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Jackson Heights offers a taste for every palate

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To say there is a taste for every palate right next door is more than just a cliche, because here in the heart of Queens it is true. You want sports? Shea Stadium and the U.S. Tennis...

By Eric L. Jacobs

Tri-Communities of Corona, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights

To say there is a taste for every palate right next door is more than just a cliche, because here in the heart of Queens it is true. You want sports? Shea Stadium and the U.S. Tennis Association are here. You want art? For visual you can have the Queens Museum of Art and for theater there is Queens Theater.

Lions, eagles and chickens live at the Queens Zoo, while roses reside at the Queens Botanical Garden. And the Hall of Science will stimulate your mind and entertain your children.

And if you are looking for even more sensory stimulation, the brilliant colors of 74th Street’s Sari palaces or the architecture of the Jackson Heights Historic District might be what you crave. As for your taste buds, would you prefer Delhi Palace, Natives or the cool refreshment of Lemon Ice King of Corona?

All of these plus many more reside in Corona, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights. And this year the Jackson Heights Community Development Corp. is intent on getting out that message.

After Sept. 11, 2001, many Queens hotels were feeling the pinch of lower occupancy, because people were not visiting the city.

La Portena, an Argentine restaurant in Jackson Heights, is one of the area’s many unique places to eat. In order to rebuild the tourism industry, much attention focused on Manhattan. Special deals and discounts centered on Manhattan, leaving behind Queens’ tourist destinations. So there needed to be a plan.

The Jackson Heights Community Development Corp. began to develop a plan, working with the Uni-Five, a coalition of the cultural institutions in Flushing Meadows Corona Park (the New York Hall of Science, Queens Botanical Garden, Queens Museum of Art, Queens Theatre, Queens Zoo), and the Queens Tourism Council — a project of Borough President Helen Marshall — as well as Discover Queens, a project of the Queens Economic Development Corp.

Why not market the combined attractions of the Tri-Communities area? The first stage is the development corp.’s new Web site, jacksonheightscdc.org, which provides information about the area and links to the many attractions. The second step will be other forms of publicity to illustrate how accessible the area is and how easy it is to eat, shop and take in the cultural sites there.

Part of this plan includes the creation of a free trolley that would link the shopping districts, hotels and cultural institutions. The trolley will be a project of the Queens Museum of Art.

But that’s not all the development corp.’s members are planning. It has just completed a study of Corona Plaza, a shopping district at Roosevelt Avenue and 103rd and National streets. From their findings, they are advocating for increased capital and other spending to help improve the district.

The development corp. has also been working with merchants on 74th Street toward the establishment of a business improvement district, and through funding from Assemblyman Ivan Lafayette (D-Jackson Heights) they are building a children’s center.

For more information about the area or the Jackson Heights Community Development Corp. in particular, visit its Web site, jacksonheightscdc.org. The Jackson Heights Historic District is the home of Scrabble. This series is provided by the Queens Economic Development Corp.

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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