The Mecca of Soviet emigration: a report from Brighton Beach

This area of ​​New York, located along the Atlantic coast, has long been a symbol of the "Soviet" emigration. Tens of thousands of our fellow citizens left the former Soviet Union collapsed, to settle on the southern outskirts of Brooklyn, called Brighton Beach. With them they took away the hopes and aspirations for a better life and, paradoxically, canned "scoop", lush color blossomed under bridges clock thundering subway. Brighton, with the accent on the second syllable, affectionately known as the place of residence Russian-speaking immigrants.

It will be about 50 photos and text

Sergei Bodrov The hero of the movie "Brother 2", arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport, knowingly immediately sent to Brighton. The glory of this area went far beyond New York - here as anywhere else America, can be guaranteed to meet the citizens and to solve the first problem of the emigrant. "At first friends, then as a loader at the store," - says a typical way of visiting a taxi driver, and his words are not so far from the truth.


Remember how Daniel buys a car at the Kuibyshev? The cunning Jew forced a sigh of Russia and then "vparivaet" fresh lohu used car, mimicking a sympathetic and a little nostalgic grimace. This short episode of all Brighton: not only its citizens, but also the orders of the early nineties, with love and diligence exported from the "scoop".



However, we are a little exaggerating. In recent years, the promenade in the south of Brooklyn ennobled and fix its image. Now here is the same prestige as in the early years, to have an apartment, and everywhere visible tower cranes, erecting ultra-expensive by world standards property.
Brighton - a very compact area, starting from the entrance sign of the broad lines of Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn piercing through, and ending near the theater Millenium. Between them there is only one stage of the subway, passing here on trestles, under which is the main street of the district. Depart from her short directions to the oceanfront, in blocks which are built more new houses. To bypass all this economy can be unhurried pace for half an hour, and this took up Danila Bagrov, the way that we repeated.



- I came to America, as well as many of the green card, - says our guide today, a former citizen of Minsk and current resident of Brighton Paul Denisevich. - However, once I settled on Staten Island with his uncle.
We are sitting in a cafe "Gambrinus", the interiors of which one in one coincides with a brief episode of the "Brother-2", where Daniel is an intermediary for the sale of machines. The "Gambrinus" can enjoy a glass of "Baltika" and eat "Olivier". The waiters are very often in vests and as one Russian-speaking. I can not hear foreign speech, and among the many visitors.

- I came from the airport with two bags and three "pieces" in his pocket, - says its history, Paul. - No friends, no friends - I did not know anyone in the United States.
Paul, who now call themselves, Paul asks, with some mental stress recalls his first days in America. Without knowledge of the language, without specific plans for the arrangement in a foreign land, he - one of the millions of adventurers, in all times to come to America to start a new life sheet.
- It was a lot of stress, - says our interlocutor. - One week I was sitting and doing nothing, looking around and thinking about the future. Money is melting, so they had to give the "rent" his uncle for a roof over your head ... Then I tried to find a job in a Russian store, where I was offered a stand on the slicer and slice sausage ten hours a day.
Get into Belarus' aytishnoe "Education, Gender disappointed and even contemplated leaving the US back. But the happiness turned up ad for the employee in the position of photoshop webmasters. As a result, with him our former compatriot totally tied three and a half years of her life, raising the level of language not only from the school level, but also knowledge of the new country.

- I have to some extent lucky - continues Paul. - I as a developer must be in silence, but the company was small, we had just opened, and in the same room with me was a sales manager who is constantly yelling into the phone. Involuntarily a few months, I learned the language, became available to him to talk and understand Americans.
In numerous stories of our compatriots can be heard almost the same reasons for the change of country of residence: prosperity, "the American dream", self-realization ... The former Minsk resident Paul is different.
- In seven years, I saw a photograph of Manhattan and since then wanted to move to New York, - he said. - I consistently for many years played the lottery green card and moved to here, even if I was not lucky to win. I was always attracted to the power of New York skyscrapers, beautiful buildings Empire State Building, Chrysler, Rockefeller Center ...



At one point, Uncle Paul hinted to him about the need to find their own housing. He lived with his common-law wife, and despite the family ties, to share with someone else could space. Our companion had to pack up and move, as well as the money was still tugovato angle was "terrible dirty klopovnik for $ 450 a month." After changing several rooms (all about Brighton), Paul finally opted for an apartment right next to the ocean - it can be seen from the windows of the cafe.
- Brighton - a unique place - said our former fellow citizen. - From the middle of the XIX century the area was considered a "chill-out zone" for the rich New Yorkers who came to play at the casino under the lapping of the waves of the ocean. Brighton got its name from the eponymous British resort town, but the brilliance of his ended with the Great Depression. Numerous hotels aimed at tourists, reformatted, the room began to fail not for rent, and month, and reached out to Brighton poor. After the Second World War - and even Russian, a wave of emigration.





