Jamaica, Long Island
Jamaica is a neighborhood located in the borough of Queens, Long Island, New York. It is part of Queens Community Board 12. Jamaica is a large, expansive neighborhood and also home to John F. Kennedy International Airport. It is a major station and transfer point on the Long Island Rail Road. As of the 2000 census, there were a total of 90,000 people residing in the area. It is mainly populated with whites as new Irish immigrants settled around the places known today as Downtown and Baisley Pond Park. Neighboring areas include Jamaica Estates, Jamaica Hills, Cambria Heights, St. Albans, Hollis, Queens Village, South Ozone Park, Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill, Laurelton, Rosedale, Brookville, Rochdale, Springfield Gardens, and South Flushing. Elevation is 43 feet.
In 1655, it was when the first settlers paid the Native Americans with two guns, a coat, and some powder and lead, for the land lying between the old trail and "Beaver Pond". The former and merged names of Jamaica include Rustdorp. It was took over by English in 1664, and renamed it "Jameco" for the Jameco (or Yamecah) Native Americans, and made it part of the county of Yorkshire. After several years, they divided the Province of New York into counties; Jamaica became the county seat of Queens County, one of the original counties of New York. Jamaica Village became incorporated in1814 but it was incorporated in the borough of Queens in New York City in 1898. Jamaica is the county seat of Queens County, and is the location of courthouses and other administrative buildings. Jamaica Center, the area around Jamaica Avenue and 165th Street, is now known as a major commercial center, as well as the home of the Central Library of the Queens Borough Public Library.
With many to mention, some residents in Jamaica include Cecily Adams (actress), Rafer Alston (basketball player), Shelley Winters (actress), Grafh (rapper), Milford Graves (free-jazz drummer), 50 Cent (rapper), and Lamar Odom (NBA player). Although formerly predominantly African American, the neighborhood is reported that 27.69% of the population is now Asian, 25.01% white, 24.34% other, and 22.14% black. There are today several colleges and universities make their home in Jamaica, notably York College and St. John University. Jamaica Avenue is Jamaica's busiest thoroughfare, and of course the neighborhood's namesake. The area actually begins in Brooklyn, near the boundary of the East New York neighborhood. Jamaica has great potential to be a premier business center in New York City following the examples of major redevelopment occurring in Long Island City. In fact, the New York City Department of City Planning drafted a plan that would rezone 368 blocks of Jamaica in order to motivate new development, alleviate the overwhelming traffic situation, and shift upscale amenities away from low-density residential neighborhoods. Jamaica also features low-cost housing structures occupied mainly by lower middle class families, and students attending colleges near by.