Jackson Heights, Queens
82nd Street in Jackson Heights
Location within New York City
|City||New York City|
|Community District||Queens 3|
|Area code(s)||718, 347, 929, and 917|
Jackson Heights is a neighborhood in the northwestern portion of the borough of Queens in New York City. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 3. Jackson Heights is neighbored by North Corona to the east, Elmhurst to the south, Woodside to the west, northern Astoria (Ditmars-Steinway) to the northwest, and East Elmhurst to the northeast. The main ZIP code of Jackson Heights is 11372. According to the 2010 United States Census, the neighborhood has a population of 108,152.
- 1 History
- 2 Land use
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Culture
- 5 Economy
- 6 Parks and recreation
- 7 Police and crime
- 8 Fire safety
- 9 Health
- 10 Post offices and ZIP codes
- 11 Education
- 12 Houses of worship
- 13 Transportation
- 14 Notable residents
- 15 In popular culture
- 16 See also
- 17 References
- 18 Further reading
- 19 External links
From colonial times to the early 1900s, the area now known as Jackson Heights was a vast marsh named Trains Meadow. Urbanization at the turn of the century was creating a New York City housing shortage and urban sprawl. In 1909, Edward A. MacDougall's Queensboro Corporation bought 325 acres (132 ha) of undeveloped land and farms and christened them Jackson Heights after John C. Jackson, a descendant of one of the original Queens families and a respected Queens County entrepreneur. Northern Boulevard, a major thoroughfare that bisects the neighborhood, was also originally named Jackson Avenue; the name of this road is still retained in a short stretch between Queens Plaza and Queens–Midtown Tunnel in Long Island City. The addition of the term "Heights" echoed the prestige of the neighborhood of Brooklyn Heights and indicated that Jackson Heights was meant to be an exclusive neighborhood. At that time the area could most easily be reached via a ferry from Manhattan or the Brooklyn bridges; more direct access came with the Queensboro Bridge in 1909, followed by the elevated IRT Flushing Line—the present-day 7 train, just 20 minutes from Manhattan—in 1917, and the Fifth Avenue Coach Company double-decker coaches in 1922.
Jackson Heights was conceived as a planned development for middle- to upper-middle income workers looking to escape an overcrowded Manhattan. Inspired by Sir Ebenezer Howard's garden city movement, it was laid out by Edward MacDougall's Queensboro Corporation in 1916 and began attracting residents after the arrival of the Flushing Line in 1917. The Queensboro Corporation coined the name "garden apartment" to convey the concept of apartments built around private parks. Although land for churches was provided, the apartments themselves were limited to white Anglo-Saxon Protestants, excluding Jews, Blacks, and perhaps Greeks and Italians.
Several of the buildings in Jackson Heights were built by the Queensboro Corporation as part of a planned community located a few blocks off of the Flushing Line between Northern Boulevard and 37th Avenue. Targeted toward the middle class, these multi-story apartment buildings designed in the Colonial Revival and neo-Tudor styles were based on similar ones in Berlin. They were to share garden spaces, have ornate exteriors and features such as fireplaces, parquet floors, sun rooms, and built-in bathtubs with showers; and be cooperatively owned. In addition, the corporation divided the land into blocks and building lots, as well as installed streets, sidewalks, and power, water, and sewage lines. The Laurel apartment building on 82nd Street at Northern Boulevard was the first of the Queensboro Corporation buildings in Jackson Heights, completed in 1914 with a small courtyard. The Greystones on either side of 80th Street between 37th and 35th Avenues were completed in 1918 with a design by architect George H. Wells. There was leftover unused space, which was converted to parks, gardens, and recreational areas, including a golf course; much of this leftover space, including the golf course, no longer exists. This was followed by the 1919 construction of the Andrew J. Thomas-designed Linden Court, a 10-building complex between 84th Street, 85th Streets, 37th Avenue, and Roosevelt Avenue. The two sets of 5 buildings each, separated by a gated garden with linden trees and two pathways, included parking spaces with single-story garages accessed via narrow driveways, the first Jackson Heights development to do so; gaps at regular intervals in the perimeter wall; a layout that provided light and ventilation to the apartments, as well as fostered a sense of belonging to a community; the area's first co-op; and now-prevalent private gardens surrounded by the building blocks.
The Hampton Gardens, the Château, and the Towers followed in the 1920s. The Château and the Towers, both co-ops on 34th Avenue, had large, airy apartments and were served by elevators. The elegant Château cooperative apartment complex, with twelve buildings surrounding a shared garden, was built in the French Renaissance style and have slate mansard roofs pierced by dormer windows, and diaperwork brick walls. At first purely decorative, the shared gardens in later developments included paved spaces where people could meet or sit. The Queensboro Corporation started the Ivy Court, Cedar Court, and Spanish Gardens projects, all designed by Thomas, in 1924.
