About Jamaica, Queens
- Timothy Dwight, Travels in New York and New England, 1810 Jamaica's location at the junction of the main east-west route across Long Island and the roads to Williamsburg, Rockaway, Flushing, Jericho and Hempstead insured its growth, prosperity and sophisticated air. Only ninety minutes by stagecoach to Brooklyn, which had a ferry across the East River, 19th century Jamaica residents were within easy reach of Manhattan.
By 1830, village services included a post office, prison, police and fire departments, churches, private and public schools, a circulating library, stores and craftsmen, taverns and mills. It also served as the seat for the county clerk and surrogate's office.
Today, Jamaica is a vibrant center for commerce and the arts, an important transportation hub, and one of the most ethnically diverse urban centers in the country. Explore the links to the left to learn more about our neighborhood or visit Greater Jamaica Development Corporation.
Things to do While In Jamaica
Arts & Culture
The Afrikan Poetry Theatre is a non-profit organization that provides a range of cultural, education, recreational, and social programs that celebrate African-based culture and heritage.
Black Spectrum Theater stimulates social and cultural consciousness through the production and presentation of message-oriented theatre and films, and to help children and youth develop into responsible citizens through affordable theatre arts.
The 11.5 acres that today comprise King Park are one small portion of what was once Rufus King's 150 acre farm. By 1896 when his granddaughter Cornelia died, this land was all that remained of the former working farm and landscaped estate. In 1897, the King family sold the 11.5 acres and King Manor to the village of Jamaica. When Queens County became part of the newly consolidated New York City a year later, ownership of the land and
house were transferred to the City of New York.
Historic Churches & Cemeteries
The church property once adjoined King Manor's land. Rufus King worshiped here, contributed generously to the church and became one of its wardens. Succeeding generations of the King family were also parishioners and active supporters of Grace Church; many are interred in the Churchyard.
First Presbyterian Church, 89-60 164th Street. Organized in 1662, the First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica is said to be the oldest continuously serving Presbyterian congregation in the United States. Rufus King attended the opening ceremonies for the new Sanctuary, which was built in 1813, and was very impressed with the guest minister, Reverend Milledoler of New York. In 1920, this structure was moved by logs and a mule to its current location.
First Reformed Dutch Church. was established in 1702 for Dutch merchants who settled near Jamaica; an octagonal-shaped church was erected in 1716. The congregation relocated to Jamaica Avenue and 153rd Street in 1833, where a second, Georgian-style church was built. After this structure burned in 1857, the third church was built in 1858-59 on the same site. This building was recently renovated and is now the Jamaica Performing Arts Center. In the mid-1980's, the First Reformed Church congregation settled into its present home at 159-29 90th Avenue.
Prospect Cemetery. Prospect Cemetery is one of the few remaining Colonial cemeteries in Queens. The earliest record of the cemetery dates from 1668. Its early Colonial period is marked by the picturesque tombstones of many members of the town’s prominent families, as well as several veterans of the Revolutionary War. Later additions to the cemetery are occupied by many 19th century obelisks.
Jamaica Center has a wide variety of popular restaurants and food chains. For a current list, click here.