Boston could get an official Latin Quarter in Jamaica Plain
The City Council today agreed with a proposal to look at designating Hyde and Jackson Squares as an official Latin Quarter, in recognition of the Latinos who have long called the area home.
City Councilor Matt O'Malley (Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury), who said he fondly recalled the bilingual Christmas-eve massses at Blessed Sacrament, sponsored the measure to begin looking at an official designation. In 2007, the council agreed with a resolution to unofficially designate Centre from Hyde Square to Jackson Square as la Avenida de las Americas.
O'Malley said Latin American immigrants have been moving to the area for 60 years, said 40% of the residents along the street speak Spanish in their homes and that 65% of the 125 businesses along the street are owned by immigrants.
Councilor Ayanna Pressley (at large) praised the idea, saying it would not only honor the residents, but possibly spur action to keep them from being gentrified out of the area and even attract tourists to the stretch.
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I didn't realize that the current stretch of JP marked as the Latin Quarter (in which I live btw) wasn't official, but if more formal designation means grants & assistance, bring it on!
that would be very cool imo
that would be very cool imo
Does JP have a high latino population or have they been priced out?
Why don't you visit Hyde
Why don't you visit Hyde Square sometime? JP is 25% Latino
Is that the area white liberal dont want?
Im in my mid 20's and can remember the old JP. You know , the one before a boat load of pretentious uni-cycling liberals showed up and started screaming at each other about gentrification.
JP kids were called "the Liberals"
when I was in high school which was long before you were born. Maybe the unicycles are new but I don't really see that they have to do with anything.
What's old is new
In my mid 40s so your "old JP" was the "new" JP to me.
Still high, getting priced out a bit
and that's the way of the world largely.
I'm sympathetic, but there's no practical way to protect any class of resident by race or ethnicity. We're not living in the Balkans and that's a good thing.
The closer you get to the Roxbury line, the higher the percentage of Latino and African-American residents. The march of gentrification continues steadily northward (condos in Hyde Square are regularly going for half a million dollars these days), but it seems like the areas immediately surrounding Jackson Square are still immune to it.
This is "immediately surrounding" Jackson Square, and pretty damn expensive.
It's also largely unoccupied. The flagship retail space on the first floor has never had a tenant, and when the garage is open, you never see more than a handful of cars parked in there. I think they may have overestimated how much people value living next to a major T station vs. how safe they feel doing so.
There's a wait list for the units. A lot of folks who live in the building just don't have cars, and don't need them, given that the T is right there.
The immunity of
The immunity of gentrification in the immediate area of Jackson will never cease as long as the immortal behemoth called Bromley Heath still overshadows everything with its threatening, ugly, dangerous presence.
yes, but it's getting geographically squeezed
Not just talking about whether or not recent immigrants can afford it-- the obvious problem-- but also that latino-catering specific businesses, like botanicas or Spanish speaking dentists, are shifting into smaller geographic areas. There used to be immigration lawyers, latino food markets, and other businesses dotted all the way along Centre Street; now they are either moving to South Street, Jackson/Hyde, Washington, or disappearing all together. This is just my observation from living mostly in JP since 1995, but the neighborhood feels more segregated than it was.
That segregation is unfortunately a fait accompli. I hope the official designation will help plus further losses.
Thanks for the replies. It wasn't a snark question at all. I just hear how people are getting priced out of JP, so I often wonder if there was a still a high Latino population or they had been priced out or not.
In terms of percentage of population and absolute numbers East Boston is more Latino than J.P.
In the 2010 Census JP dropped nearly 10% from the 2000 census to 9,464 "Hispanic/Latino" or 25% of the population, while Eastie rose 43% since 2000 to 21,419 or 53% of the population. They already have an "Avenue of the Americas" seems like the "Latin Quarter" denomination ought to go to where there's a pupuseria every twenty feet.
My thoughts exactly
If we're going to have an official "Latin Quarter," putting it anywhere other than Eastie is a joke.
You can't look at Latinos as a monolithic group. The fact is that East Boston and JP attract Latinos from very different areas. The Latinos in East Boston are mostly from South and Central America, with the most immigrants from Brazil, Columbia, El Salvador, Guatamala, and Honduras. The Latino community in JP is almost exclusively from the Caribbean, mostly Dominicans, but also Puerto Ricans and Cubans.
Have your cake and eat 2 more slices
Hows about we go ahead and designate a Latin Quarter in JP, then designate a Latin Half in Eastie?
Not in Hyde Square
Sorry, used to live here, and the Latino people WORK in businesses around here but have already mostly been priced out of the area. At least on the Hyde Square end. It's mostly white hipsters in the apartments these days, and older white families in the houses on the pond side.
