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It’s like a grammar school’s field day, except Queens County’s pride is on the line.

The first-ever Arbitration Rock! Battle of the Boroughs will take place at the Onderdonk House in Ridgewood on Saturday, Aug. 11, from noon to 6 p.m.

An open-enrollment, family-friendly team from Queens will match talent – and brains, brawn, and bellies – with a similar squad from Brooklyn in such activities as sack races, hula-hooping and limbo. There will also be non-athletic contests in trivia and pie-eating. Following a dance-off, the competition will end with an epic tug-of-war.

At the same time, Supermoon, a community art center in Ridgewood, will lead craft activities, including creating a pet Arbitration Rock to take home. Plus, the Ridgewood Kiwanis Club and the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council will sell grilled food with vegetarian-friendly options, and Bridge and Tunnel Brewery will pour a selection of locally themed beer.

There’s a $5 suggested donation for adults, and all participants are encouraged to wear clothing that reflects their Queens (or Brooklyn) pride.

Organizers are busy creating a big trophy that will be on prominent display inside the historic house for the whole year. They will make this an annual activity if attendance is good this time.

Located near the Ridgewood-Bushwick border at 1820 Flushing Ave., the stone Onderdonk House was built by Paulus Vander Ende, a Dutch farmer, in about 1709. The smaller wooden wing was added in the early 1800s, when the Onderdonk family purchased the estate. With federal, state and city landmark status, the property includes Arbitration Rock, which settled an acrimonious, 18th-century battle between what were the colonial townships of Newtown and Bushwick. (At the time, Newtown was a largely British-American area, while most Bushwick residents had Dutch roots.)

Finally in 1769, the legislature determined that the glacial boulder, which is about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, was the dividing line between the two neighborhoods. Eventually, the rock separated the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens before they were incorporated into New York City. Then, redrawn boundaries placed the rock entirely in Queens.

Due to subsequent road construction, it was buried and basically forgotten until it was found under Onderdonk Avenue after a seven-year hunt in 2001. The grayish-brown slab was relocated to the Onderdonk House property, where it currently sits surrounded by a white picket fence. The games will take place in the vicinity.

Image: Kevin J. Walsh/ForgottenNY


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