Tag Archives: onderdonk house

PHOTOS: Fourth ‘Bushwig’ drag festival celebrated in Ridgewood

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos by Kelly Marie Mancuso


The sleepy, bucolic lawn of Ridgewood’s Vander Ende-Onderdonk House was awash in an array of sequins, sparkles and sky-high wigs as the fourth annual Bushwig drag festival sashayed into town over the weekend.

The festival was founded in 2012 by NYC-based drag queens Babes Trust and Horrorchata in celebration of Bushwick’s growing drag and music scene. Bushwig was originally held at Secret Project Robot on Melrose Street in Bushwick before moving to this year’s venue at the Onderdonk House.

Bushwig was inspired by pioneer drag festival Wigstock, an annual outdoor Labor Day drag festival co-founded in 1984 by Lady Bunny in Manhattan’s Tompkins Square Park. In its 20-year run, Wigstock grew in size and popularity, and was the subject of the 1987 and 1995 documentaries “Wigstock: The Movie.” The festival ended its run in 2005 as part of the Lower East Side’s Howl Festival, but returned for one night only with a Wigstock: The Cruise aboard the Sea Tea in August 2015 after a 10-year hiatus.

Wigstock co-founder and drag icon Lady Bunny was the headliner at this year’s Bushwig festival. In a symbolic gesture during her live performance, Lady Bunny passed an illuminated torch to Bushwig co-founder Horrorchata, praising Bushwig’s success.


Lady Bunny passing the torch to Bushwig co-founder Horrorchata. Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso

The rainy weather did not put a damper on the weekend’s festivities. An impressive roster of 150 drag and musical performers took to the Bushwig stage to perform in front of a packed house. Both performers and festival attendees donned an array of fashions, from Lady Bunny’s retro frock to Lady Quesa’Dilla‘s pink polka dot wiggle dress and towering crimson wig.

2015 Brooklyn Nightlife Drag Queen of the Year and Bushwig host Untitled Queen reigned supreme in a modern white ensemble complete with a mythical horned headdress and sultry black eyeliner. Dancer and performer January Bones was ethereal in white lace and pearls during her riveting performance, while Jojo Lime Green Jello looked fierce in a slinky lavender catsuit during her rendition of an Azealia Banks song.

The picnic area and trees were decorated with bouquets of large tissue paper flowers and handmade patchwork banners as a nod to the outdoor folk festivals of past generations. Festivalgoers sipped glasses of sangria and Pabst Blue Ribbon while browsing through racks of Alotta McGriddles‘ carefully curated unique vintage apparel, otherwise sold at the monthly Alotta Stuff Live Auction at the Metropolitan Bar in Brooklyn.


Bushwig revelers and performers in the picnic area of the Onderdonk House. Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso.

The 2015 festival kicked off with the glamorous Bushwig Ball at LoveGun, and was also celebrated with a series of after parties at Brooklyn venues Happyfun Hideaway and Metropolitan Bar. Bananas bearing arrows and directions to Bushwig were taped up around the neighborhood as cheeky guides to the Onderdonk House.

Director Nicolas Heller and his film crew from the critically acclaimed “Queens of Kings,” a six-episode documentary web series that follows Brooklyn-based drag queens, were also on hand to film the festivities. Watch the first season of “Queens of Kings” here.


Annual drag festival to take place at Ridgewood’s Onderdonk House

| asuriel@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Bushwig

It’ll be a real drag to see this show, but in a fun way.

Ridgewood’s Onderdonk House is gearing up to host Bushwig, the fourth annual festival of drag and musical performances in Queens.

The main event will take place on Sept. 12 and 13 from 2 to 10 p.m. at 1820 Flushing Ave. on the Ridgewood/Bushwick border. The shows during this time are appropriate for all ages and are being held outdoors, and DJ sets, BBQ, crafts, a photo booth, games and prizes are all slated to be a part of the lineup.

The festival will feature 150 drag queens with different styles and themed costumes and 20 live musical performances. Major names set to appear include Lady Bunny, No Bra, Macy Rodman and Chae Buttuh, and Mz. Bushwig 2015 will be crowned during a special ball on the night of Sept. 11 at the Lovegun club on Grand Avenue in Brooklyn.

According to Matthew Mendoza, an event planner performing under the name “Matty Horrorchata,” the show has grown considerably since its creation. This will be its first year at the Onderdonk House as part of that expansion.

Mendoza—who dubbed the show “Bushwig” after being inspired by a wig shopping trip—said that a lot of the performers had an experimental performing style. This sentiment was echoed last year in a 2014 review by The New York Times, who declared the festival to be “pushing the boundaries of drag.”

