This Santa was no pot-bellied man in a red suit.
Svelte “Sinterklaas,” the fabled bishop from Holland and the real-life inspiration behind Yuletide’s most iconic figure, arrived on horseback in East Flatbush to step off Saint Nicholas Day festivities at one of the nation’s oldest surviving structures — to a crowd of goggle-eyed children singing Dutch holiday songs.
Dressed in flowing robes, clutching a crosier and bearing not an ounce of pudge, St. Nick, a traditional winter holiday figure in the Netherlands and other Germanic parts of the world, created quite a seasonal stir when he rode up to the 17th century Wyckoff Farmhouse Museum with helper Black Piet to find out who had been naughty or nice that year, said head tour guide Lucie Chin.
The fun, educational program included a history lesson on the special guests, period music by Linda Russell and a Good Kids Book divided into naughty and nice sections for the children to sign — and for the kindly-faced man, played by actor Lou Talley, to mull over between sips of hot cider.
“We just assume that all children in Brooklyn are good kids,” added Chin, who revealed that one “child” — a 92-year-young Dutch gent visitor — couldn’t wait to put his John Hancock in the “naughty” column.
“He got in line with the kids, sang a Sinterklass song and said, ‘I’ve been very bad this year’,” she chuckled.
The revel also featured traditional seasonal refreshments, crafts and a tour of the historic facility on Clarendon Road and Ralph Avenue, a 1652 national landmark which first housed an indentured servant Dutch family and later the slaves that tilled their fields.
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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