This is just a small portion of a series of murals that are being painted, refined, and repainted at the former Exxon - Mobil gas station in Huntington, Long Island, NY, located on 26A & Park Avenue.
Erich Preis, a local muralist and friend of the late Lenny Tortura Jr., was approached by Dominic Mavellia, the property owner, to enhance the exterior.
Jane Spalholz, a friend of Erich's, and a presidential portrait painter took on the job of rendering George Washington and his horse.
I wandered over to the gas station to see what Erich was doing, during March, and asked if I could help out since I live in the neighborhood.
Mural painting was not something that I was comfortable with so I asked if I could work on the background figures and trees.
I painted a group on the right side of the large "Lenny Parade" mural. Still I was very stiff, but getting more comfortable.
Erich, on the other hand, was excellent with large compositions and went to town each day alternating between two murals, "Waving Lenny" and "Parade Lenny."
The man had a vision, and Jane come on board to paint Washington.
We needed this portrait to represent the historic event which probably occurred on the gas station property. On April 23, 1790, George Washington did a Victory Tour of Long Island. He made a loop over the course of three days going out as far as Stetauket, stopping in Smithtown and later on his was to Oyster Bay, had lunch in the Widow Platt's Tavern, here in Huntington. The tavern's location was in the next property, where the Park Avenue Deli stands, but there were barns on the gas station property.
Since Washington traveled with a carriage and horses, they were most likely tethered there. 3000 people, everyone who lived in the town, came out to see "the great man." Washington gave a short speech to the crowd.
News12 came to interview Erich about the murals and about the building in Copiague, which is intended to help shelter homeless veterans. Here Ken Grimball, speaks with Erich.Joshua Toor, son of the Newsday writer Joye Brown, came to help out, after school.