Ukrainians Take to the Streets in Manhattan – The New York Times

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New York Today
Hundreds of protesters gathered in Midtown to denounce the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In the East Village, a Ukrainian diner has gotten an “outpouring of love.”

Good morning. Today we’ll look at how Ukrainians in New York responded to Russia’s invasion. And on Staten Island, the St. Patrick’s Day parade will once again exclude L.G.B.T. groups.
With a mix of outrage and sadness, hundreds of Ukrainian New Yorkers responded to the Russian invasion of Ukraine by gathering in Midtown Manhattan to denounce the attack and condemn President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
“Stop Putin now” and “Hands off Ukraine,” a spirited group of demonstrators chanted as they gathered at noon in Times Square.
New York City is home to more than 150,000 Ukrainians, the largest such community in the country, with pockets in the East Village in Manhattan and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn. There are scattered populations throughout the five boroughs, as well as in the suburbs.
Hundreds showed up on Thursday and marched along streets clogged with weekday traffic, encouraged by cabdrivers, hot dog vendors and other workers.
“Even though I’m not from Ukraine, I support them,” said Gerald McWilliams, 55, a messenger from the Bronx who applauded the demonstrators as they marched up Seventh Avenue.
“Just because the Russians got a bigger army doesn’t mean they can just come in and take over another country,” he told me.
Leaders of the rally held up an enormous banner in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag as they headed to the Russian mission to the United Nations on the Upper East Side.
There, they joined another spirited group and broke into the Ukrainian national anthem together, as some protesters wept and hugged. Others cloaked themselves in the Ukrainian flag and chanted in English and Ukrainian.
Some, like Christina Bundziak, 21, said they feared for the safety of friends and family still living in Ukraine.
Ms. Bundziak, a student at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, took the day off from class to join the protest. She held a handmade cardboard sign bearing Putin’s name prefaced by an expletive.
“I had to do something to show any support I can,” she said.
Some demonstrators, like Michael Boyko, 30, from Hoboken, N.J., said they had been fearing an invasion for months as they watched news reports of Russian troops amassing around Ukraine’s borders. But they were nevertheless shocked at the speed and intensity of the assault.
“It’s hard to believe how quickly they’ve attacked the western cities and really the entire country,” said Mr. Boyko, whose grandparents immigrated from Ukraine. “Putin never believed in Ukraine’s own sovereignty, and what he’s doing now is just proof of that.”
The staff at Veselka, the Ukrainian diner in the East Village, said a prayer before the restaurant opened, my colleague Alyson Krueger reported.
“My grandfather always believed in a free Ukraine,” said the owner, Jason Birchard, whose grandfather opened the place in 1954 after fleeing the Soviet Union. Mr. Birchard said Veselka was “getting an outpouring of love” in recent days.
Tania Didyk, a waitress, said, “I feel bad that I am here, and my family is still there.”
“It’s been hard to work today,” she said. “Tears coming to my eyes.”
My colleague John Leland spoke to Ukrainian New Yorkers before the invasion. Some said they would willingly return to Ukraine to help with resistance efforts.
John checked in Thursday with Dora Chomiak, an activist in the Ukrainian community.
At demonstrations, “people were worried, angry and hopeful, all at the same time,” she said. “A lot of people were right on the edge of tears.”
Prepare for freezing rain, sleet and wind gusts early in the day, with a high around 40. At night, it’ll be partly cloudy with temps dropping to the low 20s.
alternate-side parking
Suspended Friday because of the wintry weather.
One of the highest-profile investigations into Donald Trump appeared to stall, but several other inquiries are in progress around the country. Here is where each notable inquiry now stands.
A federal judge on Thursday ordered a hearing into whether a juror who served in the Ghislaine Maxwell trial lied during the jury selection process.
The chair of Columbia University’s psychiatry department was suspended after suggesting on Twitter that a dark-skinned model might be a “freak of nature.”
Lawyers representing Sarah Palin in her unsuccessful defamation lawsuit against The New York Times have told a federal judge that they plan to ask for a new trial.
As the city begins to return to some semblance of its prepandemic self, the approach of March means the return of St. Patrick’s Day parades big and small.
And organizers of Staten Island’s parade are once again refusing to let gay, lesbian and transgender groups participate, my colleague Liam Stack reported.
