Jamaica, originally known as ‘Rustdorp’ by Dutch settlers, is home to Jamaica Station, a major commuting stop on the Long Island Railroad, as well as JFK International Airport, one of the most frequented and busiest international airports in the world. This close proximity to two of the city’s most heavily trafficked transportation hubs have played a major role in the growth of Jamaica’s bustling population.
This population, which was largely composed of Irish Americans throughout the early parts of the 20th century, is now predominantly African American, Caribbean and Hispanic. This diversity is reflected in the neighborhood’s many restaurants. Sybil’s Bakery, a neighborhood staple, offers traditional Caribbean fare such as their delicious Guyanese beef patties.
Jamaica is home to the King Manor Museum and Rufus King Park. This National Historic Landmark was the home of Rufus King, a former New York Senator, who was also a signer of the U.S. Constitution and soldier of the American Revolution. The house and its grounds have been made into a museum and a park, both of which are now open to the public. Visitors are welcome to an inside look at Rufus King’s world through a guided tour of his family manor.