“We’re not ‘pageanty.’ It’s not traditional,” Mendoza said. “It’s newer and cutting edge.”

A full access weekend passes is $40 and is available at bushwig2015.peatix.com.


Rediscover transit history at Onderdonk House this Saturday

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Vlad Rud

Train lovers and history buffs are invited to visit the Onderdonk House in Ridgewood this Saturday for a special presentation on the city’s forgotten transit system.

Local transit expert Robert Diamond will talk about discoveries he’s made in researching Brooklyn’s past during a special lecture at 2 p.m. on May 30 at the historic Onderdonk House, located at 1820 Flushing Ave. The Greater Ridgewood Historical Society (GRHS) is sponsoring the event.

Dubbed by the GRHS as “Brooklyn’s own Indiana Jones,” Diamond will speak about his discovery 30 years ago of the long-abandoned Atlantic Avenue rail tunnel, which last saw train service in 1861. During the early 20th century, it was believed to have been used by bootleggers as an underground means to transport alcohol during Prohibition.

There were also rumors of the tunnel being used by German spies during World War I and that it may have played a role in John Wilkes Booth’s plot to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln in 1865.

Diamond, who founded the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association, will also speak about his efforts to preserve and promote the Red Hook Streetcar, a proposed revival of trolley lines once commonplace in Brooklyn and Queens during the mid-20th century.

The event is funded in part through grants allocated by City Council members Elizabeth Crowley and Antonio Reynoso through the city Department of Cultural Affairs.

Click here for more information about this event and others at the Onderdonk House.


Onderdonk House raises the roof

| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Anthony Giudice

A virtual who’s who of Ridgewood and Bushwick joined the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society (GRHS) in celebrating the completion of the historic Vander Ende-Onderdonk House’s new roof during its Raise the Roof event on Thursday night.

Those in attendance included Councilman Antonio Reynoso, Congresswoman Grace Meng, Vincent Arcuri and Gary Giordano from Queens Community Board 5, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Tom Finkelpearl, Deputy Brooklyn Borough President Diana Reyna and Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, among several others.

The push to get a new roof for the Onderdonk House, located at 1820 Flushing Ave., began in 2009 when the GRHS held a fundraiser to help get the project started.

“We were able to raise over $25,000, really pretty impressive for one night, but well short of the working estimate of over $350,000 to restore the roof,” said Linda Monte, president of the GRHS. “That’s when our super women, Diana Reyna and Elizabeth Crowley…sprang into action. They were able to add member items to the New York City Capitol Budget.”

This allowed the Onderdonk House to get the additional funding to repair the roof.

“Although we had a delay in the construction of the work, we finished this past fall, under budget,” Monte added. “Tonight is to thank you, recognize our major donors, officially declare the roof restored and have a great time.”

Guests were allowed inside the Onderdonk House to tour the restored attic to get a look at the wooden shingle gambrel roof.

During the ceremony, the GRHS dedicated a plaque to the major donors who helped fund the Onderdonk House’s brand-new roof.

“It gives me great pleasure to have joined with Council member Elizabeth Crowley to support those landmarkings for historic districts in Ridgewood,” Reyna said. “Historic preservation does not only mean preserving old buildings, it means preserving the entire identity of the neighborhood. The fact that the Onderdonk House exists is a great illustration of what we can accomplish with participation from community and government.”

In lieu of a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony, the GRHS gave each of the major donors of the project their very own hammer, which they used to ceremonially hammer in a nail of the newly constructed roof.

The Onderdonk House was built in the late 18th century and is the oldest Dutch Colonial stone house in New York City. With the help of federal, state and local funds, it was opened to the public in 1982 and in June of 1996, it was given city landmark status. The house now serves as a museum for a permanent exhibit on the archaeology of the Onderdonk site, as well as having changing exhibits relating to history, the arts and culture.


Ridgewood scout soars like an ‘Eagle’ at ceremony

| editorial@ridgewoodtimes.com

TIMES NEWSWEEKLY/Photo by Kelly Marie Mancuso


Local high school senior Andrew Goh attained the highest rank a Boy Scout can receive — the Eagle rank — during a ceremony Sunday at the Onderdonk House in Ridgewood.

Goh is a member of St. Matthias’ Boy Scout Troop 327 in Ridgewood, led by Scoutmaster Tim Karcher. Goh’s family immigrated to the United States from Malaysia and established a life in Ridgewood, where Goh attended St. Matthias School.

For the past six years, Goh has been an active member of the Boy Scouts. He was first introduced to scouting by Thomas Dowd, former president of the Friends of the Ridgewood Library, while singing in the St. Matthias Choir. 

