Jackson Heights has one of the most culturally diverse populations in Queens. Stroll down any street and you’ll see people from all parts of the world, from Hispanic to Caucasian, African American to Native American, Tibetan to Uruguayan, and from all stations in life – rich and poor, gay and straight, young and old.
Jackson Heights is also one of the country’s first planned communities. The Garden City Movement (started in 1904) was a reaction to the overcrowded tenements and squalid living conditions of inner London and New York’s Lower East Side. The many garden apartment complexes became examples of more tasteful living.
Two historical events made the Jackson Heights neighborhood explode: In 1909, the Queens Borough Bridge opened, connecting Manhattan to Queens. In 1917, the elevated railway line (today’s #7 subway train) brought a huge influx of residents.
And what a neighborhood it is! You’ll find a neo-Georgian Post Office famous for a mural completed in 1940 by artist Peppino Mangravite. The mural was part of a Works Project Administration project. It depicts the transformation of Jackson Heights from cornfields to a Garden Community.
Architecturally, it is also diverse. There are schools built in the Flemish Renaissance style, a church in modern Gothic style, and the elegant Chateau apartment complex built in the French Renaissance style.
For a literal taste of Jackson Heights, get your salivary glands ready. There are Cuban, Peruvian and Brazilian restaurants as well as Colombian steakhouses.
On Roosevelt Avenue from 74th to 108th Streets, you’ll find food trucks from all over the world dishing up delicacies such as Middle Eastern lamb over rice, Greek souvlaki, Ecuadorian ceviche, Mexican elotes (corn on a cob), homemade tamales filled with meats, cheese, or fruits, and fruit aguas frescas (smoothies).
Jackson Heights is teeming with fun. Whether you visit a coffee shop that’s also a Japanese grocery, or the home of Alfred Butts, who invented the game Scrabble, or Jahn’s ice cream parlor with a kitchen sink sundae that has 30 scoops of ice cream and every topping imaginable, you’ll be vastly entertained wherever you go.