A Catskill Carnival: My Borscht Belt Life Lived, Lost and Loved

If you think you know the Borscht Belt Catskills, think again.
Dirty Dancing and Mrs. Maisel are fun but they’re fiction. Bart Charlow, born a “Hotel Brat”, lifts the curtains on a rollicking era that they missed.

Most books focus on the glamour of the era. A Catskill Carnival takes you behind the scenes, where life was tough, turbulent, and alternately warm and hard. This is the real Borscht Belt, told by a 3rd generation insider with no illusions.

“We were carnies – carnival people – only we didn’t move the tents.
That’s the Borscht Belt in a nutshell, and we were the chief nuts.”
It’s actually a different kind of love story. How one hotel brat went from ambivalence to appreciation to passion over a lifetime.

Set during the Golden Era of the Borscht Belt, Carnival tells you how it flourished and faltered, how it felt to watch the life you knew and your livelihood fall apart, and how to pick it all up again in new ways.

The dying embers of a life that was never before and will never be again.

And it’s all REAL.