According to Tom Dowd — who, along with his brother John, are Eagle Scouts themselves — only 5 percent of scouts nationwide achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. In its nearly 70-year history, Troop 327 has had roughly 25 Eagle Scouts, including Andrew Goh.

As part of the journey toward the Eagle Scout rank, candidates must undertake a special service project aimed at helping a local school, religious institution or the community at large. Goh chose to refurbish the Onderdonk House picnic area as part of his service project.

“I worked on it last summer,” Goh said. “We repaired several of the tables and benches that were out of use. We also sanded everything down and re-stained them.”

The ceremony included a special portion called “Lighting the Eagle Trail” in which Goh’s family and fellow scouts were invited to light a row of 12 candles. Each candle is symbolic of one of the 12 principles of the Boy Scout Oath and Law: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.

Assemblyman Mike Miller presented Goh with a special citation from the New York State Assembly in recognition of his achievement. Goh also received many honors and commendations, including a congratulatory letter from President Obama.

Troop 327 may be on its way to celebrating more Eagle Scouts in the near future. Two of Goh’s fellow scouts have achieved the rank of Life Scout and are currently pursuing their Eagle Scout titles.

Goh considers the troop’s camping trips as one of his favorite aspects of being a Boy Scout.

“The thing I like most about scouting has got to be the camping because just being able to go away for a weekend and hang out with your friends is a really nice experience,” he said.

Goh is currently a senior at Stuyvesant High School and is looking forward to his graduation in June. He will attend Princeton University in the fall, where he will study operations research, a division of applied mathematics.


Historic Ridgewood Onderdonk House finally getting roof replacement

| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

It’s finally time to raise the roof off this old house.

Work to replace the roof of the landmarked Vander Ende-Onderdonk House, the city’s oldest Dutch Colonial residence, has finally commenced after being delayed a year.

The Ridgewood site, which has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a city landmark, serves as a museum in the neighborhood and hosts public and private events during the year, including weddings. It is also the home of the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society.

However, wear and tear on the more than 30-year-old roof, caused leaks during rain and after melting of large snow accumulations.

“If you were to go up to the second floor and look up you would see a lot of daylight,” said Steve Monte, a board member of the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society. “And it would only get worse.”

The Onderdonk House, named for former owners Paulus Vander Ende and Adrian Onderdonk, served as the boundary line between the towns of Newtown and Bushwick in 1769, settling a Brooklyn-Queens dispute.

In 2009, the society hosted a fundraiser to collect money for the roof replacement. And in the 2012, capital budget former Councilwoman Diana Reyna allocated $500,000 to the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society for the project. The budget for the project is $670,000, according to Community Board 5.

While the roof is being replaced, the museum is still open to the public on Saturdays and it will continue to host events. The roof replacement is scheduled to be completed by late September.




165-year-old St. Saviour’s may have new home

| brennison@queenscourier.com

St. Saviour's

A 165-year-old church may soon receive new life.

There have been discussions to move St. Saviour’s Church to the Onderdonk House, a fellow historic Queens locale.

St. Saviour’s has searched for a new home since being deconstructed four years ago. During that time it has been warehoused in trailers in Maspeth.

Bob Holden, who has spearheaded the search, said members on the board of the Greater Ridgewood Historical Society — which runs the Onderdonk House — seemed receptive to the idea.

Holden, the Juniper Park Civic Association president and St. Saviour’s advocate, said rebuilding the church on the Onderdonk House’s land provides them with a property for wedding receptions.

“An 1847 Carpenter Gothic church would fit nicely,” Holden said. “It could conceivably raise revenue.”

The Onderdonk House is a landmarked site on Flushing Avenue in Ridgewood and serves as a museum while also holding cultural events. Officials there could not be reached for comment.

A presentation to the board of the historic house in Ridgewood will be made in the coming months. A model of the project must first be constructed. If the board approves, the plan would also need to be okayed by the Landmarks Preservation Commission.

The move would not be made until next year at the earliest, according to Holden, who noted that up to $2 million for the project has been earmarked by Borough President Helen Marshall’s office.

The Onderdonk House is just one of several choices for the church.

Other options include moving the church to a plot of land at All Faiths Cemetery or finding a spot in west Maspeth, where the church stood for more than 160 years.

Built in 1847, St. Saviour’s closed in 1995 due to a dwindling congregation. For more than a decade the church continued to stand on Maspeth Hill before deconstruction in 2008.

The main goal is just to ensure the church is rebuilt, but Holden said he knows where it belongs.

“The ideal plan is the original property,” he said. “It belongs in Maspeth.”