The Devin and I sat at Brendan Behan Pub after our afternoon of exploration of Jamaica Plain. In front of me was a pint of White Allagash fresh from the tap and an American Bull Mastiff sniffed under my chair in search of scraps of food. The music was at the perfect volume and groups of people lined the bar just relaxing on this quiet evening.
I turned to The Devin and we said simultaneously, “I would definitely live here.” I am straddling the line between early and late twenties, while Devin is nearing middle age and our life styles are most certainly changing away from weekend barhopping in Faneuil Hall. After just five short hours Jamaica Plain seemed to offer a welcoming alternative to the college-like feeling of a lot of Boston, and I felt like I could take a deep breath and relax without actually having to leave the city. The bar scene seemed like another option to Starbucks for the patrons as a type of “third space” where they can socialize and relax with the benefits of having a good pint of beer instead of a place to go dressed up with your friends to get drunk.
Jamaica Plain offers an environment that differed from the rest of the city. In the spirit of comparing everywhere I go in Boston to where I grew up, I would compare Jamaica Plain to Berkeley, California. I definitely got an “alternative” feel while walking around…lots of bikes, different types of people and small restaurants.
We started our day driving to Jackson Square and slowly walking up Centre Street. Immediately, I noticed the uniqueness in the architecture. We passed a few typical Boston triple-deckers, but I loved how each had a personality with by having a piece of flair such a well -placed arch or a fun vibrant color.
Up a little further, Centre Street I felt like I was on the set of the movie “Now and Then.” I had a vintage feeling while walking down the street, I am not sure whether it was the Goodwill or the City Feed that was painted in red, white and blue. I soaked up the feeling of walking down the street in a different era.
We went into City Feed, which I would compare to a small Whole Foods with community uniqueness aspect. Customers can get locally grown products and there were small clipboards where a customer can request a product that is not already offered. Just being in City Feed I felt a part of the Jamaica Plain community and realized the adhesiveness the neighborhood has to offer.
Another thing I loved about Jamaica Plain was that there were dogs everywhere. Besides children and food, nothing brings neighbors together like dogs. Dogs seem to be welcome everywhere as a result. Brendan Behan Pub allows them in their bar and I watched as people struck up conversation about the canines and gave them friendly scratches. This might not seem like a big deal to some people, but I feel like it attests to Jamaica Plain’s pride in community and gathering in a public sphere by allowing dog owners to socialize at a bar without having to leave their four-legged friend at home.
So on a whole I would say Jamaica Plain is pretty amazing and the only criticism I would have is it is not closer to the North End and can’t visit more often!
Note: Devin and I went to Jamaica Plain for just a few hours. As a result of the short time spent there this reflection is only supposed to represent what an outsider might experience if seeing Jamaica Plan for the first time. We know that we did not see everything that Jamaica Plain has to offer, so we would love anyone with suggestions for places to see to let us know in the comment section. Also, if you are a JP resident and you would like to blog about what it’s like to live there, please let us know so can provide the fullest picture possible of the neighborhood. Thanks!
The Intern, Kendall