Judgmental Map of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts

author-pic at Boston College  


If you’ve never heard of it, Jamaica Plain is a cute little neighborhood in Boston directly south of downtown. JP is home to a booming baby clothes market and has long been a mecca for people who don’t think twice about leaving the house barefoot. More recently, it has opened its doors to the new wave of yuppies — they gather at hot yoga book clubs, and constantly look terrified. The diversity of JP is a strength, check it out.

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JP Licks/JP Center:

When driving through the heart of town, look out for JP Licks, the neighborhood’s prevailing eatery. Some ice cream vendors have attempted to oust JP Licks from the top of the local ice cream game by setting up shop down the street, but none of them have survived. Further south, you might stop for a few hours at the Monument, a huge statue in the middle of the street where loitering is the name of the game and nobody really knows why the statue exists in the first place. All of the houses in this area are large and ripe for daytime burglary. Additionally, don’t miss out on the two thrift stores on Centre Street, perfect for locals whose $100 weekly espresso budget doesn’t allow much wiggle room for shoe shopping.

Arnold Arboretum:

South of JP Center is the Arnold Arboretum, the only place in town where you can take your family out for a Sunday afternoon picnic in the same spot where you blacked out the night before. Be careful in the Arboretum at night; although it’s physically part of Boston, it’s practically international waters. All crime is legal! Forest Hills Station, or as some call it, “the Rusty Butthole of Boston,” is conveniently located across the street. If you ever need to make a quick escape, all you have to do is wait 30 minutes for the Orange Line.

The Arborway/Jamaica Pond:

The most trafficked road going north out of JP — the Arborway–  was designed by the gorillas of the Franklin Park Zoo, and consequently is the the single most dangerous feature of the neighborhood. There are more car crashes on the Arborway per month than there are unemployed 20-somethings in JP. Perhaps some of those crashes are caused by the distractingly beautiful views of Jamaica Pond: the swampy reservoir next to the road where swimming is both prohibited and undesirable, and where dead bodies will remain unidentified until the next drought.

Hyde Square/North Centre St.:

If you manage to get off it the Arborway without dying, then the upper reaches of JP are worth a trip for a taste of some pre-Whole Foods era shopping.  It’s the anti-comfort zone steering most yuppies clear, but there are still two Dunkin’ Donuts there (cause hey, it’s still Boston). Get there quick, though as fancy apartment buildings are being erected as we speak. Before you know it, the Rainbow will turn into a Patagonia outlet, the Cuban restaurant will become a Chipotle, and the last morsels of genuine JP culture will be displaced across the border into Roxbury, and everyone will be doing yoga with their toddlers.

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