Jamaica Plain isn’t just physically connected to Boston by roads, but also by the Frederick Law Olmstead-designed park system, the beautiful Emerald Necklace, which laces its way from the Boston Public Gardens to Jamaica Pond and beyond, to the Arnold Arboretum.
Brookline and Roxbury flank JP, as it’s known locally, and was originally part of the City of Roxbury before the latter merged with Boston in 1868. Jamaica Plain bloomed during the Victorian era, when today’s infrastructure of ornate triple-decker apartment and condo buildings formed. Jamaica Plain continues to expand with a mixed-use condominium complex, situated across from the Green Street T stop, due for completion in 2011.
JP’s colorful residential mix includes a large Hispanic population and a big gay and lesbian community, as well as singles and young families. The heart of JP was abruptly torn out when the beloved Bella Luna and Milky Way Lounge and Lanes moved from Hyde Square to the Sam Adams Brewery complex in 2007. New restaurants include The Haven, a unique and funky Scottish tavern serving pints of “heavy,” haggis and other Scottish delights. This month saw Canary Square open in the old Alchemist spot, with former Eastern Standard and Tremont 647 chef Marco Suarez manning the kitchen. And there’s always a warm welcome and a game of skee ball to be had at the relocated Milky Way Lounge.