Downtown Jamaica is New York City’s gateway to the world. Best known as an established transit hub, it boasts an extensive transportation network that provides easy access to Manhattan, Long Island, and Downtown Brooklyn. Since the 2003 opening of the $350-million AirTrain Terminal, Jamaica is only an eight-minute rail ride from JFK International Airport. The AirTrain / Jamaica Station complex is served by nine LIRR lines and three subway lines (E, J and Z) with additional subway service provided by the F train at nearby Parsons Boulevard. Jamaica is already home to a variety of educational, government, healthcare, and corporate institutions. Among these are CUNY’s York College, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s regional headquarters and laboratory, the Queens Family, Civil and Supreme Courts, and the headquarters for the Long Island Rail Road.
Thanks to a significant rezoning in 2007, as well as investment in key public improvements, Downtown Jamaica is poised for commercial growth. In particular, the area around Jamaica Station has been targeted for high-density commercial and residential development.
Three million workers live within a 45-minute commuting distance to Downtown Jamaica, and more than 300,000 regional, national, and international travelers pass through the area each day. Over half a million people live, work, or use Downtown Jamaica’s commercial, educational, governmental, and transportation services on a daily basis.
Hundreds of thousands of people use Downtown Jamaica’s commercial, educational, government and transportation services on a daily basis, providing the critical mass necessary for a thriving retail community. Downtown Jamaica also has a rich cultural history and an active cultural community centered on music, food, and the arts. Once home to legendary Jazz and R&B greats, Jamaica remains a destination center for musical performances and production. It is home to the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL), the Cultural Collaborative Jamaica (CCJ), the York College Performing Arts Center, and the newly established Jamaica Performing Arts Center (JPAC), located in a landmark building on Jamaica Avenue. Together, these institutions offer a variety of cultural and arts programs including professional performances, art exhibitions, and free concerts.
Three Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) operate in the area — the Jamaica Avenue BID, the 165th Street BID, and the Sutphin Boulevard BID — providing additional sanitation, security and marketing services and responding to business interests.