Paul goes to "our" shops because they have «buckwheat and herring under a fur coat," but, as we noted in Brighton conservation is not the best features of the former homeland. If you choose the closest analogy to the atmosphere in the area, for some reason, want to remember the nineties.








- These Russian hardly adapt to a new country, - says Paul Denisevich. - They brought here everything that lived on the first home. For example, accidentally nudging you in the store, there is no one to apologize, while in America they say «I'm sorry», even in cases where there was only the opportunity to touch each other.
Incredibly, there is a huge stratum of immigrants from the former Soviet Union who did not depart from Brighton. It has lush color bloom numerous firms and companies have their own radio stations, newspapers, television, theater and, of course, shops. Part of the population of the district is working completely in the Russian environment, without leaving the boundaries of comfortable existence. Lack of knowledge of the English language - is also not uncommon. Why teach the words of others, if everything they say on their own?





However, it would be unfair to say that no Americans in Brighton. There are not so little. The high-rise building floor which is very close to Brighton, those about 40%. What do they think about emigrants from the other side of the ocean? Word of our tour guide:
- They are afraid of Russian.
- Afraid?
- You know, there is very few people talk to each other, perhaps this is an impression.
Sex home is not torn. When it comes time to time in Minsk, he grabs a few weeks of communication with friends and family to want to return to the second home. Prospects in Belarus, he does not see, nor has the desire to start a family and buy a house in Belarus.
- A friend of mine recently for the money "to pull" gave the child the garden in Minsk - is this normal? Another bought an apartment for $ 130 thousand. $ 130 thousand.! For the same amount you can buy though bad, but a house in Miami. Plus I've been working on the Internet at the US company, as many do in Belarus - so what's the point to do it sitting in Serebryanka?
His future wife, Paul met online a few months before departure to the United States. The whole history of their relationship is almost completely gone on the Net, although our interlocutor tried often visited Minsk. A year ago, they were married in Minsk, and now Paul completes the paperwork to transfer his wife to America.

Paul is already a US citizen. He spent more than five years in New York, has a clean history and passed the examinations to obtain a passport. The document gives a little more rights than green card, but most importantly - the possibility of family reunification across the ocean on the "vertical", that is, first of all spouses, parents and children. True, there are some obligations, such as to participate once in my life before a jury. And, of course, to fight on the side of Washington in the mass mobilization of the population.




- What's wrong with America? Immigrants hard: the threshold of entry into the local community is very high. To adapt to the local mentality, concepts, principles of life for many is difficult, and for some even impossible. It is hard in a moment to realize that, for example, a broken arm during a banal lack of attention to the peculiarities of medicine and insurance may lead to personal bankruptcy. In America, it is not accepted to live "for later", save for a "rainy day" - all live upon, because tomorrow everything can change. Although, of course, I have some savings, revenue collected from residues. Many people live on credit because they want today to get what they need, gradually paying bank debt. It is not accepted to save for a car five years - it may even become the owner of the one who washes the dishes at the restaurant.
... We stroll along the main street in Brighton. Upstairs with a terrible roar fly subway train racing at Coney Island and Manhattan. Downstairs people are in a hurry about their business, illuminated signboards of shops. It is unclear what distinguishes the immigrants from the former Soviet Union in the external form, but somehow notice it immediately - in general, almost all of them are our compatriots from the past.

Cafe "Birpark" menu on the corner of green salad, chebureki and pelmeni (a variant fried, eat boiled). Sign of good taste - greet visitors in Russian. Of course, the waiter is easy to switch to English, but "foreigners" in Brighton is not much, mainly its audience.
A huge number of firms offering legal support "svezheponaehavshim." Paperwork, litigation, family reunification, employment - a wide range of services. Popular points, telephone and internet connection with their homeland, calling cards (in Belarus, as always, more than all), bookstores, video, communication sessions even with clairvoyant. Many signs have survived from the time of the shooting, "Brother-2".









And, of course, grocery stores. Pancakes with meat and cabbage, belyashi, chicken, beef, pork, "home" sour cream, salads, stuffed cabbage, pancakes - a feeling that pace the "Rublevsky" somewhere in Minsk. On the camera all react quite calmly, accustomed to the loose morals of America. Only in one place a powerful woman with shaggy idly wondered why remove pallets "Rollton". "Tourists? Well, okay ... »



In view of the main street in Brighton that resembles a cross between a shopping arcade Zhdanovichy, slightly flavored original "brick" architecture Brooklyn. The abundance of advertising noise and the old three-story house on a par with the overpass metro "our" faces of passers-by, bad weather - all of this, close your eyes, will take somewhere in the home, with the noisy here near the ocean, but in 2014 the first, and, Rather, in 1994.




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