The Queensboro Corporation advertised their apartments from 1922 on. On August 28, 1922, the Queensboro Corporation paid $50 to the WEAF radio station to broadcast a ten-minute sales pitch for apartments in Jackson Heights, in what may have been the first "infomercial", opening with a few words about Nathaniel Hawthorne before promoting the corporation's Nathaniel Hawthorne apartments. The ad wanted viewers to:
seek the recreation and the daily comfort of the home removed from the congested part of the city, right at the boundaries of God's great outdoors, and within a few minutes by subway from the business section of Manhattan ... The cry of the heart is for more living room, more chance to unfold, more opportunity to get near Mother Earth, to play, to romp, to plant and to dig ... Let me enjoin upon you as you value your health and your hopes and your home happiness, get away from the solid masses of brick ... where your children grow up starved for a run over a patch of grass and the sight of a tree ... 
Built in 1928, the English Gables line 82nd Street, the main shopping area of Jackson Heights' Hispanic community. There are two developments, called English Gables I and II; they were meant to provide a gateway to the neighborhood for commercial traffic and for passengers from the 82nd Street – Jackson Heights station. A year later, the Robert Morris Apartments, on 37th Avenue between 79th and 80th Streets, were constructed. Named after Robert Morris, a signer of the United States Declaration of Independence, the apartments have ample green spaces, original high ceilings, and fireplaces, and are relatively expensive.
During the Depression, two new buildings were built: Ravenna Court on 37th Avenue between 80th and 81st Streets, built in 1929; and Georgian Court three blocks east, between 83rd and 84th Streets, built in 1930. The Queensboro Corporation began to build on land that until then had been kept open for community use, including the tennis courts, community garden, and the former golf course—located between 76th and 78th Streets and 34th and 37th Avenues—all of which were built upon during the 1940s and 1950s. The corporation also began erecting traditional six-story apartment buildings. Dunolly Gardens, the last garden apartment complex that Thomas built, was an exception, a modernistic building completed in 1939. The corner windows, considered very innovative in the 1930s, gave the apartments a more spacious feeling. After the 1940s, Jackson Heights' real estate was diversified, with more apartment buildings and cooperatives built with elevators; some new transportation infrastructure were also built.
Social and demographic shifts
The neighborhood grew steadily from the 1920s to the 1950s, with construction slowing during the Depression and booming back again after World War II. Holmes Airport operated from 1929 to 1940 on 220 acres (89 ha) adjacent to the community. Later, its land became veterans' housing and the Bulova watch factory site.
By 1930, artists from the Manhattan theater district, many of whom were homosexual, had moved into the area, forming the beginnings of the second largest LGTBQ community in New York outside of Manhattan.Jews were allowed to move in by the 1940s. In the 1950s, middle-class businessmen from Colombia, escaping violence and repression in Latin America, brought their financial capital and their families to the community. Following the development of Long Island in the 1960s, Jackson Heights' white middle-class families began moving further out into the suburbs. At the same time the neighborhood experienced an influx of ethnically diverse professionals from Latin America and the Indian subcontinent taking advantage of the 1965 Immigration Reform Act, which allowed them to arrange the immigration of their families. White residents' resistance to integration with African-Americans continued late into the decade, and Junction Boulevard came to be called the "Mason-Dixon Line," as it divided Jackson Heights from the black communities in East Elmhurst and Corona.
By the mid-1970s, Roosevelt Avenue had become the neighborhood's commercial center and also gained national attention as a place for organized crime. A 1993 New York Times article detailed how wire transfer services, located in Jackson Heights, inadvertently enabled Colombian cartels to repatriate, and in the process launder, millions of dollars in drug money to South America alongside customers who used the service to transfer legally earned money. The violence that ensued as a result of the growing Jackson Heights illegal drug trade was described by this excerpt from a 1978 New York magazine article titled "Gunfights in the Cocaine Corral":
Over the past three years, in this nice, quiet neighborhood, 27 people have been killed and dozens have been injured.... The violence spreads to surround neighborhoods as cops and prosecutors fight a losing battle. Double and triple homicides go unsolved.
Community leaders responded to the negative perceptions of Jackson Heights by seeking to have the neighborhood designated as a historic district. In 1988, the Jackson Heights Beautification Group was formed; it organized walking tours as well as beautification activities and commissioned a neighborhood history. Their efforts were rewarded when in 1993 Jackson Heights was made a National Register Historic District and a New York State Historic Register District.
At the same time, lawlessness continued to plague the neighborhood. In 1990, Julio Rivera, a gay Puerto Rican man, was murdered in a hate crime. His death galvanized the LGTBQ community into protesting his death with a candlelight vigil, the formation of several LGTBQ activist groups, and the foundation of the Queens Pride Parade. Two years later, journalist Manuel de Dios Unanue was murdered after authoring articles in El Diario La Prensa about the proliferation of Colombian cartels embedded within the business community along Roosevelt Avenue. Seeking to distance themselves from the portrayal of Jackson Heights as a crime-ridden neighborhood, some residents argued that de Dios had been technically murdered in the neighboring Elmhurst, as the restaurant where he was attacked was in the south side of Roosevelt Avenue. Following the reduction of crime in New York City during the late 1990s, the market for illicit substances that fed the Colombian cocaine industry in Jackson Heights eventually decreased, leading to a reduction in the presence of cartels throughout the neighborhood.
Starting in the 2000s, Jackson Heights has become once again a desirable destination for middle-class families, partly for the unique architecture of its buildings, partly for its cultural diversity.
