B, Q at Brighton Beach
Touted by locals as one of the city's last Old World communities, New York's Little Odessa is a 5-square mile spit of land sandwiched between Coney Island and Sheepsheads Bay. A stroll along the boardwalk leads visitors to an ocean-front park, where pairs of older Russian-speaking men face off for passionate rounds of speed chess, while their wives mingle and youngsters play heated rounds of pick-up hoops. Those with a hankering for decent borscht will want to stop at eateries Odessa or Tatiana and take in the neighborhood’s infamous ocean breeze—the inspiration for Reisenweber’s 1919 Dixieland tune, "By the Beautiful Sea." Away from the sea and its seasonal sunbathers, more Slavic sights and flavors can be found inland along Brighton Beach Avenue. There, mom-and-pop shops with Cyrillic signage compete for tourist dollars via tchotchkes like Russian nesting dolls and discount jars of caviar and vodka, as the Q train rattles overhead.