New Utrecht Reformed Church
this site with Google.
Events at New Utrecht
Get to New Utrecht
NURC in the News
FRIENDS OF HISTORIC NEW UTRECHT
Eds: Pictures showing need for
repair of wood and stone structure at the church may be obtained from
Bob Buonvino at 1-718-234-9268.
BROOKLYN - If the New
Utrecht Reformed Church in
Brooklyn were to run a new flag up its famous "Liberty Pole" on Liberty
Pole Boulevard (84th Street) and 18th Avenue, it might carry the one
Recent architectural and
engineering studies have shown that repair and restoration of the
175-year-old stone and wood structure will cost $1.8 million, according
to Robert M. Buonvino, president of Friends of Historic New
Utrecht, far more than at first thought. His organization, which
provides educational and cultural activities for the youth and adults
in Bensonhurst and beyond, is looking for new ways to expand its
"We need financial help
immediately," Mr. Buonovino said, "to preserve and protect this rare
treasure among our nation's historic places. The roof and other parts
of the structure need immediate attention. At first, we thought most of
our attention could be on the bell tower."
The church building and parish
house, along with a cemetery and grounds dating back to Colonial Days,
are within the Reformed Church in America denomination (RCA), formerly Dutch Reformed. The
minister is the Rev. Terry Troia, who also is Executive Director of Project
Hospitality, a service for the
homeless and other needy on Staten Island.
While the church's "old Dutch
cemetery," itself an educational resource for high school, college
students and historians, goes back even further, the New Utrecht
Reformed Church, which still has "little Dutch doors" leading to its
pews, a magnificent pipe organ and world famous stained-glass windows,
had its beginnings in 1677.
On Aug. 26, the current church
building, dedicated in 1828 on a spot where George Washington once
visited, will be 175 years old. Much of the damage has been caused by
water, Mr. Buonvino explained. "As yet," he continued, "we have had no
success getting any grant assistance from New York State, despite all
that this American treasure has contributed as a community resource
center and as an educational source of 'living history' for school
children and adults all through the years."
He spoke of a "critical and serious
plight" confronting the landmark where hundreds of public school
students visit as part of the Friends' educational and cultural
programs each year. "We are looking to the business community, state
and federal governments, all organizations and individuals who see
value in preserving this unique Brooklyn site."
The church grounds are easily
identifiable from miles around by the "Liberty Pole" on its front lawn,
106 feet high with a "Liberty Eagle" on top. This is the sixth pole
placed there. The first went up in 1783 when the British were leaving
the shores of what was to become the United States of America.
"Immigrants arriving in Brooklyn
find visits to the New Utrecht grounds especially meaningful," said Mr. Buonvino, himself recently named to be one of the Grand Marshals of
this year's 22nd Annual Brooklyn Columbus
Parade. The Federation of
Italian American Organizations (FIAO), parade sponsor, celebrates
what it terms "the rich contributions of Italian-Americans to our
society and the dynamic vibrancy of our community here in Brooklyn"
while it "fosters brotherhood among the many ethnics in the community."
The parade has the church and its "Liberty Pole" as the terminus for
its line of march.
More information on the history of
the sections of Brooklyn that used to be in the town of New Utrecht and
on where contributions can be made toward repair and restoration of the
New Utrecht sites is available at Friends
of Historic New Utrecht,
1-718-256-7173 and 1-718-234-9268.
PR services donated by bhpr
Especially For Churches August 2003