Jackson Heights Historic District
Residential street in Jackson Heights
|Location||Bounded by Roosevelt Ave., Broadway, Leverich St., 70 St., Northern Blvd., and Junction Blvd., Queens, NYC|
|Area||300 acres (120 ha)|
|Architectural style||Late 19th and 20th Century Revivals|
|NRHP reference #||99000059|
|Added to NRHP||January 27, 1999|
Most of the original neighborhood, comprising the garden city apartment buildings, was made a National Register Historic District and a New York State Historic Register District. The Jackson Heights New York State and National Register Districts range from 93rd Street through 69th Street between Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue. Some property fronting on Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue, as well as some "cut-outs", are not inside the Register Districts. The national historic district called the Jackson Heights Historic District, includes 2,203 contributing buildings, 19 contributing sites, and three contributing objects. Among the landmarked buildings, over 200 original Queensboro Corporation apartment buildings still exist in Jackson Heights. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.
About half of the neighborhood — a rectangle stretching roughly from 76th Street to 88th Street and from Roosevelt Avenue almost up to Northern Boulevard — was designated as a New York City Historic District by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on October 19, 1993. It comprises large apartment buildings with private communal gardens, as well as many groupings of private homes and many stores on the streets surrounding Roosevelt Avenue. Unlike the State and National Districts, the local designation comes with aesthetic protections.
The main retail thoroughfare is 37th Avenue from 72nd Street to Junction Boulevard, with more retail on 73rd, 74th, and 82nd Streets between 37th and Roosevelt Avenues. Stores and restaurants on and near 74th Street tend to cater to the large population from the Indian subcontinent in the neighborhood, with sari and jewelry stores, Indian and Bengali music and movie retailers and many restaurants. 37th Avenue contains a wide mix of retailers, including many grocery stores, and 82nd Street contains many national chain stores located in Tudor-style buildings in the Jackson Heights Historic District. South American retailers and eateries, predominantly from Colombia and Peru dominate Northern Boulevard from 80th Street east to the border of neighboring Corona at Junction Boulevard. Roosevelt Avenue is also lined with various mainly Hispanic retail stores.
On Roosevelt Avenue from 74th to 108th Streets, street food from all over the world is made and sold though food carts are “currently dominated by the Mexican community.” Typical cart food includes Bangladeshi fuchka (phuchka), Middle Eastern lamb over rice, Nepalese momo, Colombian chuzos and arepas, Greek souvlaki, Ecuadorian ceviche, Thai steamed chicken over rice, and Mexican elotes (corn on a cob), tacos, homemade tamales filled with meats, cheese, fruits or even chilies, and fruit batidos or aguas frescas (smoothies) as well as South American sweet churros.
In a 2017 episode of his show Parts Unknown, American chef Anthony Bourdain visited several Queens eateries, profiling Evelia Coyotzi, who sells tamales in a street cart on Junction Boulevard, the border between Jackson Heights and neighboring Corona. Bourdain learned about Coyotzi, a Mexican immigrant who spoke no English, through the Street Vendor Project, which advocates for New York City street vendors.
Most housing units in Jackson Heights are apartments in multi-unit buildings, many of which are five or six stories. Many of these buildings are co-ops, some are rentals, and a few are condominiums. There are also a number of one- to three-family houses, most of which are attached row houses. The majority of 35th and 34th Avenues and most side streets between 37th Avenue and Northern Boulevard are residential. A section of 90th Street between 30th Avenue and Northern Boulevard was privately developed separate from the Queensboro Corporation. The structures on that stretch of 90th Street are mostly Tudor buildings.
There were five historic movie theaters in Jackson Heights, which are all currently either repurposed or closed. The Art Deco Earle Theater, opened in 1936 on 37th Road between 73rd and 74th Streets, was a neighborhood movie theater before becoming a porn theater and then, with the name changed to "Eagle," a Bollywood theater before a strike in the Bollywood industry caused the theater to close permanently in 2009; it is now a food court selling cuisine of the Indian subcontinent. The Fair Theatre, opened in 1939 at Astoria Boulevard and 90th Street, became a porn theater. The Polk Theater, on 37th (formerly Polk) Avenue and 93rd Street, opened in 1938 and closed in 2006, also was a porn theater during its later years, before it was demolished in 2008. The Colony Theater, on 82nd Street north of Roosevelt Avenue, opened in 1935 and closed in 1991. The Jackson, afterwards an Indian-owned theater under the name of the Jackson Heights Cinema, on 82nd Street south of Roosevelt Avenue, was demolished in March 2017. Finally, the Boulevard Theater, on Northern Boulevard and 83rd Street, is now a Latin-American restaurant of the same name.
Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Jackson Heights was 108,152, a decrease of 5,175 (4.6%) from the 113,327 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 1,101.36 acres (445.70 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 98.2 inhabitants per acre (62,800/sq mi; 24,300/km2). The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 17.2% (18,567) White, 2.0% (2,210) African American, 0.1% (145) Native American, 22.0% (23,781) Asian, 0.0% (9) Pacific Islander, 0.5% (583) from other races, and 1.6% (1,736) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 56.5% (61,121) of the population.
