November 4, 2012, Sunday, 308


From The Peopling of New York City



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My name is Nicole Babushkin but throughout the years I've been given numerous nicknames, Nikki B, Nicka, NicNac, pickle and Cola, just to name a few. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. From a young age I knew my future would only involve medicine. At the age of seven my grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Knowing how hard it was for my mother to handle I took on the role of doctor or nurse. I helped my family physically and emotionally giving them strength to continue and never give up. Since then my mother would call me the backbone of the family or at times leader. Taking care of my grandmother I developed an extremely close relationship with her; she was my best friend. Knowing that she might leave me, I was drained with emotions but never allowed myself to let my mother see me. The only reason my grandmother had cancer was because of her physician's mistake. Since then I knew that I have to become a physician and correct and help those similar to my grandmother. With this in mind I entered Joseph B. Cavallaro, Scholars Academy. I finished middle school as Valedictorian and physical education champ. My accomplishments in middle school aided my acceptance to Stuyvesant High School but with certain conflicts at the time I entered Midwood High School, the medical program. This lead me to my decision to enter the Macaulay Honors College at Brooklyn College, and continue my passion for medicine and science by majoring in Chemistry in pre-med. Besides medicine and books, I grew up playing different sports, one being Basketball. I played Varsity basketball in high school but had to quit because of an injury.

Most of my friends describe me as strong and diligent. But there is one reason why I posses such great strength. September 11th, 2001 was a difficult day for Americans, especially me. My sister, best friend, Sasha passed away that day, destroying me emotionally and changing my life forever. It took me more than two years to get back on my feet but socially I was at a standstill and had an apathetic view towards most things. But Sasha and I had a goal to accomplish and that was to become successful and famous in the future. I decided that the great life she lived her 12 years shouldn't be stopped, so I continued my life and her life as well. Being the great dancer and songwriter that she was I began to dance and continued writing in her journal of songs. Her mother was great full for all my support and love but by living her life I was able to stay attached. Dancing is more then entertainment its what helps me never to forget the closest person in my life.

My Ideal Community

I can imagine waking up in a large bright area filled with beautiful trees and flowers. The reflection of the ocean bouncing off my glass slide door. Every morning taking a short jog on the sand or around the park. I can hear the occasional noises of children playing but mostly the sound of waves crashing upon the shore. During the day I would spend most of my time at school and work. After, I would enjoy my time with my friends. Nothing extreme, just the simple things as a day in the park, movies, beach and occasionally some parties. The people living near me are quite diverse, some traditional Americans, Italians, Russians and Asians but not too extreme. Everyone has his or her own hobbies, interests and talents. Many in the community play a variety of sports and all get together to root for their home team. For children and teenagers there is a community center with different sports. I imagine myself coaching a girl’s basketball team every weekend. A quiet and serene area is what I was always attracted to but a city life is necessary as well. Near my ideal community, about twenty minutes away, are where the famous clubs, lounges and restaurants are located. Different groups of people with different styles and attitudes who just want to have fun. The dances range from Latin to hip-hop. The restaurants are diverse, ranging from Asian to Russian to Italian. There are many other night activities but my favorite would always be dancing.

Movie Clip

( I took a clip from the movie Spanglish. The movie starts with a girl reading her college entrance essay. She describes the struggles her mother, Flor, went trough when she was a young girl. The only reason why her mother stayed so long in Mexico was for her daughter to remember her original roots, where she came from and who she is. But soon Flor decided it was time to move. The only way to escape her struggles and live a better life was to leave Mexico and immigrate to the United States. The clip shows the path Flor and her daughter took to arrive to United States. Because Mexico borders America, their trip was by bus. They passed Texas and decided that their final destination would be California. The clip also shows the different communities in California. As soon as they came off the bus they entered a different Mexico, one with a community similar to theirs back home. Everyone spoke Spanish so for Flor it was easy to settle. This clip, I believe captures the essence of immigration. It demonstrates an image, reason and opinion to immigrate to the United States.

There to Here

To me, it is easy to say immigration is not the most difficult journey to face but this is because I was born in Brooklyn, New York. My mother, on the other hand was born in Ukraine and her journey and struggles to come to the United States is one story that I base my life upon. The strength one woman at the age of 22 had to fight communism is a major reason why I consider my mother my role model.


