What I like about the Russian-speaking community in New York
It seems to me that no one scolds the “Russians” of New York more than me. Perhaps I see in others what I want to get rid of myself. Therefore, I criticize all “ours” mercilessly. And we avoid each other - we heard Russian speech, and immediately displeased faces and are silent; and we love to settle our parents in free apartments, while we are worried that others will not get it anymore; and shouting at children in public places; and are rude to each other ... In general, often I'm just merciless.
But in fact, in fact, the Russian-speaking community has a lot of positive qualities. Did they appear because our community is very international and each contributed something of his own? Or can this symbiosis of qualities be called general, because it was inherited by us all from the USSR? Never mind. It is important that we have something to praise ourselves for.
1. We improve the area in which we live. And we are talking about global changes. The simplest and most famous example of this is the metamorphosis that happened to Brighton. The heyday of this area came in the early twentieth century. Then this place was considered elite, crowds of townspeople and tourists came here to play in the casino, swim and eat deliciously. However, the Great Depression got here too. The area fell into decay. And quite quickly those who could not afford more or less decent housing began to settle here. And so on for almost forty years. In the early 70s, when Soviet Jews began to populate this area, they knew that they were settling not just in a dangerous place, but where they could literally lose their lives. This area was then one of the poorest in New York. But whether the Soviet Jews thought that it would not be worse than in the Soviet Union, or because the presence of the ocean nearby overpowered fear - it's no secret that we like to settle near water. Either because the city authorities did not offer much other options, but living in Brighton was cheap and, therefore, affordable, “ours” began to populate the coastal area - a gloomy, dirty place where white emigrants were not at all happy.
“We literally went out to fight crowd on crowd,” a local old-timer Mark, who settled in Brighton in 1973, told me. - Only our crowd of Jewish boys consisted of about twenty or thirty, and there were usually two or three times more. We made our own brass knuckles, we bought dog collars and sharpened them, made them the same size as the hand. It's scary to remember.
There is a wonderful photo of Karl Glassman, which perfectly describes the situation on Brighton at that time - a graffiti-painted subway carriage, in which two are sitting - a Jew with the newspaper Novaya Russkoe Slovo and an African-American woman, who, judging by her expression, is not very happy with this. neighborhood.
And no matter how miserable today Brighton seemed to us, believe me, today it doesn’t closely resemble what it was before “ours” came here.
2. We change lives for the better and in the details. Did you notice that it costs us to live somewhere, and rather quickly a small shop with “Russian” food appears in the area, then a pharmacy with Russian-speaking pharmacists, ascorbic and “Zvezdochka” balsam. Then “our” beauty salon, advertisements on the fences about the very best tutors of the very same mathematics that is not taught in American schools. And here real estate and apartment rentals are getting more expensive, the rating of local schools is growing, and in front of the houses not cheap old cars are parked, but new black Mercedes cars.
Yes, “our” districts often look specific, but they are definitely not the worst in the city. They are safe and there is always a delicious smell of food.
And let this kind of prison often be for those who could not assimilate into “real” America. But after all such people are in any community. But, even those who do not speak English are completely independent and self-sufficient in our areas - here they can work, be treated, go to lawyers and beauty salons, and all this without knowing English. In our area we will buy the same recipes for children, do the same manicure and steam with a broom in a real bathhouse. Should this be annoying?
3. We are successful for the most part. Even those Russian-speaking people who are in the United States illegally manage to settle in and not just live, but also send money home. What can we say about those who are legal and have learned the language. According to statistics from the research institute RINA, about 85% of Russian speakers from 22 to 65 years old work full-time. At the same time, 9% of “Russian” families, where at least one person works, have an income of more than $ 150,000 per year. According to the same data, 24% of “Russian” families where at least one person works have an income of over $ 90,000 a year. And this despite the fact that we are still new here. People from our diaspora did not have time to accumulate wealth - there was nothing to save from: fees for children's colleges and payments for houses ate up everything that was earned. At the same time we were able to taxi and swim, and on the whole we were successful. There are many doctors, businessmen, lawyers, teachers among us ... Photos with “our” faces can be found, for example, in the New York subway - there are students of city colleges and the guy who found a dangerous bag in the subway and called the police. Among us is a journalist who sent the world's first tweet from under the water, a police hero, and a millionaire philanthropist ...
4. We ourselves love to learn, and make children do it. If many children from the former USSR study in an ordinary city school in New York, then, most likely, it has a good rating. We torture our children with circles, sections, classes with and without tutors - so that Americans sometimes ask with horror: why are you depriving your children of childhood? Some people compare us to the Chinese, who are known for their demanding attitude towards children. Perhaps we really did not go far from them. On the other hand, it's nice to see “our” faces on a variety of pedestals. For example, in prominent middle schools Mark Twain и Bay academy A lot of "Russian" children. We are full in prestigious universities and in competitions of various kinds.
5. We are a very bright community. Such a number of languages within one community is not, perhaps, no one else, except people from Africa. So many nationalities and religions - too. I remember how a new teacher came to our English courses - a very young girl. She looked around us all and asked: "Are you sure you are all Russian?" The class burst out laughing. Among us were a husband and wife from Kalmykia, a girl from Buryatia, an Armenian who grew up in St. Petersburg, and other no less colorful representatives of the community, which the teacher designated with one word “Russians”. There are an incredible number of polyglots among us. And we are filled with knowledge about other cultures, traditions and rituals.
6. We remain true to tradition - and it's touching. For example, on March 8, in Russian-speaking areas, flowers are sold at every corner, in Russian-speaking offices, women are especially beautiful, and men are especially gallant. The New Year in our performance is not just bright, it is unforgettable. KVN, “What? Where? When? ”, Similar to“ Brain-ring ”- we are devoted not only to holidays, but also to intellectual entertainment. And is it bad when in a country where the New Year is not considered something special, there are also those for whom the smell of tangerines, the movie "Enjoy Your Bath", salad "Olivier" and fireworks at 12:05 are as important as for you?
7. We love to give gifts and never come to visit empty-handed - here even it is not necessary to finish anything.
8. We love cultural life. We have our own theaters, our stars, we are happy to go on tour performances and performances of writers and poets.
9. We are people with an active citizenship. Yes, we have not been so united for a long time, as before, and from time to time, and often at all on opposite sides of the barricades. But what we don’t take away from all of us is the activity: we willingly participate in the political and civic life of the United States, and also of the countries from which we came. We go to rallies and demonstrations, we vote in presidential elections, we love meetings with politicians ...
10. Judging by the number of print media, we are the most reading community in the US. By the number of newspapers, magazines, channels on YouTube, etc. we are overtaking even the Hispanic diaspora, although the latter far outnumbers us in numbers. We are not far behind the number of radio stations, the number of bloggers and journalists. Books in Russian are in all Brooklyn libraries. Our community is full of its own writers, whom we read with pleasure.
11. Among our Russian-speaking friends, we always have someone to be proud of. For example, I’m friends with a trainer who watches the figures of Hollywood stars, an architect who is currently designing one of the airport’s terminals, a former Russian cosmonaut who in the US moves confidently at NASA ... and so on and on.
Of course, quite a bit of time will pass, and Ukrainians, Uzbeks, Tajiks will finally get rid of the Russian-speaking community ... Once we will definitely stop merging for the Americans in a motley, but still a single whole. But for now we are all pieces of the same mosaic. We are Russians and can not say that it is so bad.
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