Not to be confused with the tropical island, Jamaica is also a
Queens neighborhood, located eastside near JFK airport. So if you were
really looking for Jamaica the island, there are some handy airplanes
Historic switches between poverty and gentrification have left
Jamaica with a diverse population. African Americans have a slim
population majority, but the area also includes residents from Asia and
remnants of a once populous Jewish community.
In the last decade, a serious interest in redevelopment and a
convenient location near the airport has put this neighborhood on track
for attracting business and development. Jamaica Center, the major
transportation hub, includes subway access, the Long Island Rail Road,
and the AirTrain that travels to JFK International Airport.
To capitalize on Jamaica Center, the NYC Dept of City Planning has rezoned
the surrounding area to prepare for a commercial boom. This being said,
the NYC subway only services the northern border of the neighborhood
near the transit hub, so residents living in the rest of the gigantic
neighborhood need alternative form of travel. The nearby Van Wyck
Expressway and LIRR offer some relief.
The signature Tudor homes of Jamaica are slowly giving way to new
types of construction. Zoning restrictions regulated building height
and density to some degree, but lack of landmark status leaves many
older homes relatively unprotected. This is good news for people who
want to do major renovation or rebuilding, but bad news for those
worried that development in Jamaica is out-of-control.