The entirety of Community Board 3, which comprises Jackson Heights, had 179,844 inhabitants as of NYC Health's 2018 Community Health Profile, with an average life expectancy of 84.7 years.:2, 20 This is higher than the median life expectancy of 81.2 for all New York City neighborhoods.:53 (PDF p. 84) Most inhabitants are middle-aged adults and youth: 22% are between the ages of 0–17, 32% between 25–44, and 24% between 45–64. The ratio of college-aged and elderly residents was lower, at 9% and 12% respectively.:2
As of 2017, the median household income in Community Board 3 was $56,601. In 2018, an estimated 25% of Jackson Heights residents lived in poverty, compared to 19% in all of Queens and 20% in all of New York City. One in fourteen residents (7%) were unemployed, compared to 8% in Queens and 9% in New York City. Rent burden, or the percentage of residents who have difficulty paying their rent, is 59% in Jackson Heights, slightly higher than the boroughwide and citywide rates of 53% and 51% respectively. Based on this calculation, as of 2018[update], Jackson Heights is considered to be high-income relative to the rest of the city and not gentrifying.:7
However, in 2017, nearly 11% of households in Jackson Heights were severely overcrowded—defined as households in which there are more than 1.5 household members for each room (excluding bathrooms) in the unit—making it the second most overcrowded neighborhood in the city, behind only Elmhurst to the south.
Jackson Heights is among the most diverse neighborhoods in New York City and the nation. Half of the population was foreign born by the 2000s. Jackson Heights is home to large numbers of South Americans (particularly Colombian, Ecuadorian and Argentinian), Indians, Pakistanis, Tibetans, Nepalese, and Bangladeshis. Most businesses are Asian- and Latino-owned, and there are restaurants, bakeries, specialty shops, legal offices, bars, and beauty salons. There is a Little India on 74th Street and a Little Pakistan and Little Bangladesh on 73rd Street. There is also a large concentration of South Americans east of 77th Street, especially a Little Colombia along 37th Avenue.
Jackson Heights was heavily Colombian during the 1980s, but other immigrant groups have settled in the area, notably Mexicans. Many of the displaced Colombians have moved to adjacent areas such as Elmhurst, East Elmhurst, Corona, College Point and Flushing. Queens County still has the largest concentration of Colombians in the United States of any county (roughly 75,000).
The word game Scrabble was co-invented by former architect Alfred Mosher Butts, who lived in Jackson Heights. There is a street sign at 35th Avenue and 81st Street that is stylized using letters, with their values in Scrabble as a subscript; it was originally erected in 1995 but disappeared in 2008, and a new sign was subsequently put up in 2011.
The Jackson Heights Garden City Society is a historical society, whose founders include local historians, the Queens Borough Historian and local activists. They created and oversee the Jackson Heights Garden City Trail and publish a walking guidebook to Jackson Heights. They also collect artifacts of the community. Periodically, the Society testifies before the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on issues of concern to the community.
Due to the lack of affordability of Manhattan neighborhoods, many LGBT actors decided to migrate to Jackson Heights starting in the 1920s. At present, Jackson Heights is the second largest gay community in New York City.
At the start many of the gay activities were held surreptitiously and at night. From the 1960s until the 1990s, the LGBT community was more secretive due to a constant fear of backlash, especially from their families. As the community continued to grow, they started adding more spaces for the gay community. One of those was the Queens Center for Gay Seniors, which was created using grant money and is still the only senior center in Queens serving the LGTBQ community specifically.
Murder of Julio Rivera
The community changed significantly after the 1990 killing of Julio Rivera, a 29-year-old bartender who worked at the Magic Touch gay bar. Rivera was raised in the Bronx, but tried to avoid the violence of the streets there, and moved to Jackson Heights as an young adult. Three men had cornered him in a schoolyard that was known as a gay cruising area and beat him with a hammer and beer bottle, and then stabbed him. At the beginning of the case, the police department categorized the assault as drug-related, because Rivera had been a longtime cocaine user and they found traces of cocaine in his body. However, after Rivera's friends and relatives advocated for the case to be examined further, the NYPD later concluded that Rivera's death had been an anti-gay crime, and the three men involved were charged with murder and manslaughter.
If it wasn’t for Julio the Queens LGBT movement would not have gotten as far as it has gotten. Julio did not die in vain. He changed people’s lives.— City Council Member Daniel Dromm, 2015
This was the first real standing for justice and honor for the LGBT community. The resulting activism led to the Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, a social services agency that helps monitor any type of criminal acts against the community citywide. Rivera's sister-in-law was elected as the AVP for the LGBT board.(Q-GLU) Union helped to improve the relationship between the Police Department and the LGBT community to support them and help with supervision against violence. In addition, the corner of 78th Street and 37th Avenue, where Rivera was killed, was later renamed in his memory, and a documentary, Julio in Jackson Heights, was made about his murder.
Since the 1990s, the LGBTQ community in Jackson Heights has not only grown in number, but also expanded its diversity and cultures. Since 1993, the annual Queens Pride Parade in Jackson Heights has been one of the biggest gatherings of celebration for the community.
