News

Is Ridgewood Breaking Away from the Bushwick Scene?

by Hrag Vartanian on May 8, 2012

Our NY Times map-inspired vision of two neighborhood's breaking up. Sad.

In 2008, I wrote a story for The Brooklyn Rail titled “The Breakaway Republic of Bushwick” that outlined the emerging energy of the Bushwick scene at a time when it began asserting itself as decidedly NOT Williamsburg. Now there are signs that another splinter scene north of the ‘Wick, in the Queens’ neighborhood of Ridgewood to be precise, is expressing it’s own independence and why shouldn’t it?

With half a dozen gallery spaces (one of which, Regina Rex, participated in this past weekend’s Nada art fair), a historic 17th C. farmhouse that is hosting a sculpture show curated by Bushwick and Lower East Side gallerists Deborah Brown and Leslie Heller and the mothership of studio buildings that is 1717 Troutman, Ridgewood has all the trappings of an art scene all its own.

Now, this weekend the Queens Museum of Art is organizing a small art crawl in the arty hood and this is your chance to check it out. And, of course, the event has a Twitter hashtag: #RepQueens … is it short for Republic of Queens?

What should you expect from this fledgling Queens scene? Industrial spaces, emerging galleries, apartment spaces, DIY fabulousness, PBR and hipsters, just like in Williamsburg, East Wililamsburg, Greenpoint, I mean, Bushwick.

We’ve reached out to the Queens Museum for the comment and have yet to hear back. Are they planning a sneak attack down Flushing? Paratroopers into Maria Hernandez Park? Covert hipster partiers infiltrating Northeast Kingdom? Wait, that happens anyway. We’re not sure exactly what’s happening yet but we’ll let you know as soon as we hear back.

 

And for the history geeks out there, that big rock in the “crest” for the event flyer is “Arbitration Rock.” The large stone delineates the original 17th C. boundary between Queens and Brooklyn, but I’ll let Forgotten New York say the rest:

In the back yard of the Onderdonk House is a large rock surrounded by a picket fence. It is the official position of the Gtreater Ridgewood Historical Society that this is the hsitoric “Arbitration Rock” used to delineate the border, along the Brooklyn-Newtown Turnpike, of the borders of the towns of Bushwick and Newtown, or today’s Brooklyn-Queens line. In 1769 a large stone was used by surveyor Peter Marschalk to designate the boundary, which had been in dispute. The story goes that the rock had been left underground when Onderdonk Avenue was extended in 1930, and when the avenue was re-graded in 2000 the rock was exposed. It was moved to the backyard of the Onderdonk House the following year. The GRHS has yet to provide documentation in proof.

The recent border tensions reminded us that we actually coined the term “Bushwood” back in 2010 during our #TheSocialGraph show at Outpost Artists Resource to refer to the nebulous area of Bushwick and Ridgewood. We even added it to the Urban Dictionary.

We’ll give the last word to @MuseumNerd, who tweeted today, “Long live #Bushwood! Down with #Ridgewick!” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Maps via here and here 

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  • kvn rgn

    Well, the funny thing is that, if we want to mince hairs about borders and neighborhoods, then, very interestingly, the heart of Bushwick is not and never has been in Bushwick. It’s located in East Williamsburg. I’m referring here specifically to the 56 Bogart Building (and the lofts around the Morgan stop on the L train). The actual border between Bushwick and East Williamsburg is, in fact, Flushing Avenue. And, very interestingly, is the largely forgotten fact that the people who first started calling themselves Bushwick lived in the loft building across from the 56 Bogart building — in East Williamsburg. I’m referring here specifically to the group of friends who started Bushwick Art Project. This organization’s project (which, if I’m not mistaken, happened only two summers in a row) was an arts festival called BAPLab. And it was held in East WIlliamsburg. I didn’t attend the first of these but I did attend the second. 3rd Ward (definitely in Williamsburg) hosted it (the summer of 2006). And, it’s amused me for some time, that none of the so called original Bushwick playas (“the original scene,” the people who for the past 2 to 4 years have strongly identified themselves as Bushwick) seem to know this, remember it — or were even here! So… Anyway… 

  • smackeroni

    I’m not going to say that I live in Bushwood for obvious reasons.

  • Erik Gertsen

    the funny thing is when cells divide, they make new cells, but this is sort of a self sub-division, resulting in nothing new, which means, clearly, that the only change is in labeling , not the content, or production. the ground is the same on both sides of your creative fence-post. lines drawn out of frivolity. it is not a true cauterization. no, this is silly.
    offers nothing but the promise of ultra localized social Anesthesia.
    where is the new religion. where are the new idea(l)s. upon which ive been sold?

  • MaximusNYC

    Dude, Ridgewood is so over.  Canarsie is where the action is.

  • Arrin Crowe

    Everyone is trying to define themselves by location. In the big picture it doesn’t matter.
    Its just another big PR stunt to by the real estate industry to sell out the creatives 2 years from now.
    Next thing we will hear is that East New York is the next big thing, then Jamaica. When actually prices in the Lower East Side and Harlem are the same. Manhattan is still the shit !!!! http://www.peanutunderground.com

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