City Guide

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Brighton Beach, Brooklyn

Brighton Beach, Brooklyn

Photo: Elizabeth Weinberg

The music here is instrumental, so people can talk over it – something jazzy with vibraphones and piano, befitting Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs of teen angst among Eastern European immigrants. The Russian restaurants on the boardwalk, their awnings restored within weeks of the storm, continue to ooze nihilist charm, with patrons simultaneously smoking Parliaments, stabbing at salads and sipping vodka, Baltika beer or homemade kvass, a fermented rye beverage that tastes a bit like wet tobacco. The beach itself, where bathing rules are printed in English Cyrillic, is an irrepressible tragicomedy, populated by hard-bodied seniors in rhinestone bikinis and young women who dare to wear pumps to the shore.

From: New York City's Boardwalks Make a Comeback


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