To the west of affluent Jamaica Estates is the slightly more affordable neighborhood of Jamaica Hills, which also sits atop the terminal moraine of the most recent ice age glacier. The southern limit of the moraine is marked by Hillside Avenue. On the north side of this road is a knob and kettle terrain while the southern side has a landscape that gently slopes down towards the ocean.
The only remaining kettle pond in Jamaica Hills is located inside Captain Tilly Park, a nine-acre site perched on a slope beneath the former Jamaica High School. In the center of Goose Pond is a bird sanctuary isle that is the smallest island within the smallest natural body of water in the city.
The land around the park belonged to its namesake family in the 19th century and later to the Highland Park Society, an organization of local landowners that maintained the park. Captain George H. Tilly served in the Army Signal Group during then Spanish-American War of 1898. On May 27, 1899, Tilly and a small unit landed in the town of Escalante on Negros Island to repair a damaged telegraph cable. He was killed by Filipino rebels who felt betrayed that instead of liberating their country, the United States replaced the Spanish as colonists.
Over the decades, Goose Pond lost its natural source of water and algae bloomed in it. Much of the surrounding park had also fallen in disrepair as the city failed to maintain the park. In 1996, the Jamaica Hills Community Association and Council Member Morton Povman allocated funding for the park. The restoration included draining and deepening, installation of a new clay liner and filtration system. Carp and bluegill sunfish were reintroduced to the pond, among other native wildlife. A new well provided water for the pond and an island in its center served as a wildlife sanctuary. Each fall, the park hosts Jamaica Family Day, a fair for local residents.
Although the pond is very shallow and surrounded by development, it offers a hint at the landscape that once covered Jamaica Hills for nearly 10,000 years. Earlier this year, the lawn to the south of the pond was reconstructed, a project that included the elimination of invasive plants and improving drainage.