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At the Epicenter of the Epicenter: Jackson Heights

Jane’s Walk May 3-9, 2021

Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt

What kinds of infrastructural amenities and social patterns contribute to the spread of diseases?  This scavenger hunt leads participants around what became “the epicenter of the epicenter” of the Corona virus as the pandemic began its spread across the U.S., beginning with New York City.  This event is an introduction to Jackson Heights, a vibrant immigrant neighborhood unique and yet also emblematic of the American experience.  What lends this neighborhood its vitality ironically also contributed to its weakness before a global pandemic that decimated neighborhood residents.  This event does not consider the area as a site of spectacle, and instead prompts consideration of infrastructure and the nature of urban life as factors in healthful living as we strive to make urban centers much more livable and resilient.  This self-guided scavenger hunt and walk utilizes Facebook and Twitter for enhancing the shared experience while using maps, historic clues, and visual aids to help visitors navigate the 27-block length of this Queens neighborhood.  Visitors can attend on their own time and engage the tour at their own pace.  Attendees will need to download PDF files available on our organization’s home page, wear comfortable walking shoes and stretchy pants to make room for the delightful array of ethnic foods they will find they must savor along the way!

Scavenger Hunt Trivia Clues

A Sampling of Places to Dine & Shop in Jackson Heights

Walk Route

  1. Beginning at 74th Street-Roosevelt Avenue/Roosevelt Avenue & Broadway train station
  2. Forming a general loop around the Historic District of Jackson Heights (between 74th Street to 82nd Street)
  3. Mainly making use of 37th and 34th Avenues
  4. Optional: can involve going as far as Junction Boulevard, the easternmost border of the neighborhood
  5. Will include a sliver of East Elmhurst, towards the end of the Scavenger Hunt
  6. Loops back to Roosevelt and 74th Street train station


The neighborhood is most accessible using public transport.  

Train station equipped with elevators, though they tend to be crowded and slow; some stairs involved.

Participants will need to navigate curbs and busy sidewalks.

Other Notes 

Dogs are welcome.

Pace for the hunt is self-set.

Some areas provide for seating and resting.

Taking Public Transit

7, E, F, R and M trains; bus service also available.

Parking Availability

Driving is not recommended.

About the Walk Team

The Jackson Heights Beautification Group (JHBG) is an all-volunteer non-profit organization focused on building civic engagement and improving the quality of life of residents.  We offer cultural programming, advance sustainability projects, and organize cleanups and sponsor events in support of advocacy efforts while remaining outside of politics.  The organizers include Melissa Zavala, an urban anthropologist researching New York City history, waste management and urban biodiversity; Edwin O’Keefe Westley, who retired from finance and planning and focuses on various projects ranging in type as a board member of the JHBG; and Lenny Olsson who works for the City University and is co-founder and regular volunteer of our neighborhood composting center, JH-SCRAPS.