Friday, May 2, 2014

Jamaica, Queens: A Jewel in the Crown of NYC

Intro to...Jamaica, Queens, NYC


Baisley Pond Park, Jamaica, Queens, NYC

SIGHTSEEING IN QUEENS, NYC


Queens is one of the most challenging boroughs to navigate (you will hear Brooklyn and Bronx people loudly grumbling about how they hate to come to Queens and the feeling is mutual). It seems oxymoronic that a borough with numbered-named streets can be easy to get lost in. Not only that, Queens people tend to know only their areas, if you take a Queens person out of their neighborhood, they'd be lost. The street naming system was designed to so that we would never run out of names so it seems that the streets have the same name: 149 Street, 149 Road, 149 Place, etc. But the address system is ingenious: the first 3 numbers indicate the cross street and the last two indicate actual building number. It was GPS before there was GPS

Unfortunately, when travel guides shout-out Queens, they almost always leave out the Southeast area: Jamaica and the Rockaways. Take a chance, jump on the E train, and swing by for a visit.

1. Roy Wilkins Park: virtually a country club with an indoor pool; tennis, handball and basketball courts; fitness center; community center with events and activities; a track and the best site to see future NFL players. It's the venue of many concerts, fairs, carnivals and the home to the Black Spectrum Theatre Company and its 425 seat theater. Truly, this is one of the best parks and recreation centers in the city. Merrick Blvd between 115 Ave and Baisley Blvd. 718-276-8686.

2. Baisley Pond Park: The majestic looking August Martin High School seems to stand as a mansion over the estate that is Baisley Pond Park. Paved paths, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts surround the pond as people catch and release fish. The park actually continues across Rockaway Blvd to more tennis and basketball courts, playgrounds and a track. The feature that sets it apart are the cricket matches you are likely to see on the weekend.

3. Thomasina's: a catering hall that hosts its own events and buffets for holidays and special occasions, such as  Mother's Day, New Year's Eve, etc. www.thomasinascatering.com. 205-35 Linden Blvd, St. Albans. 718-525-5273.

4. Greater Allen AME Cathedral Church, Rev. Dr. Floyd H. Flake, Senior Pastor, a former Congressman, who has been instrumental in securing funds for more buildings and businesses along Merrick Blvd and the surrounding area. Outside of Harlem and Brooklyn, there is no stronger fellowship of interdenominational churches than Southeast Queens. Allen hosts concerts and other events in addition their usual church services and meetings. 110-31 Merrick Blvd, Jamaica. 718-206-4600. http://allencathedral.org/

5. York College, CUNY: small business workshops, lectures, plays, concerts and an athletic center. Check the website for the latest info. 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd, Jamaica (corner Liberty Ave). 718-262-2000. www.york.cuny.edu.

6. Rufus King House and Park: historic house/museum, lectures, tours, programs and events. A NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission landmark and a National Register of Historic Place, the King Manor Association focuses on the role of Rufus King and family and their role in the early ant-slavery movement. Jamaica Ave between 150 and 153 Streets, Jamaica. 


The LIRR offers reduced rates on the weekends via the City Ticket, for stops within NYC

Transportation hubs: 
~Long Island Railroad and the AirTrain JFK at Sutphin Blvd and Archer Ave, along with the E train. 
~The Jamaica Bus Terminal is at 165th Street, and Merrick Ave, where you can catch 10 different city bus lines and 6 Nassau County buses. From there you can walk to the F train on Hillside or to the E train at Parsons and Archer. www.mta.info.



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