George Subraj: A Short History of Jamaica, New York

May 3, 2013


George Subraj is president of Zara Luxury Apartments & Homes,
which owns and provides property management for numerous rental units in
Jamaica, New York

First settled under Dutch rule in 1656,
Jamaica, New York, derives its name from the language of the Lenape
Indians, who populated the area. The word Yameco in Lenape means beaver,
of which a large population lived in the aptly named Beaver Pond, now
called Baisley Pond. Because beaver pelts were a primary form of
currency at the time, a village quickly grew around the pond, located
less than a mile north of what is today John F. Kennedy International

As time went on, the area became extremely attractive
to settlers and merchants because of Jamaica Bay. A shallow tidal
estuary that today cannot support the large modern vessels that dock in
New York Harbor, nevertheless accommodated the shipping of the time.

Today, Jamaica is a thriving community in the heart of the New York City
borough Queens. Coincidentally, it is home to many thousands of
immigrants from the Caribbean island nation of Jamaica, although there
is no relation between the two names. The community today is home to a
truly international mix of ethnicities, including immigrants from the
West Indies, India, the Middle East, the Dominican Republic, Russia, and
the Philippines. In addition, there are sizeable African-American and
Puerto Rican enclaves in Jamaica.


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