Charming beaches, disgusting service and Kashpirovsky: what is it - real Brighton Beach
“The weather is nice on Deribasovskaya, or it’s raining again on Brighton Beach” - this was the first film I watched at the beginning of our century. Then America was a completely different world for me, and in every film frame I peered at all the details of the life and life of this country. An unforgettable impression was made by the surroundings of Brighton Beach.
Many years have passed since then, the pace of scientific and technological progress has reached its maximum at the moment, and at the same time, the architectural objects have changed: the old ones are demolished, the new ones are built or renovated according to the latest trends of the genre.
Civilization is being improved, not only the external appearance of the world outside the window is changing, but also the mentality of the population. People become more literate, educated, they draw new behavioral rules from various available sources, etiquette of interaction with each other, which makes them polite and tolerant in a modern way. Such transformations have probably affected almost all corners of the world. However, the odious Brighton Beach remains unchanged, as I personally saw in the first month of living in this vicious place.
Brighton Beach is the Brooklyn neighborhood with the most abundant service infrastructure in Russian. The main avenue of Brighton is divided into several streets - such "sub-brightons": first, second, third .. and so on until the 15th. In principle, in 2-3 hours you can walk the whole of Brighton Beach up and down. It is shrouded in many legends and stories. In this publication I will try to present my impressions of this region of "Russian America", highlighting 10 characteristic features of its infrastructure.
There are a lot of them. From small stalls to supermarkets with cooking and a full grocery set. Most of the stalls are with fruits and vegetables, mainly Mexican and local production, as well as other nomenclature characteristic of this kind of retail outlets.
There are several souvenir shops where you can buy goods at a price that is 50 times higher than their cost on eBay, especially if this shop is owned by immigrants from the former USSR.
Note that the contingent here is mainly from Central Asia. If before Brighton Beach was considered a place where a significant part of emigrants from Ukrainian Odessa settled on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, who were accustomed to living on the Black Sea coast, now this place can be more called an Uzbek quarter, but not Odessa. Significant in this regard is the renaming of the restaurant “Gambrinus” located 300 meters from the coast into “Kaifuem”, designed in the style inherent in similar establishments in Asian countries.
Such an accumulation of food imported from the countries of the former USSR, such as in Brighton, in America is nowhere else. I once walked with an American studying Russian on an embankment on Brighton. Arriving to me from the Bronx, she said that this was not the first time in the area. He and his family periodically come here for products that are impossible to find anywhere else in New York. When I asked what kind of people it was, it turned out that these were dumplings and sweets.
Well, let's say, dumplings did not cause me much interest. But the sweets were intriguing. Moreover, she no matter how straining her memory, but could not recall their name. A friend began to describe their taste, and so rolled her eyes at the same time that I was ready to buy five kilograms of these sweets, even having no idea how they look.
Later it turned out that she not only came with her relatives to get these sweets - all her neighbors, friends, former classmates and some of her work colleagues went on a shopping tour to Brighton for them. Then I told her that remembering the name and country of origin of these sweets is a matter of particular importance. Without this, our mutual language exchange will be impossible, because my thoughts about magic sweets do not give me the opportunity to focus on the grammar of English, just like explaining the vocabulary of my native language.
We parted, she went home to remember the name of sweets, and I plunged into thought about what kind of sweets these could be. In Brighton shops 90% of imported sweets from Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. I tried all the sweets of the leading chocolate factories in these three countries before my first visit to the United States.
Every time I visit a new country, I have a list of essential must-try foods to get an impression of the quality of the local food industry. Among them, item # 2 marked chocolate. In terms of the taste of this sweetness, I give the first place to the producers of Germany - contrary to popular belief that the best chocolate is Belgian. I assumed that it was unlikely that she was referring to German or even Belgian sweets. For some reason, I was inclined to think about Mexico. This is the birthplace of chocolate, besides, it is located next to the United States, many fruits in Brighton were imported from neighboring Mexico. At the Duty Free of the Cancun airport, I once bought a few bars of local chocolate with a very unusual taste.
The next day, Jessica wrote to me that she remembered what those sweets were called. I already grabbed my wallet and took the pose of a quick start, when I suddenly saw the painfully familiar These are Roshen.
Expired Products Trading
Another American shock awaited me in some particularly impudent retail outlets. Once, I remember, about 10 years ago I bought a box of chocolates in one of the Odessa supermarkets. I came home, I look, and they are overdue. He came back, showed it to the employees of the supermarket - they returned the money and apologized a hundred times. Since then, I have not seen expired products on Ukrainian counters.