It all began in 1977 when my mother’s sister left Ukraine for the United States. Having hope my mother began fighting to escape communism but hope wasn’t enough to escape. When her sister arrived to the United States, she began writing invitations to the Russian government and KGB (Soviet Union FBI). But every letter was taken as a joke and immediately rejected and destroyed. Her sister sent more then twenty letters but only after ten years did the Soviet Union take the time to read one letter. The Soviet Union KGB finally called my mother and allowed her to flee the country but with this came great sacrifices. Everything my mother had, most of her property, including her documents, house, jewelry and other memories were given to the Soviet Union. My mother became a refugee and only had 48 hours to organize everything and leave. At that point her neighbors looked at her as a trader and provided harsh conditions for my her until she left, including physical abuse. In the pain she was in my mother decided to leave most things behind and only take two small bags, her small child, and ill mother and leave immediately. Her first stop was Moscow, and her second struggle would begin.

The memory my mother had in Moscow was one filled with disgust and pain. In Moscow, my mother, brother and grandmother had to go through a full check-up. After they were finished, they went to Aeroflot, an airport in Moscow. Even though my mother was tired she still became excited to finally leave Soviet Union but then came to find out that she still had a tough process to complete. When purchasing the tickets, she was informed she was missing two stamps in order to leave the country and enter Austria. To get the stamps she had to go to the Embassy but the tickets were almost all sold out. My mother asked to save her tickets but the lady informed her that there is no possibility to get two stamps in an hour. With her courage and never taking no for an answer, my mother left her son and mother and flew to the Embassy. When she arrived, the line for the stamps seemed never ending. There was a huge line outside the Embassy. Even though my mother knew it was wrong to go inside and not wait she had no choice. She explained to a KGB officer her conditions and asked if he could help her. But the officer denied her with the audacity to scream at her. My mother is one lady who never gives up, she was known for her rebellions against communism through different papers and journals. With the stress she was going through my mother fought the officer in every way until security had to escort her out. Crying on the floor my mother’s hope was destroyed. Outside there were a group of men in black suits. They approached my mother and asked for her name. At first she became hesitant, thinking they were officers and that she would be placed in prison but that was not the case. Five minutes later my mother’s name was called on the loud speaker. The man who approached my mother was an Austrian ambassador. He told my mother he was proud of her and had never saw anyone especially a young woman fight a Soviet Union officer and express her ideas to the public. The man helped my mother get her stamps, called for car service and rushed my mom back to Aeroflot. When my mother arrived the lady who had saved her tickets was in shock. The impossible became possible and my mom was finally able to purchase three tickets to Austria. Thinking that everything would be smooth from now on was just a dream for my mother. At customs my mother had to take off any jewelry she had and leave it. She had these small, golden earrings that her father once gave her but was not able to take them off. She kept trying to take them off with tears in her eyes until the officer just ripped them out from her ears. Blood dripping down her ears and tears in her eyes she remembered her last day in Soviet Union.

When my mother arrived in the United States, she met my father. They settled in an apartment on Avenue H in Brooklyn, New York.Not speaking a word of English my mother found it extremely difficult to communicate with others and find a job. But with hard work and help from friends, my mother found a job in Jasa, a home care agency and has been working there for about twenty years. My mother did go through difficulties in New York but because of the things she faced in Ukraine she was able to succeed. After having me, my parents moved to a quite Irish - Italian neighborhood, Marine Park. Now Marine Park became more diverse, with Asians and Russians. We were able to quickly adjust to suburban life and enjoy the neighborhood and the people.


Marine Park Stuart Street Brooklyn, New York 11229


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Population:       80,554


Male:             38,222
Female:           42,332


Median Age:        39.6		


Asian:            11,747
Black:            3,407
American Indian:  85
White:            57,928
Other:            174
2+ Races:         1,827
Hispanic:         5,363


Total Households:  30,599
Family Households: 21,183
Non-Family Households: 9,416

Median Household Income:

Median Household Income: $37,812 		 	
Median Family HH Income: $47,262 		
Median Nonfamily HH Income: $20,984

From Russia (to Brighton) with Love

The Russian culture has a long history and many traditions. Music, night life and cuisine carried to the United states, in particular New York City, is the basis of Russian traditions. Brighton Beach also called “Little Odessa” is the center of Russian culture. There we find Russian restaurants, culinary and clothing stores. There are many Russian restaurants, one example, Tatiana, is a classic example of a perfect night for Russians, including traditional Russian dishes, Russian music and dancing. The Russian theater tradition has always been considered one of the great theater traditions in the world, The Millennium Theater is a great oasis of Russian culture in New York. Some of the great Russian theater troupes bring their plays here. You can also catch some of the old pop stars and some of the new music acts of Russia, and Russian comedy.


