МАРІЯ "МУХА" ПІДГОРОДЕЦЬКА
9-го лютого 1925р. - 22-го січня 2000 р.
Maria "Mushka" Pidhorodecky
February 9, 1925 - January 22, 2000
We regret to inform you about the passing of Maria "Mushka" Pidhorodecky, best-known as the owner of the legendary Ukrainian Village restaurant, the "Orchidia." Pani Mushka became gravely ill on January 7th, eastern-rite Christmas, and succumbed to a heart attack with complications in the early hours of Saturday, January 22, 2000.
She was born Maria Steciuk in the village Hnylychky, Ternopil Oblast, Ukraine. After her family moved to Lviv where she grew up, Maria departed for Germany in 1944. In 1948, she married Theodor Pidhorodecky and together they emigrated to the United States in 1950. Their first place of residence was in Jersey City. In 1953, they moved to New York City, and Maria obtained employment at an Italian restaurant across the street from their home. That restaurant was the "Orchidia," which the Pidhorodecky's purchased in 1956 and owned until 1984.
Orchie's, as it was known to the younger patrons, rapidly became a haven in the New York Ukrainian community. Friday nights at Orchie's were de rigueur among Plastuny after "skhodyny." It was everyone's favorite meeting place for a Saturday night out, and an Orchie's pizza Sunday after church was just the ticket for a cozy family luncheon. Ukrainians traveling to New York City from anywhere in the world knew of Orchidia, and always planned to drop in and see if any of their acquaintances were around.
Almost anytime you came to Orchidia, you would see pani Mushka sitting in the corner preparing something for the kitchen -- cleaning fresh mushrooms, chopping vegetables for soup, or concocting some combination of ingredients for the famous anything-goes "garbage pie" Incidentally, the "garbage" pizza has been memorialized by another local East-side restaurant called Two-Boots (3rd Street and Avenue A) under the name "Orchidia Pie."
Falling victim to the rising real estate prices of the 80's, Orchidia finally closed its doors in 1984. The loss to the local Ukrainian community was devastating, and no alternative sanctuary was ever found to replace Orchie's -- without pani Mushka's personal touch, no alternative would or could have been adequate.
Вічна їй пам’ять!