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Editorial: Arbitration Rock

Three cheers for those who recognize the importance of preserving local history. Last week a ceremony was held to dedicate what local historians believe was the so-called “Arbitration Rock” that defined the boundary between Bushwick, or modern-day Brooklyn, and Newtown, modern-day Queens.

Using this boulder as the dividing line between the two towns allowed civic leaders in the 18th century to avoid a confrontation between the two communities, both of which later became part of New York City.

According to the GreaterRidgewood Historical Society, throughout the 1600s the two towns had an ongoing border dispute. That dispute was resolved in 1729 when the border line was officially drawn centered on Arbitration Rock.

In 1925 the boundary lines were redrawn and the rock that no longer marked the border line was lost. In 1993, William Asadorian, a librarian from the New York Public Library, began researching the rock. Because of his persistence, the city Department of Environmental Protection uncovered the boulder a year and a half ago.

So why the fuss? Queens continues to evolve. Each year thousands of new Americans, immigrants from all over the world, decide to call Queens home. It is important to preserve the borough's sense of history. If we are to make sense of where we are going, we need to be aware of where we came from.

We congratulate all of those involved in finding and preserving the Arbitration Rock.

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