Traditional Russian cuisine is an important part of Russian national culture. In times past, grain - wheat, rye, oats and millet - was the main foodstuff in Russia. Russian people were engaged in ploughing since time immemorial and so bread played a very significant part in their diet. The festive table couldn't be imagined without pies and other pasties. Pies were cooked with a cook cereals, all sorts of pancakes and baked puddings. Cattle-breeding was always popular in Russia as was hunting - hence a large choice of meat dishes included those of wild animals and fowl. Large areas covered by woods and forests, especially in the north of Russia, were abundant in berries and mushrooms and this accounted for a wealth of "gifts of the forests" on the Russian table. One should also not forget about the fish courses. Russian cuisine was renowned for diverse delicacies, especially refreshments, made of fish. At the beginning of the nineteenth century Russian cooks derived various sauces and dressings for which French cuisine was famous. These innovations became an important addition to traditional Russian spices - horse-radish and mustard. All of this undoubtedly enriches Russian cookery. Every housewife of any experience has her own recipes for pies, pickles, and sauerkraut. Even more varied is the choice of recipes for mushrooms, one of the most abundant and nourishing gifts. They are fried, pickled, salted, boiled and what not. As the Russian custom has it, a festive table isn't worth this name without a bottle of vodka. Russians are traditionally hearty drinkers, so Russian wheat vodka is the world's best. kvass is the best-known soft drink. Made of brown bread or malted rye flour, it goes down best on a sultry summer day.

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Some traditional Russian dishes that are popular on Brighton are Julien, a small mushroom casserole, the famous Russian potato salad, also known as Olivier and the well-known Ukrainian Borsht (tomato soup).


Ingredients 2 tb unsalted butter 1 pound mushrooms (any kind), cleaned, trimmed, and cut into quarters or sixths, depending on their size 1 small garlic clove, minced 2 tb thinly sliced fresh chives 1/2 c sour cream 3 tb chopped fresh parsley Salt and freshly ground pepper 3/4 c grated cheese

Method: Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté, stirring, until most of the liquid they release has evaporated and the mushrooms are nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chives and remove from the heat. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Stir in the sour cream and parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the mushrooms among 4 or 5 ovenproof ramekins placed on a baking sheet.

Salad "Olivier"


Ingredients 5 potatoes 3 carrots 4 eggs 1 pound boiled meat 1/2 pound green peas 2-3 dill pickles (you can use fresh cucumbers) salt to your taste 1/2 pound mayonnaise

Method: Boil potatoes and carrots in skin (it helps to keep vitamins), then cool them down and peel them. Boil eggs and boil meat. Chop potatoes, carrots, eggs, meat dill pickles into 1/2 inches squares. Add green peas and salt. Trust your own taste, everything must be in proportion. Stir mayonnaise only for the part of salad you are going to eat. It will be kept better without it. Mix the salad and refrigerate for a while. If you want your salad a little tender, mix a part of mayonnaise with an equal part of sour cream.

Borscht from Kiev


Ingredients STOCK 1 1/2 lb beef chuck roast boneless 1 lb beef marrow bones 1 lb ham bone meaty 1 each onion large grated 1 each carrot grated 3 qt water 1 each turnip peeled & grated 1 each celery rib w/leaves sliced 3 each dill sprigs 3 each parsley sprigs 12 each black peppercorns whole 4 each bay leaves SOUP 3 each beets large peeled grated 4 each potatos peeled and cubed 1 16 oz plum tomatos skinned & coarsely ch, opped 1 each onion large chopped 1 each carrot sliced 1 each bell pepper chopped 1/4 cup sunflower oil 1 tsp salt 4 cup cabbage shredded 3 tbsp tomato paste 6 each prunes pitted & chopped 1 tsp honey 1 tsp black pepper fresh ground 1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt 4 each garlic cloves minced 2 each bacon strips fried & crumbled 2 tbsp parlsey fresh chopped 3 tbsp dill fresh chopped


Besides the cuisine, the Russian night life is famous for its music and dancing. Many Russian and Ukranian pop stars are famous in New York City. Russian music is known for its fast beats, mainly in the techno genre. Some famous Russian celebrities who performed in the famous Millenium theater are Verka Serducka, Dima Bilan, and Alla Borisovna Pugacheva.

Verka Serduchka

Dima Bilan