Monday, October 01, 2007

Shche Ne Vmerla (Mala) Ukrayina - (Little) Ukraine has not yet died!

Sunday's City Section of the New York Times included an article (and a video on the website) by Adam B. Ellick about the Ukrainian luncheonette in the East Village across the street from St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church on 7th Street at Taras Shevchenko Place.

Local Ukrainian women have run the luncheonette for more than 30 years as a way to raise money for the church and its school. According to the Times, they manage to turn varenyky (pierogies), borsht and holubki into as much as $80,000 each year.

The luncheonette closed last spring after the deaths of four of the women, but reopened on 9 September - and will be open Fridays through Sundays for the forseeable future.

The women's resilience is much appreciated not only by local Ukrainians but also by other Slavs of New York. Once a major center of Ukrainian, Polish and Carpatho-Rusyn life, the East Village has lately been losing much of its Slavic character.

Leshko's closed in 1999, followed by Kiev in 2004. And on 1 June this year, Teresa's Polish restaurant on First Avenue closed due to high rent, according to Fr. Christopher Calin of the 2nd Street Cathedral.

Photo: Joe Fornabaio for The New York Times

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