Forget Times Square and SoHo—Jamaica, Queens could soon be New York’s next popular tourist destination. Rhonda Binda, the new head of the neighborhood’s Business Improvement District, is planning to setup tours and launch a chain of pop-up installations in the area.
Binda, a former White House employee who got her law degree at Georgetown University, intends to highlight Jamaica’s local history and cultural achievements by organizing tours and installments throughout the community. The 37-year-old Jamaica native, who currently resides in the neighborhood, is teaming up with the Queens Tourism Council to arrange the communal additions, which will be aimed for both locals and travelers who have long layovers at John F. Kennedy International Airport.
“We can have people come for a walking tour or a shopping tour,” Bing said, DNAinfo reports.
The tours will allow guests to learn about significant Jamaica sites regarding jazz and hip-hop history, visit old churches, and dine at internationally diverse restaurants, while the pop-up installations will focus on Jamaica’s local history and artists.
“We are really a gateway for the international community that’s coming to New York,” Bing said.
An area that has consistently battled negligence and crime, Jamaica has been undergoing other monumental changes as of recently: A number of new hotels have been built in the area the past few months, and a new Hilton Garden Inn is planned for its downtown locale in the near future.
Binda’s ultimate goal is to draw in more local economy through businesses, including restaurants that aren’t fast food and quality stores to shop in. She hopes that with these changes, locals and travelers will spend more time in Jamaica.
She added that the Business Improvement District wants to encourage more nightlife in Jamaica as well, and intends to organize comedy shows, concerts, film screenings, and open mics for local artists in the downtown area.
“I think now is really the time for Jamaica and for all of Queens for that matter,” Binda said.
And since Lonely Planet picked Queens as the top place to visit in in the United States in its 2015 guide, it’s safe to say Binda is off to a good start.