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 a Brooklyn neighborhood with the most abundant service infrastructure in Russian. Brighton's main avenue is divided into several streets - such “sub-brits”: first, second, third .. and so on until the 15th. In principle, in 2-3 hours you can get around the entire Brighton Beach up and down. It is shrouded in many legends and stories. In this publication I will try to state 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.
I note that the contingent here is mainly from Central Asia. Previously, Brighton Beach was considered a place where a significant part of the emigrants from Ukrainian Odessa settled on the Atlantic Ocean, accustomed to living on the Black Sea, now this place can be called the Uzbek quarter, but not Odessa. Significant in this regard is the renaming of the Gambrinus restaurant located 300 meters from the coast into Kaifuy, 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 relatives to get these sweets - all of her neighbors, friends, former classmates and part of her work colleagues also went on a shopping tour to Brighton. Then I told her that remembering the name and country of origin of these sweets is a matter of special importance. Without this, our mutual language exchange would be impossible, because my thoughts about magic candies do not allow me to concentrate on the grammar of English, just as explain 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.
When visiting each new country, I have a list of the main products that you must definitely try to give 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 manufacturers of Germany - contrary to the popular belief that the best chocolate is Belgian. I suggested that she hardly meant German or even Belgian sweets. For some reason he was inclined to think about Mexico. This is the birthplace of chocolate, in addition, it is located next to the USA, many fruits in Brighton were imported from neighboring Mexico. At Duty Free at Cancun Airport, I somehow bought some 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 at some particularly insolent outlets. Once, I remember, about 10 years ago I bought a box of chocolates in one of Odessa supermarkets. I came home, I look, and they are expired. He came back, showed it to the supermarket staff - they returned the money and apologized a hundred times. Since then, I have not seen expired products on the Ukrainian shelves.
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 it is much cheaper to travel from the USA than from Ukraine. So, I go to one travel company in Brighton. I don’t remember her name already, but in any case it did not coincide with reality, because in fact it was necessary to write something like this on the sign: “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!" - the director ordered a la, and I repeated the question again.
“What other Latin American countries? !!” Her voice began to shift to a screech, after which I specified for the fourth time what information I needed from them. The dialogue went astray again. And then the third employee seemed to be dawning on what I needed from them. Her attempt to clarify the situation was thwarted by the hysterical tirade of Shefini in the jargon of the local spill.
Having made sure again that I was wasting my time, I began to say that I should go, but the boss who got into the excitement of communicating with a potential client raised her fist and shouted “Tikhooo!” hit them on the table. “No, well, the furniture is not to blame,” I thought, and so as not to provoke an attack of aggression by this poorly predictable interlocutor, I was ready to listen to all the nonsense that she carried. After waiting for at least a pause, I got up. Shouting over the enraged granny, he began to thank her for the invaluable information, and at the same time he hastily retired and kept his side-eyed attention on an unpredictable subject in case any objects of the office interior would fly in my direction.
There are many lawyers in America. This is the most prestigious profession. If you are a lawyer in the States, it means an enviable groom. And Brighton also has enough lawyers. 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 go in, say hello, I 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 calls the price and immediately, stopping the possibility of continuing the dialogue and, as if expelling me from this half-office, he says: “Come next time with money and documents!” I get up, not thanks and not saying goodbye, slowly going to the exit. I kept waiting when he finally looked in my direction to at least let him know that I would never come here again. He never turned his head ...
Probably more competent in the XXI century would be to write “Beauty Salons”. But since beauty in such salons does not smell, somehow the language did not turn 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 terms of their external image reminded me of fish merchants at 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 would not be used. The first thing that catches your eye is the sticking legs of clients doing pedicures. It seemed that to get to the haircut, you need to crawl through several pairs of nails.
But there is one plus haircuts in Brighton hairdressers - this is the price. It is $ 15, which is two times cheaper than in the surrounding areas. After three weeks studying Brooklyn hairdressers, I still found the best. It is located on Avenue P. A haircut costs $ 10 (plus a couple of dollars of tip), sheared in a good quality and with the master there is something to chat about 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.
