New Utrecht Reformed Church
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Historic New Utrecht
Eds: Photos of the inside of the church undergoing restoration can be obtained
from Robert Buonvino, 1-718-234-9268.
BROOKLYN - A local historical organization has been notified that New
York State is granting $300,000 toward the restoration and repair of a
unique Brooklyn building that until recently served as a "living history
center" for thousands of New York City school children.
"This grant is for us a 'ray of hope,'" said Robert Buonvino,
president of the Friends of
Historic New Utrecht, a group of volunteers from many walks of life
interested in promoting and preserving Brooklyn's cultural and educational
"This is the break we have been looking for," Mr. Buonvino said of the
recent announcement by Gov. Pataki that state funds will be used toward external
renovation of the New Utrecht
Reformed Church, between 83rd and 84th Sts. on 18th Ave., in Bensonhurst.
The church building, on a site where George Washington once visited, dates from
1828. The church, formerly Dutch Reformed and now in the Reformed
Church in America (RCA), was founded in 1677. Until late 2003, the building,
with its historic architecture, stained-glass windows and pipe organ, has housed
numerous public school programs, many centering on the early history of the
"In this 'cultural-educational shrine,'" the historian said, "we
have brought together thousands of school children, placing them in a setting
that 'cries out' with the kind of knowledge it is essential for them to
experience. Many of them are children of immigrants new to this country.
Brooklyn always has been a home to people looking for the freedom our nation is
Republican State Sen. Martin Golden
also praised the governor and state
parks commissioner for recognizing "the need to keep historic places
like this available to the community."
Architects and engineers put the cost of repair and restoration of the Brooklyn
and national landmark at $1.8 million.
Concerning the need for much more funding, in addition to the state
Environmental Protection Fund grant, Mr. Buonvino said, "We are asking that
everyone concerned about passing on our legacy here in Brooklyn
participate." He has urged assistance not only from state, city and federal
lawmakers but also from private organizations and individuals.
People interested in learning more about Brooklyn's early history and
participating in the restoration are invited to call 1-718-256-7173 or log onto www.historicnewutrecht.org.
Also, inqueries may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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