Sam Shlivko

Growing up in the Russian community in Coney Island and Brighton Beach

Sam Shlivko
Interview Date:
November 19, 2017



Born in 1986, Brooklynite Sam Shlivko grew up in the Russian community in Coney Island and has lived here ever since.  His parents met in Brighton Beach after emigrating from Ukraine and Belarus in the late '70s and Russian was his first language. He describes the adjacent neighborhoods as one big Russian melting pot and the Boardwalk as a connector of people.  "If you go on the Boardwalk you're one hundred percent guaranteed to see somebody you know to strike up a conversation," says Shlivko, who adds that "the Grandmas run this little neighborhood of ours," providing a sense of comedic relief as they play matchmaker. He shares memories of Coney Island after Hurricane Sandy and contrasts what he describes as his romanticized view of his neighborhood with the dystopian way it's portrayed in Darren Aronofsky's movie Requiem for A Dream. An attorney by profession, Shlivko's specialty is personal injury cases and he prides himself on giving his clients, many of whom are members of the immigrant community, peace of mind.  For Shlivko, who says "my whole life has been a one hour commute," it's worth it because the peace and quiet allows him to re-boot by running on the Boardwalk and listening to the sound of the wind and the waves.