Cultural Sites

Afrikan Poetry Theatre

The Afrikan Poetry Theatre was established in 1976 by John Watusi Branch, a well-respected and known figure in the Pan-African Movement, and Yusef Waliyaya. For 40 years, this theater continues to serve its predominately African American population well with various programs and events that cater to different interests.

The theater offers acting classes, partners with other arts organizations for dynamic poetry slams, open-mics, art exhibitions, live bands and more. The theater even hosts Kwanzaa celebrations and presentations. If you’re ever in Jamaica area, come by the Afrikan Poetry Theatre. You’re bound to learn something and enjoy it too!

The African Poetry Theatre is located at 17603 Jamaica Avenue. 

Imam Al-Khoei Benevolent Foundation

Located along the Van Wyck Expressway, across from the Jamaica Hospital stands the Imam Al-Khoei Benevolent Foundation. Converted from an old factory built in 1945, it is the New York headquarters for the Benevolent Foundation, an “international, religious, charitable institution established by the Late Ayatullah Seyyid Abulqasim Al-Khoei,” since 1989. The building contains a prayer hall, library, community center, school, and the iman’s apartment.

While we haven’t been able to figure out what type of factory the building was, it doesn’t look to be any kind of hard industry especially given its location. It is also unclear whether there was a period of vacancy or not before the land was purchased by the Benevolent Foundation.

Find the factory turned mosque at 89-89 Van Wyck Express Way.