At the Epicenter of the Epicenter-Jackson Heights, Queens

Janes Walk

Led By Melissa Zavala AND Lennart Olsson, Director, Member of the Board of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group (JHBG)

This tour guides visitors around what became “the epicenter of the epicenter” of the Coronavirus as the pandemic began its spread across the U.S., beginning with New York City. Participants will meet 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. While “Disaster Tourism” has been popularized in cities around the world, this tour does not introduce participants to the area as a site of spectacle but instead prompts them to consider infrastructure and the nature of urban life as factors in healthful living as we strive to make urban centers more livable and resilient.

This self-guided scavenger hunt and walk will utilize Facebook and Twitter to enhance the element of a 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 and based on their individual interests. 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 you’ll discover along the way!


This walk is accessible to all. Car drivers will have a difficult time finding parking. The neighborhood is most accessible using public transport. The local train station is handicap accessible, but elevators are slow and crowded. Participants can tour the entire neighborhood, or only parts of it, depending on their interests. This means route distances can vary from 31 city blocks (on a numbered grid which is easy to navigate), to 13 city blocks. The difference in ranges is based on either walking the whole neighborhood or staying at the center of it and visiting only a few of the highlighted sites.

Location Information

RSVP is required and capacity is limited. Meeting location, ending location, and directions will be provided via email before walk date.


On Demand
Less than one hour

Borough: Queens
Theme: Advocacy, Food & Entertainment, History & Culture
Language: English