For me, banks are of particular interest - as part of my profession. Someday I will write an article on how the banks of Europe, America and Africa differ. But now a few words about the specifics of service in these financial institutions on 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 - very popular. Contrary to rumors, as for me, he is not bad. But part of the staff was selected in it so that the client did not relax and remembered that he was not somewhere, but on Brighton Beach. There is a special counter where everyone is welcomed into the room. I go to the department, stand in line in front of four Uzbeks. I go to the counter, start asking a question, and the employee after the first two words, without even understanding the essence of the appeal, gives out: “No!”. “What not ?!” - I ask. “I don't know,” she replies. “What do you not know ?! I have not finished the question! ” I continue. “Contact the hotline!” She suggested. “How can I complain about you?” I am interested. “On the hot line!” She repeats.
“Another victim of Brighton’s atmosphere,” he thought then and left this bank. Then he went to another department, located in the neighboring area. No, well this is necessary! Only 20 minutes walk, and what a difference in service! As soon as you leave Brighton Beach, everything immediately changes: in that other department they smile at you, value you, they want to help and help you, they will advise you as much time as you need, and if you don’t know the answer to some question, then find out right there. On the way from the Brighton branch to the next, I put together a cart in my head, which I was about to roll on a negligent employee. But, as it turned out later, American banks do not have email for general access. Therefore, write about your discontent, 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’m walking somehow along the main Brighton and I see a poster: “Anatoly Mikhailovich Kashpirovsky conducts sessions ... invites ... Accepts ...” I thought that this person had gone somewhere along with the collapse of the Union. And it turns out that here, in New York, he is alive and well, works, helps people, cures of illnesses, makes money in the hall of the National restaurant. I go inside and find out: a ticket for a group cure - $ 35. Take an autograph, you can’t take a joint selfie. There, along with tickets, Kashpirovsky’s charged salt 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 on Brighton Beach. Although the manifestation of such humanism is more likely an exception than a rule. I did not buy a ticket then - I regretted $ 35. The ticket operator, seeing how I turned around and was about to leave, began to offer me a discount of 10 dollars. She said that I can go as a student. I refused, but then regretted. After all, it would be interesting to see such a famous person live, to look at the methods of entering into a state of trance, his skills in owning an audience, and to evaluate the public’s reaction. Maybe someday, still going.
Brighton Beach is a very dirty place. Here, either the wipers pay salaries with chronic delays, or there are none at all, or just to keep the brand, so to speak, and not to look like other regions of America, it’s always and almost everywhere dirty. Uncleaned garbage at metro stations, on rails, along roads, in local territories. Bird droppings under the bridge on Belt Parkway never seem to be cleaned. Buildings from the external facade, probably a hundred years ago, have not been repaired for the same amount of time.
Of course, such "beauty" and "aromas" match local rats, without a twinge of conscience, strolling along with the inhabitants of those parts. I was the only one who accompanied me about 20 meters when I walked past 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 near the exit from the subway. They either appear or disappear, probably constantly move in the process of choosing the best place under the sun. It is hoped that the homeless will not appear immediately after the end of 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.
In the end, I’ll write at least something good. And these are local beaches. Brighton Beach is also called Little Odessa. But if you compare the beaches of this "Little Odessa" with the beaches of the real Ukrainian Odessa, then they (Brighton) are simply huge and many times better. The sand is clean, the surface is flat, without shells and any pricking and cutting objects. The beach strip is about 100 meters wide.
In the warm season, from the water's edge to the embankment, large blue paths lay, the purity of which is maintained daily, rescue stations operate. Restaurants along the promenade with summer halls. The beaches are free. In the summer, Brighton Beach comes to life - vacationers from all over New York flock here to sunbathe.
The beaches of Brightonbech smoothly pass into the beaches of Konieylendovskie. Coney Island has its own unusual history and is famous for the fact that it invented the famous hot dog in 1867, the roller coaster in 1884, and opened the world's first indoor amusement park in 1895.
Twenty-four films were shot at Brighton Beach, including Romeo and Juliet (USA, 24) and Salam, New York (USA, Kyrgyzstan, 1916).
And finally: the odious phrase “Time has stopped here” is about Brighton Beach. I would even say that it included a reverse move, because I hardly believe that in the vastness of the Union you could find a place where you can be so skillfully rude and do everything possible so that you instantly turn around 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, and the bitterness and mutual hostility of the inhabitants increases every year, people are generally kinder than on the legendary Brighton Beach - the uncommon place of the “largest concentration of Soviet emigration” in New York.
If you want to discuss about the above, you can use the link to my Facebook.
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