Brighton Beach



     Since the 1970’s, 300,000 people have immigrated to America from the former Soviet Union, and created one of the largest Russian communities in the world-- Brighton Beach. Brighton Beach stands out from all the other Russian communities throughout the country for the simple reason that it has not just merely transferred the culture of the former Soviet Union overseas, but has also created a culture that is uniquely its own. Each aspect of the culture is but one piece of the identity of Brighton Beach.

     Childhood experiences have taught each of us that when scattered, the pieces of a puzzle are nothing but cardboard cut outs, but pieced together just right, they are a work of art. To fully understand Brighton Beach one must experience all the pieces in their correct places, for only then one can begin to understand a community that is, in the words of journalist Michael Idov, “as much a state of mind as a location.”

     Take a stroll down the boardwalk on a sunny day or walk through the streets taking in the culture of Brighton Beach, and you may think you understand why we chose to explore this ethnic enclave. But before you conclude that all there is to Brighton Beach is a beautiful beach, diverse cuisines, and Russian culture, think again. What is actually most fascinating is the fact that the identity of Brighton Beach is made up of not only the experiences of those who are part of the community, but of the perceptions of those who are not. In this website, we have explored and tried to understand both sides of Brighton Beach in order to find the true identity of this unique neighborhood.