New York - A Center of Russian Culture
From Russian New York
March 02, 2004

When tourists from Russia come to New York, they are amazed by the diversity of Russian culture on the western side of the Atlantic. They are fascinated by the so-called "American exotica" - skyscrapers, cocktails, Broadway theaters. But on their way towards having a civilized vacation, they realize that they actually never left Russia. Even if they did, they didn't go too far. There is a simple explanation - New York is Russians' second home.

According to the latest statistics there are 1,500,000 Russians residing in the New York City area. This makes it the seventh "Russian city" based on population after Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg and Rostov-on-Don.

Until very recently conceiving the size of Russian-speaking New York residents was relatively impossible. Previously immigrants made arduous efforts to adapt to the new way of life, and thought it could only be achieved if they fully merged with American culture, completely forgetting their past.

Some of them, on the other hand, settled in a beautiful secluded community at Brighton Beach following all the traditions of their homeland, buying yummy treats and pastries in stores that necessarily have the root "Russ" in their names, and spending warm days at a comfy beach near their house.

Now things have changed dramatically. Russian New Yorkers started to get involved in various cultural projects (some of international scope): exhibitions, film festivals, publishing, movies. The Russian language became almost official in the central offices of banks, investment companies, theaters, museums, and other public places.

Russian cultural has been expanding at astounding rates. There are 36 Russian newspapers, four TV stations and two radio channels in the city. An abundant nightlife includes a number of clubs, a group of promoters and DJs. The emergence of a bohemian strata led to the discovery of many gifted artists, writers, designers, cinematographers and, surprisingly, beautiful women.

In the recent year New York truly has become a center of Russian culture. Let us hope that the tradition will continue.

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Translated from Russian by Natalya Calhoun

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