My Brighton Beach

Brooklyn Neighborhood Doesn't Deserve Russian Disdain

Fur in Spring: Russian women lounge on Brighton Beach’s boardwalk.
Ari Jankelowitz
Fur in Spring: Russian women lounge on Brighton Beach’s boardwalk.

By Samantha Shokin

Published April 22, 2014, issue of April 25, 2014.
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Even so, the heart of Brighton Beach remains ethnically homogenous, and will for a long time to come. The area is too far from the city to attract the type of urban gentrification that swept over Williamsburg and Greenpoint, and its residents prefer to keep it that way. And though I’m happy to no longer call Brighton home, every once in awhile, on warm nights when I know the air on the beach is pleasant, when I get an oddly specific craving for Plombir ice cream, or miss the sounds of old ladies gossiping about torrid affairs in their native Russian, I’ll stop by for a visit. I’ll visit, and remember exactly why Brighton is so unique in the first place: not because it is wholly Russian or Soviet or American, but because it is all those things, and none of those things, all at once.

Samantha Shokin is an essayist living in Brooklyn. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, the Village Voice and Tablet. Find her on Twitter @SamShokin, and on samshokin.com


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