As I look forward to my short August vacation in a certain small Middle-Eastern country, I’ve been getting my beach fix here in the ultra-humid dust-mongering New York. An hour ride from the Upper West Side (on which I don’t live) is in my hate-love-hate ex-heritage sunday getaway: Brighton Beach. Time Out New York had an extensive feature on it just recently.

Brighton Beach stands out for being unabashedly Russian. But this local borscht belt welcomes anyone in the mood for unfamiliar flavors, bargain shopping and seriously over-the-top entertainment.

If you’re not keen on the mother-tongue, you can still get your “over-the-top entertainment” spilling right out of the zaftig polka-dotted tops; side by side with the tight orange speedos of the middle-aged they promise a palpable alternative to Crazy Yoseph’s fashion circle (it’s the same idea). There’re also scattered chassidim with their cigarettes and radios on the boardwalk benches, old-school-shmaltz Melrose Glatt on 2nd Brighton, and right around the corner, a massive pickles spot with awesome spicy pickled watermelon for bushier chest hair.