As I entered a barbershop along Brighton Beach Avenue in Brooklyn, a record screeched. A crowd of women in fur coats who donned peroxide-processed coifs glanced at me, perplexed.
"Um, do you know where I could find a good Russian Deli?" I asked. A protracted silence filled the room until one woman finally spoke up. "I don't understand," she replied with an upturned lip. Then, she fluttered her hand in my direction signaling me to leave. In Brighton Beach -- the largest Russian speaking population in the U.S. -- this wasn't an isolated occurrence of miscommunication.
While merely miles away from Manhattan, this southern Brooklyn neighborhood beside the boardwalk feels like an entirely different country. Populated by a melting pot of immigrants from the former Soviet Union (who came to America after the USSR's dissolution in 1991), Brighton Beach merits a lazy stroll to experience facets of their cultural heritage.
Tune in as my friend David Garbarskiy and I tour around town to experience Russian culture in New York City.
Video by: David Joshua Ford