During the heyday of the Borscht Belt, Monticello had about 65 hotels and 133 bungalow colonies. Kutscher's Country Club was known for its sports and entertainment scene. It hosted Muhammad Ali, while additional boxers trained at other hotels. Wilt Chamberlain worked as a bellhop while playing on the hotel's basketball team before rising to NBA fame. Kutsher's also presented famous entertainers on its stage such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Jerry Seinfeld, Billy Crystal and Joan Rivers. Kutscher's was the longest running resort in the Borscht Belt, closing in 2013. The Laurel's Hotel and the Country Club was for a time, the largest hotel in Sullivan County. It was a popular spot for singles and held the world's record for the largest steel swimming pool. The hotel was operated by the Novack family who also built the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. Other notable Monticello destinations were Esther Manor, Lewinters Bungalow Colony, and the Delano Hotel.
( back ) From the 1920s through the early 1970s, the Borscht Belt was the preeminent summer resort destination for hundreds of thousands of predominantly east coast American Jews. The exclusion of the Jewish community from existing establishments in the 1920s drove Jewish entrepreneurs to create over 500 resorts, 50,000 bungalows and 1,000 rooming houses in Sullivan County and parts of Ulster County. The Borscht Belt provided a sense of community for working and vacationing Jews. The era exerted a strong influence on American culture, particularly in the realm of entertainment, music, and sports. Some of the most well-known and influential people of the 20th century worked and vacationed in the areas. Beginning around 1960, the Borscht Belt began a gradual demise due to many factors including the growth of suburbia, inexpensive airfare and generation changes.