Brighton Beach, a place like no other

Story highlights

  • Bruce Gilden spent four days photographing people at New York's Brighton Beach
  • The neighborhood is packed with colorful, energetic characters

(CNN)Bruce Gilden was tired. He's 68, and he had just returned to New York from an assignment in South Africa. Next up were England, Hong Kong, Tokyo.

Some assignments, some locations, are better than others.
    In a surprisingly warm stretch of October, the photographer shot an assignment in Brighton Beach, a neighborhood not terribly far from his apartment in Manhattan. He liked that. He could spend four days there but go home at night to see his wife and pet his cats. He knows the place well, too. He grew up in Brooklyn and Queens and spent years shooting around Coney Island.
      This stretch of Brooklyn has changed since then, as all things do, but it's still special, still a beloved place to dip a toe in the Atlantic. It maintained its individuality, Gilden says. It's not like where he lives -- the same rent-stabilized apartment in SoHo where he has stayed for decades. It changed around him into people who all seem to dress and act the same.
      "Here, a guy gets a job on Wall Street, where's the struggle?" Gilden said. "I'm not interested, visually."