1990s to present
The Inaugural Queens Lesbian and Gay Parade and Block Party Festival, organized by Daniel Dromm and Maritza Martinez, took places on June 6, 1993 in Jackson Heights, marking a watershed in LGBTQ history. Some 1,000 marchers participate, and thousands of spectators attended. More than a dozen LGBTQ organizations sponsor the event. City Council Tom Duane, Assemblywoman Deborah Glick, and activist Jeanne Manford serve as grand marshals. In 1994 Dromm and activist Wayne Mahlke organize the Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club of Queens, "the only LGBT independent Democratic club in the Borough of Queens." Also in 1994The Queens Pride Parade commemorated the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Ed Sedarbaum established the SAGE/Queens Clubhouse in 1995, the first senior citizens program in Queens to provide outreach to LGBTQ elderly. In 1999 An estimated 40,000 people attend the Queens Pride Parade with some 70 community groups registered.
On August 15, 2001 Edgar Garzon, a gay man, is murdered in an incident that the Queens district attorney characterizes as a "possible hate crime." The murder quickly faded from public attention after the September 11 terrorist attacks. In 2006, John L. McGhee was charged with Garzon's murder.
Daniel Dromm and Jimmy Van Bramer were elected to the New York City Council November 3, 2009, representing, respectively, the 25th and 26th districts Queens. They are the only openly gay City Council members from outside of Manhattan.
On June 3, 2018, 25-year-old school teacher Brandon Soriano was attacked by two men following the 2018 Pride Parade in what has been deemed a hate crime. Five days later, a Latina transgender woman was allegedly stabbed repeatedly a few blocks away.
Parks and recreation
Travers Park is the main local playground. It has a variety of sports, including basketball, tennis, baseball, soccer, and handball. In recent years, a farmers' market was expanded to a year-round presence.
There is also a park named "One Room Schoolhouse Park", named after the last one-room schoolhouse in Queens. The school was at Astoria Boulevard and 90th Street from 1879 to 1934; it became a playground in 1935 and a garden in 1992.
Prior to expansion, the P.S. 69 school yard offered baseball fields, a stickball field, a handball court and three tennis courts. Con Edison sponsored several summer tennis camps at P.S. 69's school yard from 1982-1992. In 1998, P.S. 69 built an annex to compensate for the booming population of children in Jackson Heights and the public access to the school yard was removed. However, on November 30, 2011, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other city officials opened the 200th "Schoolyard to Playground" at P.S. 69 as a part of the PlaNYC initiative to ensure all New Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk of a park or playground; the program is turning schoolyards into playgrounds in neighborhoods across the city.
Police and crime
Jackson Heights is patrolled by the 115th Precinct of the NYPD, located at 92-15 Northern Boulevard. The 115th Precinct was ranked 20th safest out of 69 patrol areas for per-capita crime in 2010. Crime has declined significantly since the late 20th century when the area was known as the "cocaine capital" of New York City. With a non-fatal assault rate of 33 per 100,000 people, Jackson Heights's rate of violent crimes per capita is less than that of the city as a whole. The incarceration rate of 342 per 100,000 people is lower than that of the city as a whole.:8
The 115th Precinct has a lower crime rate than in the 1990s, with crimes across all categories having decreased by 82.5% between 1990 and 2018. The precinct saw 3 murders, 41 rapes, 248 robberies, 368 felony assaults, 195 burglaries, 653 grand larcenies, and 149 grand larcenies auto in 2018.
Jackson Heights is served by two New York City Fire Department (FDNY) fire stations. Engine Co. 307/Ladder Co. 154 is located at 81-19 Northern Boulevard. Another fire station, Engine Co. 316, is located at 27-12 Kearney Street in East Elmhurst.
Preterm births are about the same in Jackson Heights as in other places citywide, but teenage births are more common. In Jackson Heights, there were 86 preterm births per 1,000 live births (compared to 87 per 1,000 citywide), and 27.9 teenage births per 1,000 live births (compared to 19.3 per 1,000 citywide).:11 Jackson Heights has a high population of residents who are uninsured. In 2018, this population of uninsured residents was estimated to be 28%, which is higher than the citywide rate of 12%.:14
The concentration of fine particulate matter, the deadliest type of air pollutant, in Jackson Heights is 0.0073 milligrams per cubic metre (7.3×10−9 oz/cu ft), lower than the city average.:9 Thirteen percent of Jackson Heights residents are smokers, which is slightly lower than the city average of 14% of residents being smokers.:13 In Jackson Heights, 20% of residents are obese, 13% are diabetic, and 29% have high blood pressure—compared to the citywide averages of 20%, 14%, and 24% respectively.:16 In addition, 26% of children are obese, compared to the citywide average of 20%.:12
Eighty-six percent of residents eat some fruits and vegetables every day, which is slightly lower than the city's average of 87%. In 2018, 72% of residents described their health as "good," "very good," or "excellent," lower than the city's average of 78%.:13 For every supermarket in Jackson Heights, there are 17 bodegas. Jackson Heights also has two farmer's markets.:10
Post offices and ZIP codes
Jackson Heights is covered by multiple ZIP Codes. The area between Northern Boulevard and Roosevelt Avenue is covered by 11372, while the areas north of Northern Boulevard are covered by 11370 west of 85th Street (an area stretching north to Astoria and Rikers Island) and 11369 east of 85th Street. ZIP Code 11371 is assigned to LaGuardia Airport.
