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Mira and Vilen Ostrovsky
Retired Chemistry Teacher and Electrical Engineer MIRA: We came here from Kiev on May 2, 1990. At that time in the Ukraine, anti-Semitism—how can I tell you?—anti-Semitism was at our backs. Not that our colleagues, respectable people, expressed this, but if someone were to go to the tramway drunk without supervision, he might start to taunt us in such a way that we’d have to get away. There were a lot of those heavy moments. In Brighton, we don’t feel any of the terrors of the Ukraine. We have many American acquaintances, and our passports say we are citizens of the United States, and we hold this in high regard.

All photographs by Spencer Heyfron

Max Mingulov and Rita Navahrutskaya
Students
MAX: I came from Russia four and a half years ago with my mom and my dad. I miss it a little bit, but I like it here better. I’m at Abraham Lincoln High School. I’ll probably go to Brooklyn College to be a web-page designer. Rita and I met on the boardwalk almost a year ago, on spring break. She’s from Belarus. We’ve broken up twice, but we can’t live without each other for more than one month.

Stella Weisburg
Retired Program Director
All my life I’ve been in Brooklyn. My mother came from Russia and my father from London, and they met here. When my husband and I moved here from Canarsie, 30 years ago, it wasn’t Russian at all. And then the migration started. I had to retire from the YMCA because I wasn’t equipped to teach Russian. It was time, anyway—I’m not upset. They’re lovely people, the Russians.

Semyon Shafire
Executive Chef at Café Tatiana
My customers, they come from all over the place—Connecticut, Scottsdale, you name it—just to eat my dishes. I didn’t graduate from any professional culinary schools, but I worked at the Russian Tea Room as a sous-chef for many, many years. I make excellent rack of lamb, blini imperial, Russian-Ukrainian borscht. I came from Ukraine in 1979. I was cooking there also, but not as aggressively.

Sergei Brozonsky
Security Officer
I came here five years ago from Minsk, where I was a repair manager. I simply received a green card and decided to come. I like the vibe and life in Brighton Beach. I go out to the bars; I like Gaprinus. My friend Nikolai and I just came across this old man trying to catch fish by the water, and we simply met and chatted about fishing; this is a fresh skate. I like that you can speak with Russian people here.

Marya Skvodowska
Retired Radio Reporter
I came here seven years ago, from Lomza, Poland. I covered news, politics, and arts for Polish radio. I don’t work anymore. I bought this clothing in Manhattan. In Poland, Polish women dress very well. But in America, Polish women also dress well. So I try to follow trends—a little bit like a young woman. I shouldn’t say how old I am. Years don’t matter; it’s how you feel. Yes, my hair is dyed red; today red, tomorrow green—no problem.

Igor Ugliar
Writer
I’m from Ternopil, Ukraine. I received political asylum because I wrote a dissident book against the Ukrainian president. A little over three years ago, I came here as a correspondent for the newspaper Ukrainskaya Svoboda. I don’t work for them anymore. I published it in 2006 while I was in America, and now it is read on the radio throughout the country. I live in Staten Island, but Brighton Beach is my favorite place. There are people from my childhood here, people from my hometown. When I’m here, I feel like I’m in Odessa, the famous port city of Ukraine.

Nonna Manashirova and Irina Biniukow
Mother and Wine Distributor
NONNA: We came here in 2001, so that our children could be raised in a free country, go to school and synagogue, and hang a mezuzah on the door, without fear. My husband is a driver, and I take care of the children: I have two boys, 18 and 19, and Nicole is the third. She’s 9 months old. We came to Brooklyn because we had a lot of friends here. I couldn’t speak English at all—I didn’t even know what a table was. But little by little, I went to school and studied, and because of that, I became able to speak better English. But now that I’m with the baby at home, I don’t have a lot of opportunities to speak English, especially in this neighborhood.

Igor Davydov and Abraham Chorenchian
Unemployed and Journalist
IGOR: In Russia, I worked as an electro-mechanical inspector. If I were to have lived here my whole life, I’d be a millionaire. I left Russia in 2001. First I came, and then my wife, Adasa, came. We’ve been married for almost 40 years—it’s our only marriage. We’ve been in Brighton Beach four years. In my opinion, it’s changed for the better. People have become more Americanized, more cultured. In Moscow, they open doors and throw them in your face, but here they help. They say please and thank you. There, it’s not the case. It’s silent.

