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May 01, 1992 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-05-01

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

NORTHGATE

Alex Zaguskin and Igor Peysin advise Leonid Nevelev.

or six wedding dresses to
choose from. Someone else
did Mrs. Zager's hair, her
nails, her makeup.
"Everybody was into it,"
Mrs. Zager said, smiling
over the memory.
People are so friendly,
many mornings Mrs. Zager

Dmitri, Valerie, Irina and Inna Zager.

24

FRIDAY. MAY 1. 1992

lets her daughters, Valerie,
9, and Inna, 17, stand at
the gate house on Green-
field Road and wait for a
passing car to take them to
Avery Elementary or to
Berkley High School.
"I let them because a lot
of Russians drive by and

give the children rides to
school," Mrs. Zager said.
"After living here, we kind
of know who everybody is.
It's that kind of neighbor-
hood."
Suddenly, emigre
families like the Zagers
have something they never
had before — a tightly knit
community, instant and in-
tense; a chance to meet in
the afternoon or evening
for a walk, a story, a heart-
ache.
Some immigrants can't
get used to it.
Serge Mikhaylovskay,
28, a medical researcher at
Sinai Hospital, found life
at Northgate stifling. He
moved out a year ago.
"It feels too much like a
Russian village or reserva-
tion," said Mr. Mikhaylov-
skay, who still comes most
nights to Northgate to visit
his parents. "This wasn't
supposed to be another
Russia."
Mr. Mikhaylovskay
thinks it's good to stay at a
place like Northgate one or
two years.
"Then, if you can, you
should leave," he said.
"The danger is that too
many Russians rely on
each other and don't try
hard enough to learn Eng-
lish."
Vadim Astrachan, 15,
and his best friend, Eugene
"G.M." Mondrusov, 15,
both left Leningrad about a
year ago. Vadirn's family
went directly into an
apartment at Northgate;

Eugene's family moved
into a house his aunt
rented for his family in
Berkley.
"We're not at Northgate
because we don't want to
live inside another Russian
city," said Eugene, a 10th- -
grader at Berkley High
School. "I want to assimi-
late into the English-
speaking community, and
you can't do that at Nor-
thgate."
Vadim, also in 10th
grade at Berkley, enjoyed
the ups and downs of being
part of the community at

Northgate is the
hub of activity, the
ultimate grapevine.

Northgate. His family liv-

ed there for a year and just
recently moved into an-
other apartment in the
nearby Lincoln Woods
complex.
"We were just there a
year, but I thought Nor-
thgate was a good experi-
ence," Vadim said. "I met
some very interesting peo-
ple."
Eugene thinks even one
year is too much. "It
reminds me of a ghetto," he
said.
In fact, living at Nor-
thgate reminded Eugene of
Brighton Beach, a
predominantly Soviet Jew-
ish area of Brooklyn, N.Y..
"You can be at Northgate
and not hear one word of

English," Eugene said.
"Once, when I was in
Brighton Beach, an Ameri-
can walked into a store,
and a Russian woman
behind the counter yelled
out in Russian, 'Who is
that foreigner?' "
Despite his concerns
about Northgate, Eugene
is quite the visitor. Usually
he comes by bike, a 15-
minute ride.
"A lot of my friends live
in the complex," Eugene
said. "When the weather is
good, we meet, ride bikes,
or watch videos."
Most of the boys are into
swapping videos.
"We have a system,"
Eugene said. "I get a video
for a couple days, then I
give it back. I can either
borrow another, or lend one
of mine out."
There are times when it's
hard to tell the visitors
from the residents. People
are constantly coming and
going, going and coming,
on foot, on bike, in cars.
It's Sunday, and lots of
young mothers are walking
their toddlers across the
grassy quads in front of the
red-and-white brick
apartment houses.
Lots of older adults are
out. You can walk
throughout the complex
without going near main
roads.
Just watch out for those
guys on roller blades.
Whoa, here comes a
speedster. He thinks he's

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