The United States Post Office operates three locations in Jackson Heights:
- Jackson Heights Station – 78-02 37th Avenue
- Junction Boulevard Station – 33-23 Junction Boulevard
- Trainsmeadow Station – 75-77 31st Avenue
Jackson Heights generally has a lower ratio of college-educated residents than the rest of the city. While 27% of residents age 25 and older have a college education or higher, 30% have less than a high school education and 47% are high school graduates or have some college education. By contrast, 39% of Queens residents and 43% of city residents have a college education or higher.:6 The percentage of Jackson Heights students excelling in math rose from 41% in 2000 to 65% in 2011, and reading achievement rose from 46% to 49% during the same time period.
Jackson Heights's rate of elementary school student absenteeism is less than the rest of New York City. In Jackson Heights, 12% of elementary school students missed twenty or more days per school year, lower than the citywide average of 20%.:24 (PDF p. 55):6 Additionally, 78% of high school students in Jackson Heights graduate on time, more than the citywide average of 75%.:6
New York City Department of Education operates public schools. Schools in Jackson Heights include P.S. 69 Jackson Heights School, P.S. 149 Christa McAuliffe School, P.S. 212, P.S 222 FF Christopher A. Santora School, I.S. 145 Joseph Pulitzer School, P.S. 152, and I.S. 230.
Private schools in the neighborhood include Saint Joan of Arc School (Pre-K3 to 8 grade), Our Lady of Fatima School (Pre-K to 8 grade), Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School, a school which turned co-ed by the end of the 2012 school year, though technically located in East Elmhurst. Garden School, a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) independent school within Jackson Heights, enrolls 300 students from grades Nursery–Grade 12.
82nd Street Academics, a non-profit 501(c)(3) educational institution, is housed at the Community United Methodist Church of Jackson Heights. Since 2003, it has been a community-based Universal Pre-Kindergarten provider under contract with the New York Department of Education.
Houses of worship
The community is home to various houses of worship from a wide array of religions.
The Community United Methodist Church, located between 81st Street and 82nd street on 35th Avenue, is the oldest Church in Jackson Heights. Founded in 1919, it was dedicated in 1923 as part of Queensboro Corporation's planned development. Originally serving the spiritual needs of European-American Protestant residents, it is now the most diverse church in Queens with Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and English services. Reverend Austin Armistead, who led the church from 1974 to 1995, is credited for the church's racial and cultural change. Prior to his arrival in 1974, the suggestion of the Spanish-speaking service had been rejected. Armistead made the decision to remake the church, with a vision of mirroring the neighborhood and so divided the church into four different ministries; the church also came to serve as "common ground" for a range of community groups, from ethnic associations to LGTBQ organizations to nonprofits like the Jackson Heights Beautification Group.
Satya Narayan Mandir, located at NE corner of 76 street and Woodside Avenue, is the oldest Hindu-Sikhism combination temple in the United States (and, it claims, the Americas). It was incorporated in 1987.
Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church, located between 82nd and 83rd Street on 35th Avenue, was the first Catholic church to be named in honor of a newly canonized French Saint.
Muhammadi Community Center, located at 37-46 72nd Street, serves the Muslim population of Jackson Heights since 1995. Its head and founder is Imam Qazi Qayyoom.
St. Mark's Episcopal Church, located on 34th Avenue between 81st and 82nd Streets within the Jackson Heights Historic District, the church offers bilingual worship. It was established in 1923 as part of Queensboro Corporation's planned development. In 1993, it was designated by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission.
Jackson Heights-Elmhurst Kehillah, located in the lower level of the Jackson Heights Jewish Center at 77th Street at the corner of 37 Avenue, provides all manner of services for all residents of Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, and western Queens.
The neighborhood is the location of the Roosevelt Avenue / 74th Street transportation hub, where the New York City Subway's IRT Flushing Line (7 train) and IND Queens Boulevard Line (E, F, M, and R trains), as well as MTA Regional Bus Operations' Q32, Q33, Q47, Q49, Q53 SBS, Q70 SBS, converge. The Q32 goes to Pennsylvania Station in Midtown Manhattan. The Q70 SBS bus goes to LaGuardia Airport's Terminals B, C, and D and operates 24 hours a day, replacing the Q33 bus, which used to go to LaGuardia Airport until September 2014; the Q33 and Q49 go to East Elmhurst, while the Q70 SBS goes nonstop to LaGuardia Airport from the station. The Q47 bus goes to the Marine Air Terminal and The Shops at Atlas Park. The Q53 SBS bus goes to Rockaway Beach, Queens and Woodside LIRR station.
The MTA spent over $100 million on renovations to the facility, which were completed in 2005. It includes one of the first green buildings in the MTA system, the Victor A. Moore Bus Terminal, which is partially powered by solar panels built into the roof. These are located along the length of the sheds above the Flushing Line platforms. The former Victor Moore Arcade was demolished and rebuilt from 1998 to 2005 and became the bus terminal. It was named after Jackson Heights resident Victor Moore, a Broadway and film actor from the era of silent film to the 1950s.
Interstate 278 (Brooklyn Queens Expressway), New York State Route 25A (Northern Boulevard), and the Grand Central Parkway are major roads in the area. LaGuardia Airport, in neighboring East Elmhurst, is nearby.
Eleven percent of roads in Jackson Heights have bike lanes, similar to the rate in the city overall.:10 These lanes, part of the city's bikeway system, exist on 34th Avenue, as well as on 74th and 75th Streets between 34th Avenue and 37th Road. There is also a short one-block bike lane connector on 37th Road between 74th and 75th Streets./
- Nadia Ali (born 1980), singer-songwriter.
