By George…Washington that is!

January 20, 2012 Denise Romano
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George Washington, better known as Ridgeite Mike Grillo, willreturn to New Utrecht on February 7 and the Friends of Historic New Utrecht invite residents tomeet him.

Washington’s day will begin at New Utrecht High School, where hewill talk to about 700 fourth, fifth and sixth graders from localpublic, parochial and private schools.

Grillo gives a special presentation in George Washington’smilitary uniform and is escorted by two Revolutionary Warre-enactors, explained David Elligers, president of Friends ofHistoric New Utrecht, an all-volunteer organization. He talks tokids about Washington’s career and the war in its early stages,including the Battle of Brooklyn, the issues he was facing and theway the battle developed.

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Grillo, who is education director at the Van Cortlandt HouseMuseum, will then discuss the progress of the Revolution and how hecame back as the victorious general in 1783. Washington returned in1789 when he was sworn in as the first president of the countryunder the Constitution in New York, which was briefly the nation’scapital.

Grillo will also talk about how Washington had lunch at BarreTavern in April of 1790, which was at the corner of 84th Street and16th Avenue. He there greeted students from the village school.

The re-enactor will talk briefly about the items of equipmenthe had, the life of a Revolutionary soldier and what types ofammunition and rifles they carried, Elliger said, adding that themorning event will close out with a question and answer session forstudents.

The program at the New Utrecht Reformed Church parish housebegins at 7:30 p.m. and is quite similar to the morning event; onlyit’s geared towards an adult audience.

He goes into greater detail, like about the strategy of thebattle, Elliger explained.

The Friends of Historic New Utrecht have been putting on thisannual event for the past decade. Elliger said they also used tohave a re-enactment with Abraham Lincoln before the church wasrestored in 2003.

Both of their birthdays are in February. A lot of us are oldtimers and we remember celebrating both birthdays separately,Elliger said. We don’t like the idea of President’s Day.

He added that the question and answer session is a greatopportunity for history buffs. They get into all kinds of topics.Mike has been doing this for over 12 years and he learns more andmore about the role as he goes, Elliger said. It’s a veryinteresting experience.

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