But this is America! And what do you think? Trading expired food here seems to be the norm. Say there are two points on Brighton Beach that seem to specialize in selling expired goods. Moreover, the delay period can be not one or two days, but several months.
Of course, the price of unusable goods is two times lower. But where is the guarantee that pensioners who usually buy such products do not fall into deep diarrhea due to such savings? Is New York State legally liable for trading expired goods? Why do not any inspectors from public services go to outlets and check the dates on the products sold?
Tourists arriving in New York from countries of the former Soviet Union are not limited to New York alone. Often they want to visit other places in America. Then they turn to local travel agencies, where the staff speaks Russian. The same applies to residents who can already afford to travel.
There are several travel agencies on Brighton Beach, and in most of them, staff and service are not doing well. In principle, there is only one company representing a wide range of tourist destinations both in America and in other countries. It employs competent Russian-speaking guides and delight affordable prices by American standards. It is better not to go to other travel agencies. I’ll tell you how kindly I was consulted in one of them.
For a long time I wanted to visit the countries of Latin America, and it seemed to me that due to the territorial location in them it is much cheaper to travel from the USA than from Ukraine. So, I go to a tourist company in Brighton. I don’t remember its name, but in any case it did not coincide with reality, because in fact it was necessary to write on the sign something like this: “Three grannies”. No, it’s better: “Three crazy grannies”.
I open, then, the door and I see three elderly women. I sit down in the nearest chair and say that I would like to know if there are tours to Latin America and how much they cost. From the indistinct answer I understand what is, but the dialogue did not go further. An employee told me what she wanted to tell, and not what interested me. My attempts to turn it in the direction I needed were unsuccessful. Soon two other company agents joined in the dialogue. Against the background of this booth I already wanted to slip away, but it wasn’t there! Obviously the most important of them (she screamed the loudest and actively gestured) insisted that I move to a chair located closer to her table.
"Start over!" - ordered a la headmistress, and I repeated the question again.
"What other Latin American countries? !!" - her voice began to turn to screeching, after which I clarified for the fourth time what information I needed from them. Dialogue went off course again. And then it seemed to the third employee that it dawned on me what I needed from them. Her attempt to clarify the situation was thwarted by the boss's hysterical tirade in local spill jargon.
Once again convinced that I was wasting time, I began to say that I had to go, but the boss, who got into the excitement of communicating with a potential client, raised her fist and shouted "Quiet!" hit the table with it. “No, well, the furniture is not to blame,” I thought, and, in order not to provoke an attack of aggression from this poorly predictable interlocutor, I was already ready to listen to all the nonsense she was saying. After waiting for at least some pause, I got up. Shouting out to the angry granny, I began to thank her for the invaluable information, and at the same time, he hastily removed and kept his peripheral vision focused on an unpredictable subject in case any office interior items were thrown in my direction.
There are many lawyers in America. This is the most prestigious profession. If you are a lawyer in the States, then you are an enviable groom. And there are enough lawyers in Brighton too. Their prices are often lower than in other areas of New York.
Offices in more than half are terrible and without repair. I can not say anything for the quality of services, since I had no business with any of Brighton's lawyers. But somehow I remember one visit.
Such a small room for itself, the last time it had seen repairs, probably before the collapse of the USSR. An elderly man sits in it behind a stationary computer with his back to incoming clients and lays out solitaire.
I walk in, say hello, and sit down on a chair next to me. He, without taking his eyes off the monitor, asks what I want. I tell the situation, he dryly names the price and immediately, preventing the possibility of continuing the dialogue and, as it were, expelling me from this under-office, he says: “Come next time with money and documents!” I get up, not thanks and without saying goodbye, slowly walking towards the exit. I kept waiting for him to finally look in my direction, so that at least with a glance to make him understand: I will never come here again. He never turned his head ...
Probably, it would be more literate in the XXI century to write “Beauty salons”. But since there is no smell of beauty in such salons, somehow the language did not turn around to call them that.
Finding a hairdresser in a foreign country has always been difficult for me. Having some idea of the retail and service points of Brighton Beach, I went around the hairdressers in the surrounding areas of Brooklyn, evaluating the advisability of going to a haircut according to the following criteria:
- external image / neatness of the master;
- the interior of the cabin.