- Alfred Mosher Butts (1899–1993), invented Scrabble in 1938, and perfected it at Community Methodist Church.
- Chester Carlson (1906–1968), invented Xerox copy machine in his Jackson Heights kitchen.
- Robert P. Casey (1932–2000), Governor of Pennsylvania from 1987 to 1995.
- Lady Catiria, (1959–1999), drag performer.
- Thom Christopher (born 1940), longtime actor on One Life to Live.
- Eleanor Clift (born 1940), Newsweek contributing editor and regular panelist on The McLaughlin Group.
- Montgomery Clift (1920–1966), actor, moved to Jackson Heights with his family in 1933 and lived in The Chateau apartments.
- Ray Dalio (born 1949), founder of Bridgewater Associates.
- Alan M. Davis (born 1949), professor and author.
- Edward Djerejian (born 1939), diplomat, former United States Ambassador to Syria and Israel and Assistant Secretary of State.
- Albert K. Dawson (1885-1967), journalist and cinematographer during the First World War.
- Kevin Dobson (born 1943), actor, known for his roles on Kojak and Knots Landing.
- Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898–1995), photographer, lived in Jackson Heights for many years.
- Calvin Fixx (1906—1950), editor at Time magazine.
- Dave Fleming (born 1969), MLB pitcher who spent most of his career with the Seattle Mariners.
- Paul D. Ginsberg (born 1962), President of Roark Capital Group.
- Arthur Googy (born 1961 as Joseph McGuckin), original drummer for the band The Misfits.
- Bobby Hackett (1915–1976), trumpet player who played with Henry Mancini, Benny Goodman, and Louis Armstrong
- Ed Hayes (born 1947), influential lawyer, journalist, and memoirist.
- Helen Kane (1904–1966), singer, known for her baby talk version of I Wanna Be Loved by You and model for Betty Boop.
- Evelyn Fox Keller (born 1936), physicist, author and feminist, who is Professor Emerita of History and Philosophy of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
- Richard Kline (born 1944), went to IS 145 and played Jack's friend Larry on Three's Company.
- John Leguizamo (born 1964), comedian, actor.
- Willy Ley (1906–1969), space writer and theorist.
- Lucy Liu (born 1968), actress.
- Clive Lythgoe (1927–2006), classical pianist.
- Victor Moore (1876–1962), actor.
- Billy Murcia (1954–1972), original drummer for the New York Dolls.
- Colby O'Donis (born March 14, 1989), pop and R&B singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer and actor.
- Jakiw Palij (born 1923), former Nazi concentration camp guard; emigrated to U.S. in 1949, deported in 2018 at age of 95.
- Les Paul (1915–2009), jazz guitarist and guitar innovator.
- Duncan Penwarden (1880–1930), actor.
- Joe Quesada (born 1962), Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics.
- Tommy Rettig (1941–1996), actor who appeared on the 1950s Lassie television series.
- Don Rickles (1926–2017), comedian.
- Robert Tripp Ross (1903–1981), Congressman and former Assistant Secretary of Defense from 1954-1957.
- Mercedes Ruehl (born 1948), actress.
- Susan Sarandon (born 1946), actress.
- Zoe Saldana, actress
- Eddie August Schneider (1911–1940), record-setting early aviator.
- Walter Sear (1930–2010), audio engineer.
- Gene Simmons (born 1949), of the rock group Kiss.
- Howard Stern (born 1954), host of The Howard Stern Show.
- Maria Terrone, poet and writer.
- Sada Thompson (1927–2011), award-winning actress.
- Johnny Thunders (1952–1991), of the New York Dolls.
- Waddy Wachtel (born 1947), session guitarist.
- Raees Warsi (born 1963), Urdu poet, writer and TV anchor.
- Helene White (born 1954), federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
In popular culture
- Much of the Alfred Hitchcock film The Wrong Man (1956) takes place within a few blocks of the intersection of Broadway and 74th Street.
- The theme song of the TV show Car 54 Where Are You? (1961–63) has a line that goes: "There's a traffic jam in Harlem that's backed up to Jackson Heights".
- Ingrid Bergman's character Stephanie Dickinson in the movie Cactus Flower (1969) lives in Jackson Heights.
- In Cagney & Lacey (1988), the fictional character Mary Beth Lacey and her family live in an apartment in Jackson Heights.
- In Coming to America (1988), the fictional singer Randy Watson is referred to as "Jackson Heights' own".
- Part of The Usual Suspects (1995) was filmed in Jackson Heights around 34th Avenue and 82nd Street.
- Portions of Random Hearts (1999) were filmed in Jackson Heights on 35th Avenue between 76th and 77th Streets.
- Major portions of the Academy Award-nominated Maria Full of Grace (2004) were filmed on location in Jackson Heights.
- It is also the setting for the TV show Ugly Betty (2006–10), where Betty and her family live.
- Parts of director James Gray's We Own the Night (2007) were filmed between 32nd Avenue and 31st Avenue on 84th Street.
- The eponymous Pakistani drama Jackson Heights is set in this neighborhood and deals with the lives of Pakistanis living in New York City.
