Little Ukraine in New York City

by Maria Binch

(FROM ARNIC Observer_Vol 1_Issue 2)

13_veselka_lglUKRAINIAN AMERICANS were present in New York City as early as the 17th century when the city was called New Amsterdam. However, the first Ukrainian mass immigration wave occurred at the end of the 19th century, coinciding with other mass European influxes into the city. The traditional locus is Little Ukraine, located within the East Village neighborhood in Manhattan.

The Ukrainian population of Little Ukraine topped out at around 60,000 residents after World War II, and subsequently dwindled. Today about a third of approximately 80,000 Ukrainian Americans living in New York City reside in Little Ukraine, which is bound by Houston and 14th Streets, and Third Avenue and Avenue A. The area is sometimes also referred to as Ukrainian Village.

In this area there are a lot of Ukrainian organizations. The two oldest and biggest of them are Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA) and Ukrainian National Federal Credit Union (UNFCU). Both of these institutions are not-for-profit. The UCCA is deeply committed to maintaining a vibrant and strong Ukrainian community within the U.S. UNFCU is an organization where all revenue generated is returned to members, with no fees on services, higher dividend rates on accounts, and more competitive loan rates.

Many influential Ukrainians from these institutions assist in improving the Ukrainian school, which is located near the Saint George Ukrainian Catholic church. Religion plays an important role for Ukrainians; therefore, in the East Village people can worship at a Catholic Church or the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

On Second Avenue everyone can visit The Ukrainian Museum and learn about the history, culture and traditions of the country. For people who are very talented in music or drama, the Ukrainian community in 1949 created the national choir “Dumka” and a few years ago, The Ukrainian Drama Studio. Dumka’s founders sought to preserve and cultivate the rich secular and religious musical heritage of Ukraine.

If you want to try Ukrainian food such as borscht, pierogies, and stuffed cabbage, you might want to visit Ukrainian East Village Restaurant or the popular and famous Veselka. These two places are not expensive but the food there is superb.

So, now you know everything about Little Ukraine in New York City. You just need to visit these places and enjoy.

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