Located in the eastern part of New York City, Jamaica Queens is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood with a rich history, great attractions, beautiful parks, and delicious food.
Although it may not be as well-known as other areas of the city, Jamaica Queens has a lot to offer for visitors and residents alike. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the top things to see and do in the area, as well as provide some tips for real estate, dining, shopping, and getting around.
Whether you’re a long-time resident or just passing through, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Jamaica Queens.
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Explore Jamaica NY History
Jamaica Queens has a long and fascinating history that stretches back to the 17th century, when Dutch settlers first arrived in the area. The name “Jamaica” is believed to have been derived from the Lenape word “Yameco,” which means “beaver.” During the colonial period, Jamaica was a farming community and was known for producing wheat and other crops.
In the 19th century, Jamaica began to grow and develop rapidly thanks to the arrival of railroads and the construction of major highways. This led to an influx of new residents and businesses, including a thriving entertainment industry that included theaters and music venues.
Today, Jamaica Queens is still home to many historic buildings and landmarks that offer a glimpse into its past. Some of the top spots to check out include the King Manor Museum, which was the former home of Rufus King, a signer of the US Constitution, and the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, which has been promoting the arts in the area for over 40 years.
Must See Attractions
Jamaica Queens has a variety of attractions that offer visitors a glimpse into the area’s rich history and culture. Here are some of the must see attractions:
- Rufus King Manor House – This historic house museum is was once the home of Rufus King, a signer of the US Constitution, and now serves as a museum showcasing the history of the King family and their contributions to American history.
90-04 161st St Ste 704, Jamaica, NY 11432
- Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning -this community arts center has been promoting the arts in the area for over 40 years. The center offers a variety of programs and events, including classes, exhibitions, and performances.
161-04 Jamaica Ave, Jamaica, NY 11432
- First Presbyterian Church of Jamaica – This historic church was founded in 1662. The church features beautiful stained glass windows and a historic cemetery, and is a popular spot for visitors interested in the area’s religious history.
89-60 164th St, Jamaica, NY 11432
- Loew’s Valencia Theater – This beautiful theater is a stunning example of the area’s rich architectural history. The theater was built in 1929 and features beautiful Art Deco design elements, as well as a large stage and seating for over 3,500 people. Although the theater is no longer in use, it is still a popular spot for visitors interested in the area’s cultural heritage.
16511 Jamaica Ave, Queens, NY 11432
Jamaica Queens is home to several great parks that offer a wide range of activities and scenic spots to explore. Here are two additional parks that are worth checking out:
- Baisley Park – Located in the southeastern part of Jamaica Queens, Baisley Park is a large and scenic park that offers a variety of recreational opportunities. The park features several baseball and soccer fields, basketball courts, and a walking track, as well as a playground and picnic areas. Baisley Pond, which is located in the park, is a popular spot for fishing and birdwatching.
- Roy Wilkins Park – This large park is located in the southeastern part of Jamaica Queens and is named after the civil rights leader and former NAACP executive director, Roy Wilkins. The park features several sports fields, a playground, and a swimming pool, as well as a walking trail and picnic areas. The park also hosts several events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and community events.
Favorite Spots To Eat:
Jamaica Queens is also home to many great restaurants and eateries that offer a wide range of cuisines, from Caribbean and soul food to Chinese and Indian. Some of the most popular spots to grab a bite to eat include:
- The Door – This restaurant specializes in Jamaican cuisine. The menu includes classic dishes like jerk chicken, curry goat, and oxtail.
163-07 Baisley Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11434
- Margherita Pizza – this pizzeria is a neighborhood favorite for its delicious and authentic New York-style pizza. The toppings are always fresh and the crust is crispy and delicious.
16304 Jamaica Ave, Queens, NY 11433
- O Lavrador – This Portuguese restaurant is a hidden gem. The menu features authentic and flavorful dishes like seafood stew, grilled meats, and traditional desserts.
138-40 101st Ave, Queens, NY 11435
- Beijing Dumpling House – this restaurant is known for its delicious handmade dumplings and other Northern Chinese specialties. The portions are generous and the prices are reasonable.
88-38 Sutphin Blvd, Queens, NY 11435
- Smile of the Beyond – This vegetarian restaurant is a local favorite, serving up delicious and healthy dishes like veggie burgers, tofu scrambles, and fresh juices.
8614 Parsons Blvd, Queens, NY 11432
- Taco Truck – This food truck is a must-visit for taco lovers, serving up delicious and authentic Mexican street food.
143-2, 143-0 Jamaica Ave, Jamaica, NY 11435
- Maloney’s – This traditional Irish pub serves up hearty and delicious pub fare, including burgers, wings, and fish and chips. The bar is a popular spot for locals to grab a drink and some food with friends.
8769 Sutphin Blvd, Queens, NY 11435
Where to Shop:
Jamaica Queens has no shortage of shopping options, with everything from big-box stores to independent boutiques.
If you’re looking for a unique shopping experience, be sure to check out the Jamaica Colosseum Mall, which has over 40 stores and restaurants, including a Caribbean market and a beauty supply store.
The mall is a great place to find unique gifts, clothing, and accessories.
Jamaica Queens offers a diverse range of housing options to suit different budgets and lifestyles, from single-family homes and condos to co-ops and apartments.
The median home value in Jamaica is $557,000, which is slightly lower than the median home value in Queens as a whole, making it an attractive option for buyers looking for more affordable housing options.
Some of the most popular neighborhoods in the area include Jamaica Estates, which is known for its upscale homes and leafy streets, and South Jamaica, which is a more affordable area that is popular with first-time homebuyers.
Jamaica Queens is well-connected to the rest of the city, with several major subway lines running through the area. The E, J, and Z trains all stop at the Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer station, which is a major transportation hub that connects to other parts of the city.
If you prefer to travel by bus, there are also several bus lines that run through the area, including the Q6, Q7, Q8, and Q9 buses.
Crime and Safety:
While Jamaica Queens has seen its share of crime over the years, the area has become safer in recent years thanks to increased police presence and community involvement.
However, like any urban area, it’s important to take basic safety precautions, such as being aware of your surroundings and avoiding walking alone at night.
Jamaica Queens is a vibrant and diverse neighborhood with a rich history, great attractions, beautiful parks, and delicious food. Whether you’re a long-time resident or just passing through, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this part of the city.
From exploring the area’s cultural heritage to shopping at local boutiques and enjoying a delicious meal, Jamaica Queens is a hidden gem that is definitely worth checking out.