New Utrecht Reformed Church
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Events at New Utrecht
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NURC in the News
BROOKLYN - "Walt
Whitman" comes back to Brooklyn Saturday, May 31 for "Liberty Weekend,"
Brooklyn's annual salute to the American flag at the New Utrecht Reformed
Church where he will read some of his famous
poetry starting at 2:15 p.m.
The three-day event begins Friday when
hundreds of city school children will be given tours of the historic sites in
"old New Utrecht" and visit a Civil War encampment near Liberty Pole Blvd. (84th
St.) and 18th Ave. in Bensonhurst. Much of the early history of the United
States is found in the area where the nation's only remaining Liberty Pole still
Blaine Ford, an impersonator of Whitman, is making
his second appearance at New Utrecht where at last year's "Liberty Weekend" he
also wore a full beard and dressed like the poet, just as he does before other
audiences at schools, libraries and club organizations.
Brooklyn connections began when he was four years old and his family moved from
their Long Island farm. He attended public schools in Brooklyn, off and on,
until he was eleven, when his formal education came to an end. Later,
Whitman began a career as a printer and journalist, and by 1841 he was a
full-time journalist, writing prose and verse. He was editor of the Brooklyn Daily
Eagle. In 1855, his first edition of Leaves of
Grass was published in Brooklyn.
highlights of "Liberty Weekend" announced by Angela Sarro, events coordinator
for the Friends of Historic New Utrecht,
include a "Concert Under the Stars" on the church lawn Saturday at 7:45 p.m. by
the all-city high school ISO Orchestra under the direction of
Brian P. Worsdale. This year's activities celebrating freedom as symbolized by
the flag are dedicated to Americans now in uniform and to veterans, Mrs. Sarro
On Friday, May 30th, the school children will walk amidst the Civil
War encampment erected on the church grounds by the 14th Brooklyn Regiment
Company H. The encampment is open to the public on Saturday, May 31st and
Sunday, June 1st. Both days tours will be given at the church's 1654 cemetery,
at 85th St. and 16th Ave., at 10 a.m. Also on Saturday at 10 a.m., a historical
display will be presented in the church Parish House.
Church tours will
be given at 12:30 p.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. Sunday. The church, formerly Dutch Reformed, was
founded 326 years ago. Like its Parish House, it is famous for its architecture
and stained-glass windows.
On Sunday, the Rev. Terry Troia, the church's
minister, will lead an all-faith worship service at 11 a.m. in honor of U.S.
troops past and present. At 1 p.m., a processional will be conducted from the
church to the cemetery for a service (1:20 p.m.) led by Chaplain George
Munkenbeck of the re-enactors' organization at the monument of Revolutionary War
General Nathaniel Woodhull. His remains are buried in Mastic, Long Island.
Concluding ceremonies in observance of the 220th anniversary of the
raising of the New Utrecht Liberty Pole will be held on the church front lawn at
2 p.m. This is the sixth pole on the site; the first dated back to the
evacuation of the British.
Persons interested in learning more about the
history of "old New Utrecht," which now consists of Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge,
Dyker Heights, Fort Hamilton, Boro Park and parts of Gravesend and Sunset Park,
may contact the Friends historic group at 1-718-256-7173.