New York’s Ukrainian community was built through several distinct waves of immigration dating back to the second half of the nineteenth century, and expanded greatly after WWII with refugees from Displaced Persons camps. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the independence of Ukraine in the same year, a large number of multi-generational Ukrainians immigrated to the city, settling primarily in Brooklyn and Queens. Large numbers of Ukrainian Jews also immigrated to the US at the same time, many settling in the Brighton Beach area of Brooklyn. A significant community of Muslim Tatars from Crimea is centered at a mosque/social center on New Utrecht Ave. in Boro Park, Brooklyn.
The Ukrainian Wave Sustaining Cultural Initiative, led by cultural specialists Julian Kytasty (Artistic Director of the New York Bandura Ensemble) and Andriy Milavsky (leader of the Cheres ensemble), was established with the goal of building a common “cultural space” serving community members from the different waves of immigration.