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Jamaica Center: A Cultural Mecca

By Elisha Neubauer

Over three hundred businesses line Jamaica Center, making it a lively and thriving shopping destination. Founded in 1979, the concept of Jamaica Center involved four initiatives- to enhance, promote, coordinate, and advocate within the Jamaica Center Business District. Snuggled in the heart of Queens, the Center is home to three performing arts centers, historic landmarks, a park, two colleges, a major transportation hub, and hundreds of business, department stores, restaurants, and retail.

Among the historic landmarks located within the Jamaica, Queens is the famous Addisleigh Park. "Addisleigh Park, is a historic enclave where some of the most famous Black artists lived: James Brown, Lena Horn, Count Basie," states the article 'Jamaica Queens is Culture, Arts, History, Shopping.' "And the homes are still to this day up and beautiful to see, also, Rufus King Manor, the house where Rufus King lived a signer of the United States Constitution, and to this day host various arts/cultural events."

Within Jamaica are the York College and Saint John's University, as well as a YMCA, with a full service gym and unique programming for children and adults alike. The colleges offer baccalaureate degrees in professional programs such as accounting, business, computer studies, education, health, and social work, as well as a graduate program in occupational therapy.

Rounding out the cultural aspects of the vibrant Jamaica Center is an 11-acre park, Afrikan Poetry Theater, Jamaica Performing Arts Center, Jamaica Center for the Arts and Learning Center, and the Rufus King Manor Museum. "Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning is where your child will learn culture in its entirety: music, dance, art, instruments," says Valerie Stevens, Director of Operations and Business Services.

But, when it comes to shopping -- this is where the Jamaica Center takes the cake. "Jamaica Avenue is where you find authentic and trendsetting designs, affectionately known to its patrons as #TheAve - Jamaica Avenue: Where Fashion Begins and Ends," says Stevens. "Jamaica Avenue carries national syndicated furniture store Raymour and Flanigan, K&G Fashion SuperStore, Nine West Outlet and a host of boutiques with unique and diva styles, like Pretty Woman - where Long Islanders have discovered the fashion, where you get "Unforgettable styles for unforgettable memories." In addition to hosting a wide range of shopping options to choose from, Jamaica Center offers a ValueCard for extra discounts and benefits.

If you're looking to plan an event, whether private, corporate, or community related, Jamaica Center can accommodate this need as well - The Harvest Room, one of the large scale event spaces in downtown Jamaica, and holds up to 150 guests. A second option, the Jamaica Performing Arts Center, seats 400 and can be set up to accommodate any event.

As their website states, "Home to jazz legends, hip-hop greats, and an influence of cultures that spans continents, it is no wonder the streets of downtown Jamaica Queens, bursts with energy, authenticity, and style."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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