New York City’s parade, held every March 17 on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, is the world’s oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day parade. After decades of controversy, it ended a ban on gay groups marching under their own banners in 2014.
Smaller parades across the New York region have largely followed suit in allowing L.G.B.T groups to march. But the Staten Island parade, to be held on March 6, has clung to its ban.
“Our parade is for Irish heritage and culture,” Larry Cummings, the president of its parade committee, told The Irish Voice newspaper in 2018. “It is not a political or sexual identification parade.”
The Staten Island parade draws thousands of spectators and is an important event for local families and businesses. But in recent years, elected officials have mostly boycotted it over its treatment of gay marchers.
Evacuation efforts under attack. As Russian forces continued shelling Ukraine, at least four people, including a mother and her two children, were killed outside Kyiv as they tried to get to safety. In the besieged port city of Mariupol, a planned evacuation was halted for a second consecutive day.
Protests in Russia. Amid antiwar rallies across Russia, the police said more than 3,000 people were arrested Sunday, the highest nationwide total in any single day of protest in recent memory. An activist group that tracks arrests reported detentions in 49 different Russian cities.
Military aid. The Biden administration is studying how to supply Russian-made Polish fighter jets to Ukraine. President Volodymyr Zelensky repeated his calls for NATO to enforce a no-fly zone over his country, but U.S. lawmakers in both parties said they were largely opposed to that move.
Mayor Eric Adams will not be attending. Mr. Adams has himself come under fire in recent days for appointing three men who voiced opposition to gay marriage to roles in his administration.
A spokesman for Mr. Adams, Fabien Levy, said, “We are still hopeful that the organizers of the Staten Island St. Patrick’s Day Parade will see the need for inclusion in our celebrations of cultural heritage and allow members of the LGBTQ+ community to participate.”
While they did not comment, Staten Island parade organizers made their position clear in this year’s application form, which said in boldface capital letters: “THIS PARADE IS NOT TO BE USED FOR AND WILL NOT ALLOW POLITICAL OR SEXUAL IDENTIFICATION AGENDAS TO BE PROMOTED.”
The form also said the parade committee would allow a group to march only if it “does not stand, in any way, in opposition to, or contradict, the Teachings and Tenets of the Catholic Church.”
Carol Bullock, the executive director of the Pride Center of Staten Island, has not been able to get the center into the parade.
Its applications have been rejected for years because parade organizers insisted that it promoted “a homosexual lifestyle” that violated the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church and was at odds with a celebration of Irish identity, Ms. Bullock said.
Also rejected, she told Liam, was Fire Flag, which represents L.G.B.T. employees of the New York Fire Department, and the Gay Officers Action League, or G.O.A.L, which represents law enforcement officers.
Ms. Bullock said, “You have F.D.N.Y. and N.Y.P.D. people who are protecting our community, but they can’t march in a parade.”
Next week, more than 100 employees at an REI store in SoHo will vote on whether to form a union, Gothamist reports.
With two-for-one cocktails at the Met museum and two-for-one Broadway tickets, New York arts institutions are trying to lure back locals after a long, tough winter.
Din Tai Fung, a Taiwan-based chain with locations across the globe, is opening its first location in New York City, Eater reports.
Dear Diary:
When I moved to New York, I searched for traces of my home. I carried my binoculars and the Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America almost everywhere.
When I spotted a bird I didn’t know, I looked to its genus and thought of the birds from my home who shared the same taxonomy. American birds fascinated me: the robin that hunted for earthworms by listening for their tunneling; the blackpoll warbler and its mammoth migration.
On weekends, I took to wandering around the Ramble in Central Park. I watched a juvenile red-tailed hawk hunt near the bird feeders. Not far from Park Avenue, I spotted a barred owl sleeping high up in a tree.
I am settled now, and I leave my binoculars at home. I listen to the bird calls of blue jays and Northern cardinals and think only of them. I become shocked when I forget the names of my home-country birds, like I have betrayed them in some way.
But the reverence I hold for birds remains the same. I still stop in wonder whenever I see a tiny god in the middle of Manhattan.
— Benn Jeffries
Illustrated by Agnes Lee. Send submissions here and read more Metropolitan Diary here.
Glad we could get together here. See you Monday. — C.K.
P.S. Here’s today’s Mini Crossword and Spelling Bee. You can find all our puzzles here.
Melissa Guerrero, Olivia Parker and Ed Shanahan contributed to New York Today. You can reach the team at
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