BRIGHTON BEACH ETC.
Oh yes I went there! SPOILERS AHEAD....
I met my friend Ivona in Brighton Beach when I was in the early stages of writing Clean Break.
The boardwalk is empty in winter. It's gorgeous:
We had a bite to eat and a drink at Tatiana's, where our Ukrainian waiter flirted with Ivona. He's the one who told us that Russians wouldn't drink a toast with beer -- just vodka or cognac. Then we walked around the neighborhood.
Above: A basement apartment of the type that Lane ends up living in for a good part of the book. Graffiti'd service stairs and a ground-level window with bars on it. Mrs. Pasternak tells me that the plywood costs extra.
Above: Palace Fried Chicken is an actual place on Brighton Beach Avenue, under the elevated subway tracks. It smelled good outside.
Above: Single-family house on a side street. It had many, many satellite dishes.
Above: The neighborhood's Russian / Ukrainian roots.
Wait - have you clicked on the Tatiana's link yet? You must click.
Mitsuwa is a real store in Edgewater, New Jersey. It's a HUGE Japanese supermarket / food-court and it's amazing.
Walking towards Santouka (in the back).
Ordering ramen at Santouka.
This is the little stand where they make filled yaki cakes. The fish-shaped yaki are filled with sweet red bean paste, but I'm partial to the circles...
Yaki cream cake. It's like a Belgian waffle filled with vanilla custard. Stop me before I eat more of them!