The average price is $ 30-35 per haircut. Hairdressers are very different, like the decoration of salons. After that, I decided to look into the hairdressers on Brighton Beach. Although it would be better if I did not.
Many hairdressers in their external image reminded me of a fishmonger in Odessa Privoz. There is a salon where the Chinese work, and there really is nothing to breathe. There is not a single square meter that has not been used. The first thing that catches your eye is the protruding legs of clients doing pedicure. It seemed that to get to the haircutting chair, one had to crawl through several pairs of nails.
But there is one plus of haircuts in Brighton hairdressers - this is the price. It is 15 dollars, which is twice cheaper than in the surrounding areas. After three weeks of researching Brooklyn hairdressing salons, I still found the optimal one. It is located on Avenue P. A haircut costs $ 10 (plus a couple of dollars in tips), it is cut with high quality and there is something to chat with the master during the procedure.
Of course, if you live in a village in a country with a developing economy, you can do without a bank service. But not in the USA. Without an open account, there is nothing to do.
Banks are of particular interest to me - as part of my profession. Someday I will write an article about the difference between banks in Europe, America and Africa. But now a few words about the specifics of service in these financial institutions in Brighton Beach.
In the banks here, as in other infrastructure facilities, the employees are mostly Russian-speaking. Not all of them are happy to see you, and most of them either do not hide, or do not know how to hide.
I’ll tell you about my visits to a couple of branches. I go to the first bank. During working hours, a man in a tie stands at the entrance and eats a hamburger. I go to the bank. One employee is busy with the client, the workplace next to her is free, there is a queue of one person. After some time, a hamburger-eater comes in and sits down at his workplace next to the employee.
He served that one person, and my turn came. I sit down and he immediately begins to poke me. I will not speak about the not very benevolent tone - here I am used to it. No, I do not insist that everybody give out to each other always and endlessly. I prefer the appeal to "you", but in more personal situations. This is a bank! Authoritative, having branches in other countries, working with reputable clients. So, during our dialogue with him it turned out that this employee could not give answers to my questions, and I asked him to get them from more competent specialists. As a result, I agreed to find out all the controversial issues at the next audience.
Yes, it did, but this time the bank clerk hit me even more. I go, therefore, into this department and see this picture: the same employee is working with a client, and a man in a tie is just sitting and brazenly picking his nose. And there’s nothing that a potential client has appeared on the horizon. Then I just vomited from this employee, and from the whole department. I left this bank and never returned to it.
There is another bank there - a very popular one. Contrary to rumors, as for me, he is not bad. But some of the service personnel are selected in it so that the client does not relax and remember that he is not just anywhere, but in Brighton Beach. There is a special counter where everyone who enters the room is greeted. I go to the department, stand in line in front of four Uzbeks. I go up to the counter, start asking a question, and after the first two words, the employee gives me a “No!” After not even understanding the essence of the appeal. "What is not ?!" - I ask. “I don’t know,” she replies. “What don't you know ?! I haven't finished the question yet! " - I continue. "Contact the hotline!" She suggested. "How can I complain about you?" - I am interested. "To the hotline!" She repeats.
“Another victim of the Brighton atmosphere,” I thought then and left this bank. Then I went to another branch located in the neighboring area. No, well, it’s necessary! Only 20 minutes walk, what a difference in service! As soon as you leave the territory of Brighton Beach, everything changes at once: in that other department they smile at you, cherish you, they want to help and help you, they will consult you as much time as you need it, and if they don’t know the answer to some question, then they will figure it out right there. On the way from the Brighton office to the next one, I put together a cart in my head, which I was going to roll onto a negligent employee. But, as it turned out later, American banks do not have e-mail for general access. Therefore, write about your dissatisfaction, as they say, to the village of grandfather.
I think not everyone is interested. But I could not ignore the office where they teach American accounting, if only because I myself had such courses and taught them once in Ukraine. Yes, I went there full of hopes to find out what, how, how, perhaps, to exchange experiences. I was interested to look at their curriculum, to learn all the details of teaching. But my interest disappeared two minutes after the start of communication. It was clear that they did not want to see anyone there either as listeners or as just guests. Having found out what months the courses take, I left them to sit, staring at the monitor.
