Sunday, January 24, 2010

Brighton Beach

Yesterday morning I took the train into the city and went out to Brighton Beach, in Brooklyn. I'd never been there, and I wanted to check out this area that Neil Simon made famous in his stage play "Brighton Beach Memoirs."

When Neil Simon lived there as a boy, it was a largely Jewish community. Now it's very Russian -- perhaps still Jewish, I don't know. Many of the signs are in the cyrillic alphabet, and the stores clearly cater to the neighborhood's Russian clientele.

I was surprised not to find much graffiti, at least down at street level. (There may have been more up on rooftops, where it could be seen by the passing elevated trains.) But there was still plenty to photograph, especially with such crystal clear light and a cloudless sky. The old Russians were out on the boardwalk, taking in the sun, even with temperatures that were far from balmy.

When I was done walking around Brighton Beach I made my way west to nearby Coney Island and had a hot dog at Nathan's. Then I hopped on the train and came back to Manhattan, where I stopped by the offices of my erstwhile employer to have coffee with my friend Kenneth. Both of us lost our jobs in the most recent round of layoffs, though Kenneth is working through February -- we just traded gossip and caught up on all the drama.

Dave came into the city last night and we went to see the pianist Markus Groh and the Tokyo String Quartet at the 92nd Street Y. It was an all-Beethoven program. I've never been a huge Beethoven fan (Schroeder would be appalled!) but I particularly enjoyed Groh's performance -- from where I was sitting I couldn't see the keyboard, but I swear the guy must have four hands.


  1. I have really come around on Beethoven, having played some of his music recently and realized what a genius he is. Does it seem like you are playing tourist when you come into the city now that you ostensibly live in NJ?

  2. Lovely light in those photos.

    Re Beethoven, I'd probably not seek him out, but would happily listen if I found myself in a place where his music was playing.

  3. I used to love going out there when I lived in Brooklyn, especially in the winter. Coney Island is more mysterious then with hardly anyone there, and seeing all the elderly Russians in winter coats does make you feel like your in Odessa.

  4. Sounds like a great day! And yeah, it's important to stay current with the dramas of our lives.