This necklace may either traumatize or delight those of you who spent your summers at resorts in the Catskill Mountains of New York during the 1950s/60s. Those of you who missed all the 'fun' (as reflected in the film 'Dirty Dancing'), please bear with us as we reminisce through teary eyes and roaring laughter.
The Catskills were also known as the Borscht Belt or Jewish Alps. This nickname reflected the hoards of visitors (mostly Jews and immigrant Jews from the New York City area) who escaped the hot city summer for the breezy bungalow colonies and cha-cha heaven haven hotels for the more affluent.
When the men came up from the city on Friday night, the women finally took their metal antennae like rollers out of their hair (kids used to think that WAS their hair). Everyone put on their finest mid-century outfits which are beyond description in this short space. The fuzzy slippers turned into high heel pumps. The hair pomades slicked back hair so no tornado breeze could penetrate it. And off they went to the Clubhouse or the Hotel where, if you were really lucky, Tito Puente would be playing with his band or one of the comedians would be doing his (or her) 'schtick'... "My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met." (Rodney Dangerfield). "Take my wife—please!" (Henny Youngman); "My wife drowned in the pool because she was wearing so much jewelry." (Don Rickles). So a good time was had by all and of course, you wanted to capture the moment.
And there was the photographer at the big hotels...Grossinger's and the Concord. The photog would capture you at your weekly MOST glamorous...the happy couple or hoping to couple. And you'd end up in a little viewer keychain on a necklace on Ruby Lane.
Four of these viewers are of the same couple...different views. They obviously liked to go out. They're quite a handsome couple. The other couple are making their grand entrance. She's holding his hand and he's wearing sunglasses...maybe a blind man out on the town.
The viewers measure 1 inch at wide end by 2 inches long. The photos are quite clear and in color. Two of them are marked with the Hotel name on the side.
The green plastic chain measures 26 inches long. This souvenir-filled necklace is in excellent vintage condition.
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Necklace of Souvenir Viewers from Catskill N.Y. Hotels - Borscht Belt Glamor