New York City is home to one of the largest Ukrainian ethnic communities in North America. Ukrainians have lived in the robust and ever-changing area known as "Little Ukraine" in the East Village neighborhood of New York City since the 1870's. Nearly 1/3 of New York City's 80,000 Ukrainians reside in the area bound by Houston and 14th Streets, and Third Avenue and Avenue A.
I am part Ukrainian through my maternal grandparents who emigrated to this country from the Ukraine in the early 1900's. Although my grandparents had settled in Pennsylvania, I'm always fascinated to visit this area in the East Village to learn more about my cultural heritage.
Saint George Ukrainian Catholic Church located at 30 East 7th Street, New York, NY had moved to its present location in 1911 from its original location on East 20th Street and First Avenue. It is recognized as a nucleus of all Ukrainian churches in the New York area. In 1978, St. George's parish built the new church structure that you see in the photo above, in a classical Ukrainian Byzantine style of architecture.
In 1940 the parish established an elementary school, and subsequently a high school, which was accredited by the State of New York. It offers the Ukrainian language as part of the curriculum.
Information from St. George's web site: "The portico of the church has a mosaic of Christ circumscribed with the words: 'Come to me all of you who labor and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.' The mural includes Ukrainians in native costume. In the background is an image of St. George Cathedral in Lviv, Ukraine and the historical Kievan St. Sophia Cathedral (Kyiv, Ukraine). Directly above the doorway of the inner entrance is a mosaic of the church's patron saint George slaying the dragon symbolizing the constant struggle between good and evil."
Across the street is Surma, "The Ukrainian Shop" Their motto is "Come into Surma and spend some time in the old country." Shall we go in?
Inside the cozy store there is a wonderful inventory of handcrafted Ukrainian goods. Here we see hand woven kilims, embroidered folk blouses and tunics, and brocaded ribbons and trims.
This display case held colorful hand painted Matryoshka nestling dolls of all sizes.
This show case contained a large assortment of handmade, and commercially made, Pysanky, which are traditional Ukrainian Easter Eggs.
Surma also sells the wax, dyes, and other supplies needed to craft your own Pransky.
They have a large selection of Ukrainian porcelains and ceramics......
......and hand-painted icons and authentic Ukrainian wood crafts.
Surma also sells English and Ukrainian language books about Ukrainian history, culture, holidays and traditions, and dictionaries. Plus they have selections of popular and classical music from the Ukraine, and greeting cards. Visiting Surma was certainly like taking a trip back to see the folk crafts of the Ukraine, and the friendly staff was very pleasant and helpful.
On my next visit to the area I hope to visit The Ukrainian Museum located at 222 East 6th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Aves., so that I can show some of its exhibits on my blog. The museum opened a new building in 2005, and its holdings of Ukrainian folk art and fine art collections include one of the most important documented collections outside of Ukraine!
I'm linking this post to Susan's "Outdoor Wednesday" event on her blog A Southern Daydreamer, and Jenny's "Alphabe Thursday" event on her blog Jenny Matlock. The letter this week is "U." Please visit both blogs and join in all the fun!