It’s funny how when you’re still sort of tangentially part of a cultural émigré pocket and you forget how cinematic all “our” stuff is, unless you’re Russian and you haven’t really been to Brighton Beach yet. That hits you like woah. It’s like stepping into a Soviet-time time capsule.

“When you walked around, people were just mean,” jokes immigrant photographer Emine Ziyatdinova who studied photojournalism in Ohio and came to visit recently. “I missed that about my country, people not being polite on the streets.”

Here’s her profile in the NYT Lens Blog. Proceed for more info. Gander up into our very Russian pool halls with the sailor-striped gentlemen, our night clubs with the tasseled butt giratings, our nooks and crannies of “particular” brand of merriment of all sorts stuffed with rosy-cheeked elderly. Sup?

Only, don’t call them all “Russians.” That’s a little something I’ve learned on my journalistic expedition there. And yes, there’s a particular brand of hostility in the air, but the nostalgia is stronger. Who wants to go get some blini, ah?