In Brooklyn’s Little Odessa, Traditions and Memories
The Russian Reklama offered a glimpse into Brooklyn’s “Little Odessa,” where immigrants from the Ukrainian seaport gather. An excerpt from the article is translated below.
Residents of The Pearl of the Black Sea (as Odessa often called) are known for their endless optimism, cheerfulness, and great sense of humor in every situation — for their gallantry, business acumen, and bravery. Also, all of them are members of the “Odessite” brotherhood that never leave their peers in troubled times…
Because of these qualities, immigrants from Odessa were able to rebuild a new “Little Odessa” in Brooklyn where the fresh ocean breeze and the familiar Odessa accent (with new additions of Americanisms such as “mortgage” and “traffic”) remind them of their hometown.
But Odessites live not only by their memories. Safely anchored at the shores of the New World, they are trying to keep alive the best parts of “the other” life, with social events, parties, friendly discussions about everyday problems.
One such tradition is the celebration of the Day of the City in late August. This year, to mark the occasion, the ageless members of the Odessa Fraternity led by its President V. Savinkin and chairmen L. Nor and D. Tauzhnyansky went on a boat trip aboard the “Pink Lady.”
It was a party immune to boredom. There were plenty of jokes based on cultural traditions and funny anecdotes about confused non-Russian speakers in Brighton Beach stores. An actress read a story by a famous writer from Odessa, Isaak Babel. An actor performed a monologue, and an operetta singer pleased guests with her arias. And of course there was a lottery with great prizes, including magazine subscriptions, trips and concert tickets.
At the banquet table, filled with all sorts of hors d’oeuvres and huge hearty sandwiches, there were many toasts to the glory of the guests’ native city and its residents — and the pledge that in any part of the world, they remain Odessites for life.