Monday, May 2, 2016

Return To Little Odessa

When you walk along Brighton Beach Avenue in Brooklyn, it's sometimes difficult to remember what part of the world you've wandered into. When my family moved to Brooklyn in the 1960s, nearby Brighton Beach was still a mostly immigrant neighborhood (predominantly Jewish) from Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union (an influx that began before the existence of the Soviet Union). In the '80s, there was another influx of immigrants from the Soviet Union. Brighton Beach became known as "Little Odessa by the Sea."


According to Wikipedia:
"After the fall of the Soviet Union in the '90s, many ethnic Russian criminals illegally entered the United States, coming especially to Brighton Beach." It's "... considered a hot spot for the 'Russian Mafia'," which can make acceptance difficult for the majority of Russian and former-Soviet citizens who have no criminal ties and have simply brought an old neighborhood back to life.

To think Brighton Beach is said to have had its beginnings as land purchased from a Native American tribe around 1645 — for a gun, a blanket, and a kettle. These days, you can get a nice three-bedroom condo for just a couple million guns, blankets, and kettles — but you'll have to pawn them first.

(Click the images to read the Cyrillic.... or to just make the pictures bigger.)










NEIGHBORS TAKE IN THE NOONDAY SUN ON OCEAN PARKWAY.
(AS I PASSED, I HEARD RUSSIAN, ENGLISH, AND YIDDISH.)

Дайте его обратно к индейцам.

26 comments:

  1. It is really interesting part of the city

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  2. At least you weren't kneecapped for taking pictures! Lots going on there.

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    1. Wilma:
      I felt like that was close to happening in 2012. Check it out here if you've got time (third photo from bottom): http://mitchellismoving.blogspot.com.es/search?q=russia

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  3. I love those neighborhoods.... Maybe there's even a tiny park with a couple of old men playing checkers or dominoes?

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    1. Sharon:
      More than one. I've got a photo to come.

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  4. Interesting! I didn't know about the Russian immigrants there. :)

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    1. Judy:
      My father used to love walking Brighton Beach Avenue with Jerry in the '80s and having him read all the Russian shop signs.

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  5. Looking at that last picture.. women kibitzing... some things never change!

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    1. Sheree:
      Still the same... and yet very different.

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  6. BTW... My Aunt Marion looks Awesome... and you and Chuckie not too shabby either! <3

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    1. Sheree:
      Aw, thanks. My mother does look great. Chucky looks like he's 30!!!

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  7. A truly multicultural neighbourhood, Mitchell.
    Looks like a very busy place indeed....lots going on everywhere.
    Great place for a visit I am sure but always good to get home, eh?

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    1. Jim:
      Very busy, noisy, pushy, and interesting. VERY good to be home.

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  8. Definite difference in Delsey! This saying has always stuck in my noggin since 60's. Our trips home were so so different, weren't they. I can see Jim and I checking out every nook and cranny as we milled around in this neighbourhood.

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  9. This is the first I'm hearing about this interesting part of New York.

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    1. Stephen:
      Sorry I didn't take more photos. It's not all storefronts and elevated trains.

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  10. When you are away..in the sun and the spansh lifestyle do you miss Brooklyn?

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    1. John:
      We moved to Brooklyn in 1964. I was then away at school for 4+ years, left and came back briefly several times, and then left permanently in 1979. I never felt fully assimilated and really don't miss it now.

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  11. a flourishing neighborhood with a REAL deli! how I wish we had one of those round here!

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    1. anne marie:
      Next time in New York, I would love to visit one of the really good old-style delis. This one is really more a grocery store and meat counter, not a sit-down restaurant.

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  12. Lots of different foodie experiences here, but no decent deli in sight!

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    1. Cranky:
      I remember one decent deli in San Diego. LA claimed one but it didn't live up to my expectations in the early '80s. Maybe I'd like it now. As you'd probably expect, we haven't come across a good Jewish deli here in Fuengirola!

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  13. Even though I'm on the road, I still enjoy you Brooklyn photos!

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