The future is looking bright in downtown Jamaica. There is every indication that the commercial areas that have so long been depressed are on the rebound. Thanks to the AirTrain, which will begin service to the downtown next year and the new multiplex cinema, Jamaica is a boomtown.
The rebirth has been a long time coming and it will benefit everyone. The new stores will bring new jobs and shopping opportunities. Residents living in southeast Queens should no long feel compelled to travel to Nassau County to do their shopping.
But as excited as we are about the changes taking place in downtown Jamaica, we dont see its potential as a tourist destination. Try as we might, we cannot imagine a family in Cleveland packing up the minivan and heading for the bright lights of southeast Queens. It isnt going to happen.
There are a few places in the city that draw tourists, including the Bronx Zoo, the Aquarium, Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium and Arthur Ashe Stadium. But what is it in Jamaica that will draw tourists? Nothing. And thats OK.
The challenge was never to make Jamaica a tourist mecca. The real goal is to keep people who live here from going someplace else to spend their money.
©2002 Community News Group
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