Must-See Brighton Beach
by Laura Kusnyer, 01/01/2010
Photo: Will Steacy
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Brighton Beach Boardwalk (between Ocean Parkway and Brighton 14th Street)
Tatiana Shakhanzanova, a local singer who works in the neighborhood, relaxes on the sand every morning. "I love this place," she says. "I come from around the Black Sea, and Brighton Beach has the same weather." Perhaps what distinguishes Brighton Beach most from its next-door neighbor Coney Island, which is within walking distance, is its tranquil atmosphere. While Coney is famous for its zany, step-right-up pace and ambience, Little Odessa is more of a family place, quiet enough that seagulls can be clearly heard—along with the occasional serenade of local accordion players. Plump, shirtless men pedal bicycles leisurely on the boardwalk, frequently stopping to chat with servers at the cluster of ocean-facing restaurants between Brighton 4th and Brighton 7th Streets. Female sunbathers can be seen sporting bathing suits in a kaleidoscope of patterns and shades. Brighton Beach is ideal for a quick summer or early fall getaway. While you're there, take advantage of the area's many markets and food emporiums to pick up treats for the beach or post-sunbathing goodies for the subway ride home.