A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 06, 2013
Jamaican (inhabitant of Jamaica, Queens)

"Jamaican” is the name of an inhabitant of Jamaica, in the borough of Queens. The name “South Jamaican” (for South Jamaica, Queens) has been cited in print since at least 1980.

Inhabitants of the island country of Jamaica, in the Caribbean Sea, have been called “Jamaicans” since the 1600s. The Jamaica, Queens, “Jamaican” is only infrequently used because of the confusion. The Times Ledger, a Queens newspaper, does not use “Jamaican” for Jamaica, Queens. “South Jamaican,” for an inhabitant of South Jamaica, Queens, has also been rarely used.


Wikipedia: Jamaica, Queens
Jamaica is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens. It was settled under Dutch rule in 1656 in New Netherland as Rustdorp. Under British rule, the Village of Jamaica became the center of the “Town of Jamaica”. Jamaica was the county seat of Queens County from the formation of the county in 1683 until March 7, 1788, when the town was reorganized by the state government and the county seat was moved to Mineola (now part of Nassau County). When Queens was incorporated into the City of Greater New York in 1898, both the Town of Jamaica and the Village of Jamaica were dissolved, but the neighborhood of Jamaica regained its role as county seat. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 12, which also includes Hollis, St. Albans, Springfield Gardens, Baisley Park, Rochdale Village, and South Jamaica. Jamaica is patrolled by the NYPD’s 103rd Precinct.

Previously known as one of the predominantly African American neighborhoods in the borough of Queens, Jamaica in recent years has been undergoing a sharp influx of other ethnicities. It has a substantial concentration of West Indian immigrants, Indians, Arabs, Russians, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Filipinos as well as many long-established African American families.

The neighborhood of Jamaica is completely unrelated to the Caribbean nation of Jamaica (although many residents are immigrants from Jamaica); the name similarity is a coincidence. The name derives from “Yameco”, a corruption of a word for “beaver” in the Lenape language spoken by the Native Americans who lived in the area at the time of first European contact. The “y” sound in English is spelled with a “j” in Dutch, the first Europeans to write about the area. This resulted in the eventual English pronunciation of “Jamaica” when read and repeated orally.

Wikipedia: South Jamaica, Queens
South Jamaica is a poor and dangerous neighborhood of the New York City borough of Queens, located south of downtown Jamaica, the Long Island Rail Road tracks Jamaica Avenue and Liberty Avenue. The western border is the Van Wyck Expressway, and it continues in the east towards the neighboring community of St. Albans and to Merrick Boulevard. South Jamaica is largely African-American, with increasing numbers of Mexican and West Indian immigrants moving into the community in recent decades. Also, a small population of Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Guyanese, Haitians, and Trinidadians live in this area. The area is largely a working-class community consisting primarily of suburban one and two-family houses and a number of smaller apartment buildings, along with some public housing projects.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
Jamaican, n. and adj.
A native or inhabitant of Jamaica; the form of English spoken there.
1693 Truest & Largest Acct. Earthquake in Jamaica 23 God curb’d their Malice, restrain’d their Power, and gave the Jamaicans a Signal Victory over them.
1770 W. Guthrie New Geogr. Gram. 613 The Jamaicans were undoubtedly very numerous, until reduced by earthquakes.

Google Books
The Trial of Patrolman Thomas Shea
By Thomas Hauser
New York, NY: Viking Press
1980
Pg. 22:
South Jamaica is the ghetto area of Queens.
Pg. 31:
South Jamaicans had jobs to perform and families to rear. To area residents, who had always regarded the police with deep suspicion, the addition to the force of one man made little difference.

Google Books
The Long Island Rail Road: A Comprehensive History
Part Seven, The age of electrification, 1901-1916

By Vincent F. Seyfried
Garden City, NY: Vincent F. Seyfried
1984
Pg. 132:
The group urged that a new station be opened at South Street on the Atlantic Branch because South Jamaicans had to walk so far to get a train; it was 7900 ft. between the new station and Cedar Manor.

New York (NY) Times
South Jamaica Journal; Remnant of a Nightmare Fails to Fulfill a Dream
By JOSEPH P. FRIED
Published: August 08, 1991
(...)
That plan fell through, and the city began working with a community group, Star of the Sea, to turn the house into a youth center that would offer tutoring on weekdays and recreation on weekends—equally appealing to South Jamaicans inspired by the notion of incorporating this remnant of a nightmare into the dream of community betterment.

Queens Crap
FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009
Jamaica fights for promised park land
(...)
COMMENTS
Anonymous said…
Another broken promise from NYC’s lying thieving bastards!.
Maybe Jamaicans will get their park after Maspethians get theirs at the St. Saviour’s site!
Let’s not forget how much parkland the USTA stole from FMCP!
FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009

Google Books
56:
Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports

By Kostya Kennedy
New York, NY: Sports Illustrated Books
2011
Pg. ?:
... (“They think who they are” is how South Jamaicans slangily put it) and the Giants (forget it; they played in a stadium with a name—the Polo Grounds—that sounded like it was made for the wealthy).

Queens Crap
FRIDAY, MARCH 2, 2012
Wendy’s drive-by in Jamaica
(...)
Anonymous said…
Jamaicans had better stay inside their “Estates” compounds.
Outside...it’s a jungle.
I wonder what Carlyle Towrey has to say about the “Brown natives” being restless?
FRIDAY, MARCH 02, 2012

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWorkers/People • Saturday, April 06, 2013 • Permalink