You are currently browsing the stories about the Brighton Beach neighborhood

Trading Video Games with Beven

by 04/06/2024
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach, Featured

It was 1982, and I was in junior high school. Beven was a new kid, and I didn’t know him besides seeing him in class. He seemed OK, but quirky. Like the way he carried himself, the stains on his clothes and — most notably — the odd, beat-up briefcase he had with him at all times. While the […]

Collecting Dud Fireworks to Make M-80s

by 12/30/2023
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach

Fireworks meant many different things to me as a kid. They were what you saw on TV when Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops performed the “1812 Overture.” Fireworks showed up over Popeye’s head if he kissed Olive Oyl or if Bluto punched him in the face. On special occasions, fireworks would be in the […]

Trying to Cash in Nazi Stamps for a Millennium Falcon

by 09/23/2023
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach

In the fall of 1980, The Empire Strikes Back had already come out and while I was getting tired of my Star Wars action figures, I really, really, really wanted a Millennium Falcon spaceship playset. It was huge, cool and could fit my 3.75” action figures without issue. But at $29.99 it was expensive for a 12 year old […]

Hanging out in Tribeca in the 1970s

by 07/15/2023
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach, Tribeca

If you want to call me a cool kid, please do. You see, back in 1975 when I was seven years old ,  I visited Tribeca for the first time…with my mom and dad. We didn’t go to the Mudd Club or Artists Space or anything like that; instead we went to a factory just south […]

Bill the Burnout

by 04/29/2023
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach

I have no idea where Bill came from, but one spring, sometime in the late 1970s, he showed up and started hanging out every day on our Ocean Parkway block in Brighton Beach. He was a white guy with a red haired, frizzy Jewfro, and he wore a denim jacket. Bill would stand out there […]

The Horseshoe Crab and the Rain Collector

by 10/04/2020
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach

“If I had a dollar for every dead Subaru battery, I would be a millionaire”, the roadside assistance man tells me in a tone that is both wishful and annoyed. “Since Subaru started manufacturing their own batteries, people keep on calling. If it’s not recharged frequently, the battery will run out of juice, especially in […]

Old Lefties: An Oral History

by 04/21/2019
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach, Co-op City, Lower East Side, Ozone Park

Editor’s Note — These poems emerged out of oral histories of the American Left that Paul Buhle conducted forty years ago. They are not literal transcripts, but lyrically condense the stories he heard. Buhle traveled New York from Coop-City to Ozone Park to the Lower East Side to Brighton Beach for this project. The old […]

Carlisle the Violinist

by 09/16/2018
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach, Coney Island

On the Saturday evening of Memorial Day weekend, I found myself seated at a snow-white draped table next to a card featuring my first and last name in italicized letters. The joyous occasion was the wedding of a childhood friend. It was no different from the other weddings I’ve attended, except for a violinist, who […]

Rejoice for the Winter that Was

by 03/28/2014
Neighborhood: All Over, Brighton Beach, Central Park, Union Square

Long lines at Whole Foods in Union Square again. It feels like the Russian bread lines, but no, it’s another snowstorm shopping spree. I’m not the only one anxious about running out of food—even though the streets are always plowed before my stomach growls uncomfortably. Everyone is complaining. Too cold, windy, snowy, sleety, Too much […]

Look Homeward, Brooklyn

by 09/07/2012
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach, Gramercy Park, Long Island

We move the summer before ninth grade from our four-room apartment in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, to a four-bedroom Colonial house with a two-car garage on the south shore of Long Island. A town where every street is a drive or a place or a court. A place where kids play softball in the street and […]

In The Living Room Of The Beggar

by 04/13/2012
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach

He sat sprawled on the furthest side of the Q train, nose plumped with alcohol and ears flushed a chili-pepper red — laughing so hard his breath left two giant spheres of fog on the window. The rest of us were bunched on the other side, in an attempt to escape the stench of human […]

I Love You, U-Bet

by 03/26/2012
Neighborhood: Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, Coney Island, Sheepshead Bay

              When I was a young man—no bigger than this             A chocolate egg cream was not to be missed             Some U-bet’s chocolate syrup, seltzer water mixed             with milk             Stir it up into a heady fro—tasted just like milk             You scream, I steam, we all want Egg Cream.                                                                         […]