Imagine, I walk along the main Brighton and see a poster: "Kashpirovsky Anatoly Mikhailovich conducts sessions ... invites ... Accepts ..." I thought that this man disappeared somewhere along with the collapse of the Union. And he, it turns out, here in New York, is alive and well, works, helps people, cures ailments, earns money in the hall of the National restaurant. I go inside, find out: a ticket for a group cure - 35 dollars. You cannot get an autograph or take a joint selfie. In the same place, along with the tickets, the salt charged by Kashpirovsky and his photograph are sold.
With me, a grandmother under 90, who was supported by her homattеnder, pulled out the last dollars from her wallet to buy a ticket. In total, she scraped together 25 dollars. It was clear that the wallet was empty, and she also had nothing in the coffin. Then the ticketee took pity and made her a discount, like a pensioner, selling a scarce ticket at a price below the market.
So there are compassionate people in Brighton Beach. Although the manifestation of such humanism is more the exception than the rule here. I didn't buy a ticket then - I regretted $ 35. The ticket lady, seeing me turn around and about to leave, started offering me a $ 10 discount. She said that I could go as a student. I refused, but then I regretted it. After all, it would be interesting to see such a famous person live, to look at the methods he uses to enter a state of trance, to his skills in controlling the audience, to evaluate the reaction of the public. Maybe someday, I'll still go.
Brighton Beach is a very dirty place. Here, either the wipers' salaries are paid with chronic delays, or there are none at all, or simply to keep, so to speak, the brand and not be like other regions of America, it is always and almost everywhere dirty here. Uncleaned rubbish at metro stations, on rails, along roads, in adjoining territories. Bird droppings under the Belt Parkway Bridge never seem to be removed. The buildings from the external facade are probably a century old and have not been repaired for the same amount of time.
Of course, such "beauty" and "aromas" match the local rats, shamelessly walking along with the inhabitants of those regions. One such person accompanied me for about 20 meters when I passed a Mexican church.
And in the warm season, the very beginning of Brighton is populated by New York homeless people with their own furniture - they form their settlement along the bridge next to the subway exit. They appear and disappear, probably constantly moving in the process of choosing the best place in the sun. It is hoped that the homeless will not show up immediately after the end of the coronavirus quarantine.
On the subject: 10 facts about Little Odessa in New York that will surprise you
Due to neglect, some landscapes here are not inferior to African, Chinese and Indian. But this is not Africa, not China and not India! This is America! The greatest country in the world! Yes, and the shore of the Atlantic Ocean! I do not know where the mayor and the governor are looking, following Brighton Beach (unless, of course, they drive there with their eyes open). But if the authorities do not allocate regular or even federal budget money to change the situation, then it is possible that Brighton Beach will soon provoke the appearance of some next virus.
Finally, I'll write at least something good. And these are local beaches. The area of Brighton Beach is also called “Little Odessa”. But if you compare the beaches of this "Little Odessa" with the beaches of real Ukrainian Odessa, then they (Brighton) are simply huge and many times better. The sand is clean, the surface is even, without shells and any prickly or cut objects. The beach strip is about 100 meters wide.
In the warm season, large blue paths are laid from the water's edge to the embankment, which are kept clean every day, and there are rescue stations. Restaurants along the promenade with summer halls. The beaches are free. In the summer, Brighton Beach comes alive as vacationers from all over New York flock here to sunbathe.
The beaches of Brightonbeach smoothly merge into the beaches of Konyeiland. Coney Island has its own unusual history and is known for the fact that the famous hot dog was invented here in 1867, the roller coaster in 1884, and in 1895 the world's first indoor amusement park was opened.
24 films were filmed on Brighton Beach, including Romeo and Juliet (USA, 1916) and Salam, New York (USA, Kyrgyzstan, 2013)
And finally: the odious phrase “Time has stopped here” - this is exactly about Brighton Beach. I would even say that it turned on the reverse, because I hardly believe that in the vastness of the Union it was possible to find a place where they could be so skillfully naughty and do everything possible to make you instantly turn 180 degrees.
Sometimes it seems to me that the one who is hiring service personnel on Brighton is vigilant that the new employee is not polite, courteous, and amiable by definition. So that he does not possess a natural smile and in no way looks like an average friendly American / American, blurred in a smile, accompanied by the usual How are youuu ?!
Even in modern Ukraine, where such a difficult political and economic situation is, and the anger and mutual hostility of residents is increasing every year, people are generally kinder than in the legendary Brighton Beach - an extraordinary place of “the largest concentration of Soviet emigration” in New York.
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