- The documentary film In Jackson Heights by Frederick Wiseman explores the diversity of people in the neighborhood.
- The HBO series The Night Of (2016) was partially filmed around 37th Avenue and 74rd Street.
- In the 1980s television series "Cagney and Lacey", Detective Mary Beth Lacey and her husband Harvey lived in Jackson Heights.
- Jackson Heights is mentioned in Del Amitri's song "Surface of the Moon", from the 1992 album Change Everything.
- "NYC Planning | Community Profiles". communityprofiles.planning.nyc.gov. New York City Department of City Planning. Retrieved April 7, 2018.
- Table PL-P5 NTA: Total Population and Persons Per Acre - New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas*, 2010, Population Division - New York City Department of City Planning, February 2012. Accessed June 16, 2016.
- Table PL-P3A NTA: Total Population by Mutually Exclusive Race and Hispanic Origin - New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas*, 2010, Population Division - New York City Department of City Planning, March 29, 2011. Accessed June 14, 2016.
- "Queens Community District 3". New York City Department of City Planning. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
- Walsh, Kevin (April 2006). "JACKSON HEIGHTS and EAST ELMHURST, Queens". Forgotten NY. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Marzlock, Ron. "Jackson Ave. and its namesake." Queens Chronicle. November 21, 2013. http://www.qchron.com/qboro/i_have_often_walked/jackson-ave-and-its-namesake/article_42f46894-9278-5dc2-8fd9-4b50187633dd.html
- Miyares, Ines M. (April 21, 2010). "From Exclusionary Covenant to Ethnic Hyperdiversity in Jackson Heights, Queens". Geographical Review. 94 (4): 462–483. doi:10.1111/j.1931-0846.2004.tb00183.x. ISSN 0016-7428.
- Kasinitz, Bazzi & Doane 1998, pp. 161–177
- Walsh, Kevin (April 2006). "JACKSON HEIGHTS and EAST ELMHURST, Queens". Forgotten NY. Retrieved May 14, 2015.
- Hood 2004, p. 173
- Jackson, Keller & Flood 2010, p. 3100.
- Maly 2005, p. 105.
- Karatzas, Daniel (1990). Jackson Heights: A Garden in the City. Privately printed
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- Samways, Maggie. "New York's Most Diverse Neighborhood". Time Out New York.
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- Hood 2004, p. 176.
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- Plunz 1990, p. 139.
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- "Linden Court coop buildings one of the earliest cooperatives built in 1919 in the Historic District of Jackson Heights, NY". JACKSON HEIGHTS GARDENS • Real Estate Resource.
- Urbanelli & Robins 1993, p. 3.
- Urbanelli & Robins 1993, p. 4.
- New York Landmarks Preservation Commission 2008, p. 300.
- "History of Jackson Heights - A Garden City"; originally from Jeffrey A. Saunders's The Jackson Heights Garden City Trail, published by The Jackson Heights Garden City Society, Inc.
- New York Landmarks Preservation Commission 2008, p. 299.
- Plunz 1990, p. 146.
- Urbanelli & Robins 1993, p. 16.
- Barnouw 1966, p. 110.
- Lindsay 2005, p. 339.
- Barnouw 1966, p. 111.
- "Jackson Heights". macaulay.cuny.edu. March 13, 2014. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
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- "History of Jackson Heights - A Garden City"; originally from Jeffrey A. Saunders's The Jackson Heights Garden City Trail, published by The Jackson Heights Garden City Society, Inc.
- New York Landmarks Preservation Commission 2008, p. 298.
- White, Willensky & Leadon 2010, p. 768.
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- Roleke, John. "Scrabble Avenue: Scrabble Invented in Jackson Heights". About.com.
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- Abadjian, Nick. "Inventors of Queens" Archived December 20, 2007, at the Wayback Machine, Queens Tribune, May 22, 2003. Accessed December 17, 2007. "Carlson, a Jackson Heights resident, worked as a lab researcher for a year and got laid off."
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- "Hollywood Freeway", Los Angeles Daily News, July 17, 1990. Accessed May 28, 2009. "When you grow up in the projects in Jackson Heights, in the New York borough of Queens, you don't think about having a golf and tennis tournament named after you. You only think about getting out and surviving. Kevin Dobson got out."
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I delivered the Long Island Star Journal in Jackson Heights, Queens, known as the Long Island Press on Sundays.
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- In Jackson Heights, PBS. Accessed September 11, 2017. "Frederick Wiseman's latest documentary IN JACKSON HEIGHTS shines a light on one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse communities in America, and the world."
- Matua, Angela. "HBO's The Night Of was shot all around Queens including Jackson Heights, Kew Gardens and LIC", QNS, July 19, 2016. Accessed September 11, 2017. "Naz and his family live in Jackson Heights and in the first episode we get a glimpse of the eclectic shops dotting 74th Street. Shane Haden, the location manager of the show, said that the creators wrote Jackson Heights into the show and that it was an ideal neighborhood to capture the flavor of Naz's Muslim community."
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jackson Heights, Queens.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Queens/Jackson Heights.|
- Community Board 3Q
- Jackson Heights Wiki - A neighborhood controlled, collaborative medium.
- About.com: Photos of Jackson Heights Historic District