NEW YORK (JTA) — Irving Cohen, the maitre d’ at the popular Concord Hotel in the Catskills for 50 years, died in Florida at 95.
Cohen, who started working as a waiter at the Concord in the late 1930s and stayed there until the resort shut down in 1988, died Oct. 1 at his home in Boca Raton, The New York Times reported.
He was known at the hotel as “King Cupid” for being the unofficial matchmaker. Many Jewish guests came to the Concord year after year to find a suitable spouse, and Cohen devised a seating system using a pegboard and colorful pins to place girls and boys next to each other, according to the Boca Raton News.
“The dining room was the place to meet other people, and for many it was the main attraction,” he told Boca Life in 1999. The paper described him as a warm, endearing personality with a quick wit who introduced some 10,000 couples to each other, resulting in more than 100 marriages.
The Concord was a hotspot for Jewish guests after the turn of the 20th century. The Catskills, in upstate New York, became known as the Borscht Belt after many Jewish residents settled in New York City and built guesthouses, inns and hotels as getaways.
Cohen was born in 1917 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He worked as busboy at Grossinger’s, another Catskills hotel resort, after graduating from the area’s Seward Park High School, according to The New York Times.