Fisher, Danny Kaye, Mel Brooks and Jerry Seinfeld, to name but a few, might once well have checked in.

I imagine the throngs of American Jewry’s great and good congregating in the vast lobby, finalising business deals, planning that day’s round of golf, or just shmoozing amid the whiff of expensive cigars and of their immaculately coiffed wives’ Chanel No 5.

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