Why We Left Boston for Jamaica Plain, and Why You Should Too
How to Grow Roots in Boston’s Slumbering Neighbor, Jamaica Plain
Boston is a unique city: quintessential American history juxtaposed with modern amenities and plenty of evolving technology. We fell in love with Boston for its origins. Boston is a nexus between our once developing country (think centuries-old homes and churches) and our nation’s future innovations (MIT, Harvard, etc.). And while many celebrate the city’s continued growth, there’s a lot of pressure to change with it.
If you’re moving to Boston, it’s important to recognize the fast heartbeat of the city. True, the city isn’t as industrial as D.C. or as ostentatious as New York, but the city is its own beast. If you’re searching for an old-world east coast feel, or breeze-filled greenways, then shift your gaze southwest. Six miles outside of the city center, you’ll find the Boston you’re really looking for: Jamaica Plain.
Jamaica Plain is a mecca for new Bostonians. Avoid the worst of traffic; savor an extensive bar scene. Spend your weekends around Jamaica Pond or Arnold Arboretum enjoying the best greenspace in the Boston area. Jamaica Plain is funky, and Jamaica Plain is livable.
Lisa Delfino Connor, a long-time Jamaica Plain resident, has called this neighborhood home for over half a century. And while the neighborhood has evolved, it’s still the area she chooses to call home. Connor shares, “We’re close to everything. If I have something to do in Brookline, I hop on the T. If I am having something in town, I hop on the T. I walk down to Centre Street all the time. If I have to drive, we’re close to 128. We’re pretty lucky.”
Quick transportation is a prized commodity in Boston. In a recent article on U.S. cities with the worst infrastructure, we found that Boston has fallen victim to the result of poor infrastructure leading to one of the nation’s worst commute times.
According to CNBC, “In many ways, Massachusetts embodies the national infrastructure crisis. The state is racing to repair the worst structures like Boston’s Longfellow Bridge, which is undergoing a $3 billion restoration. But more than half of Massachusetts’ bridges remain deficient or worse.” With over 50% of the state’s bridges in compromised conditions, Boston commuters spend 64 hours in traffic per year.
Jamaica Plain offers a respite from Boston’s heavy traffic. The area not only offers quick access to commuter rails and a fleet of buses, but also boasts some of the best biking paths in the area. For those commuting into the city, 75% of a commute to Cambridge takes place on bike-commuter designated pathways – and off work hours, Jamaica Plain is tough to beat for running or recreational riding in the Boston area.
But it’s more than smoother traffic and better greenways — Jamaica Plain embodies community and celebrates its immigrant history. The area’s makeup has been diverse and close-knit since its infancy, and the community ties are still palpable today. Bella Fox moved cross-country from the west coast to Boston in 2015, and she settled in Jamaica Plain for its strong community of culture and arts. “I’m thousands of miles from my home,” she states, “but the warmth of Jamaica Plain – the people, the culture – it made this city shimmer.”
Like Fox, we left Boston for Jamaica Plain, and we haven’t looked back. The neighborhood’s artsy vibe, greenspace, and tethered community brought us the Boston we hoped we’d find in this bustling east coast city.
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