Adolf Gorvits
Retired Engineer
I was a political prisoner in Ekute. It’s in Siberia. The sentence was for ten years, but I didn’t spend that long there. I was there for eight years, in the coldest camp in the world. It was 60 degrees below zero, Celsius. I left the Soviet Union for America on March 22, 1992. First I lived in a hotel. Then I rented an apartment in Bay Park in Brooklyn. And then I came here, to Brighton Beach. My whole life I worked, and here I love to be on the move on my bike. Movement is life, they say.

Robert Yuffa
Retiree
I lost my leg in a bombing on July 18, 1942, during the Second World War. I went to the hospital, and they cut off my leg. I’m 72 now, so I was 5 then. Now I have my Social Security, and that’s it. If I had more money, I'd move upstate. But Brighton Beach has very cheap stores, which is good. I don't have many friends, but I have some. And I have my Chihuahua; this is my best friend. I walk on the boardwalk every day and I go to the gym and I go to the sauna and I go to a pool and I swim. So, this is life.

Jose Mora (left) North Conduit and McKinley Avenues, Cypress Hills. On September 4, 2006, 11-year-old Mora was on his way to the barber for a back-to-school haircut; that week, he was to start the sixth grade at nearby Junior High School 302. He was struck by a Honda while walking his bike across an intersection.

Jonathan Neese South 4th Street and Roebling Street, Williamsburg. On August 12, 2006, Neese, a bike messenger known as “Bronx Jon,” was struck by a livery cab while cycling from Brooklyn to Manhattan.

Sam Khaled Hindy (left) Base of the Manhattan Bridge. On November 16, 2007, Hindy was run over after mistakenly entering a Manhattan Bridge lane reserved for cars.

Habian Rodriguez Main Street and Horace Harding Expressway, Flushing. On September 1, 2007, Rodriguez collided with a city bus and died 30 minutes later.

Elizabeth Padilla (left) Fifth Avenue and Prospect Place, Park Slope. Commuting to the Brooklyn Bar Association on June 9, 2005, Padilla swerved to avoid the open door of a parked P.C. Richard’s truck. She lost control of her bike and fell underneath the wheels of an ice-cream delivery truck.

Juan Luis Solis East Gun Hill Road and Bouck Avenue, the Bronx. Attempting to pass a double-parked car on June 22, 2007, Solis was struck by a box truck and died of severe head trauma. The truck did not stop.

Jeffrey Moore (left) Chauncey Street and Rockaway Avenue, Bed-Stuy. According to witnesses, on May 29, 2007, Moore was run over (twice) by his girlfriend Jeanine Harrington. She was indicted on charges of murder and criminal possession of a weapon (her Nissan Pathfinder).

Derek Lake Houston Street and La Guardia Place. On June 26, 2006, Lake reportedly skidded on a steel construction plate and was crushed underneath the wheels of a passing truck.

Elijah Armand Wrancher (left) Springfield Boulevard and 130th Avenue, Springfield Gardens. On August 28, 2007, 12-year-old Wrancher attempted to ride his bicycle while holding onto a moving truck. He lost his grip and fell under the truck’s rear wheel.

David Smith Sixth Avenue and 36th Street. On December 5, 2007, Smith was biking up Sixth Avenue when the passenger-side door of a parked pickup truck opened unexpectedly. He was knocked into the path of an oncoming truck.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Anthony Delgado (left) Palmetto Street and Central Avenue, Bushwick. Shortly after midnight on April 29, 2007, 13-year-old Delgado borrowed a bike to head home from his friend’s baptism party. As he crossed the intersection, he was struck by an SUV.

Carolina Hernandez 57th Avenue and Junction Boulevard, Elmhurst. On August 16, 2007, Hernandez was riding to a mall when she was struck and killed by a Chevy truck. The driver pled guilty to driving with a suspended license.

Fall Fashion Features

The Beefcake in the Backcourt
Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.

 

The Beefcake in the Backcourt
Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.Big, fake, and fully able to outshine its surroundings.
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