New York City‘s Little Ukraine has been the beating heart of the city’s Ukrainian population since the mid-twentieth century. Beginning with an influx of Ukrainian immigrants as a result of World War II, roughly 150,000 Ukrainians call NYC home today. The Ukrainian Village (or as some call it, Little Ukraine) is a small subsection of the East Village, more or less spanning the area between 1st and 3rd Avenue and 6th and 7th Street.
The community there boasts a vibrant cultural food scene and many institutions that support Ukrainians. While Little Ukraine has sadly seen a decreasing population due to the gentrification of the neighborhood and fewer Ukrainian immigrants than there were following WWII, there is still plenty of cultural beauty to discover in this little piece of Manhattan.
The Ukrainian Village has no shortage of fantastic cultural fare, and perhaps its most popular spot is Veselka at 144 2nd Ave. Veselka has been serving authentic Ukrainian cuisine to New Yorkers since 1954, with a variety of classics including pierogi, beef stroganoff, and goulash. During the first year of the war in Ukraine, Veselka donated 100% of the profit from sales of its infamous borscht and raised $350,000 for Ukrainian relief efforts. It is now offering a new alternative with its “Stand with Ukraine Bowl, ” which comes with two potato, two meat, and two sauerkraut and mushroom pierogis topped with chopped bacon, grilled kielbasa, and caramelized onions. All proceeds will once again be donated. Check Veselka out not only to try its delicious food but also to support the bigger cause for the Ukrainian community.