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A Community Culture: Jamaica Plain

A streetcar suburb full of triple decker houses this neighborhood has had its ups and downs. Once a part of the Roxbury neighborhood before becoming their own neighborhood with an entirely different personality.

Transforming over the years, JP as the locals call it, is known for having the most green spaces in Boston and being home to many of the “jewels” of the Boston famous “Emerald Necklace Parks.”

Within one of these parks is a pond formed by an ancient glacier. It is 70-acres large and the largest freshwater body in Boston. As a kid I have many memories walking around Jamaica Pond and the childhood time I spent enjoying this beautiful outdoor space.

I am now blessed to take my daughter here, specifically to the lantern festival.

This festival is held each year in late October. Picture kids in their costumes with plastic 2-liter bottles decorated with paper mache. You can hear the sound of bands playing at the boathouse while enjoying homemade hot cider and empanadas. At dusk, the kids walk around the pond with their lanterns lit up and big, bright smiles on their faces.It is a site to behold.

JP has history too with the oldest community theater in the United States is located here. Also located in JP, some delicious Latin infused food. Hyde Square has been the hub for Latin American people and culture since the mid 1960’s. The neighborhood is now home to the “Latin Quarter,” with significant populations of Dominican, Puerto Rican and Cuban cultures.

I remember going with my mom to a local supermarket called Hi-Lo which was a place for Latino’s and African-Americans to get meat and produce for a decent price. It served the community well until the owner of the building unfortunately decided to sell it to the Whole Foods supermarket chain. This is why Live Like A Local Tours Boston is so important to these communities.Gentrification made it impossible for the owner to keep Hi-Lo open with rising rents from landlords. The people of the Hyde Square community can’t afford to shop at Whole Foods and get everything they need at a decent price. We strive to show all this neighborhood has to offer and give a shout out to the local establishments that have created these unique neighborhood personalities and deep rooted culture.

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