This is like trying to call the North End "Little Ireland" because it was Irish immigrants before the Italians took over.
(Also, local landlords who raise the rent hundreds of dollars a month every year aren't going to care and will rent to whoever will pay, they're not going to reserve their dwellings for - let's face it - poorer Latinos.)
Because all Latinos are poor?
Because all Latinos are poor?
No, not all Latinos are rich,
No, not all Latinos are rich, either. And not all Blacks are rich, either. And for heavens sake, not all Whites are rich, either. Guess what? They all comprise, in the aggregate, an even bigger and suffering race. Call it a race of the working Middle Class! We are a race that doesn't qualify for government assistance yet don't make enough to afford JP rents without stealing ketchup packets and living on rice and beans.
This is just one example
But until recently the two triple deckers next to me had 5/6 units being leased by Puerto Ricans. Then last year the owner of both homes sold them, the new owners kicked the old tenants out (one woman had been there for 25 years), and now all 6 units are filled with transient college kids who litter their yard with trash and leave the recycling and trash bins out for days at a time. We still have a few Latinos in the area, but there has been a marked decrease in the 9 years I've lived in JP (Park Side - Egleston Square).
This area of JP--according to the studies they've been showing at all the Washington St. Livability meetings is a third Latino, and Egleston is probably the highest concentration, with more African-Americans on the Roxbury side. I'd also say that the population of "transient college kids" has gone down over the past 20 years, not up--most students can't afford to live here anymore either.
Its currently happening
They are currently being priced out. Houses around Hyde Sq are about 100,000-75,000 less than the rest of JP, but they are shooting up and its really only a matter of time. Hi-Lo moved out (couple went to FL to retire), Whole Foods moved in, Liquor Store nearby renovated to include more Yuppie Friendly Options, the Church remembered so fondly is boarded up and services are no longer held there, in spanish or english...its great that the area is being recognized, but sadly it may be too little too late. To be true the Latin community there is still vibrant and strong, but they increasingly feel like they are grabbing on to a crumbling foundation. When a spanish-speaking person sells their home now or moves out of their rented apartment, its a young white family that moves in.
Just for the sake of accuracy
I'm pretty sure that Hi-Lo was owned by Knapp foods of Newton and only transitioned into a "Spanish" market when the population of the neighborhood shifted in the 60s-70s--it wasn't truly locally- or Latino-owned. And don't forget either that a lot of local bodegas were thrilled to have the big competition out of the way.
I do agree with your bigger point--it may be too late. But I still feel as if there's a pretty robust Latino presence here AND a lot of Latinos who own businesses and property here.
Why bother when all of the "ethnic" neighborhoods will be gone in a few years? The city does literally nothing about rising residential and commercial rents, especially in the most vulnerable enclaves. Pretty soon Eastie, Jamaica Plain, Dorchester, Hyde Park, Roslindale, Mattapan, Chinatown, Chelsea. Revere, Allston-Brighton will be completely white and homogeneous.
There are plenty of "white and homogenous" Bostonians like myself who are actually products of "ethnic" people who for various reasons left their tribal neighborhoods, married each other and carried on. As a kid I sometimes felt like an oddball because I couldn't sum myself up by saying "Irish" or "Italian" or whatever--a lot of people could back then. But these days I know a lot more young people who are of happily mixed ancestry. I can get nostalgic for the old neighborhoods but things change and "ethnic" people aren't going anywhere.
Ughhh, white people....
Ughhh, white people....
You got your "white people suck" rant in for the day since it's trendy.
Councilor Ayanna Pressley (at
Taken from the left side of the Bell Curve. Block gentrification while attracting tourists at the same time? Who ya gonna call, Marsha Click? "No gentrifying Yuppies allowed - I need some muscle over here!"
Yeah, it's a nice gesture but
Yeah, it's a nice gesture but ultimately symbolic as the remaining [email protected] families will probably get priced out in the next decade. The "Latin Quarter" is probably a quarter of JP itself. Unless this comes with a rider to curb gentrification, all we'll get are some street signs and a vaguely pleasant feeling.
Doesn't East Boston have just
Doesn't East Boston have just as big if not bigger Hispanic/Latino population? Why not East Boston?
It already has that name,
at least on the signs posted by the city. Felix Arroyo (senior) got that to happen back when he was an elected official. Then will this be really, really official, instead of just official? Also, there are many fewer businesses owned or operated by Hispanic people in this neighborhood than there were when we moved here in 1981. It seems a little late to label this area (again) as a Latin Quarter, when it's much less accurate than it might have been years ago.
...won't this offend the gays and the blacks in that area vying for 'most disenfranchised minority?'
RIP Hi-Lo Market.
RIP Hi-Lo Market.
No, I think Hi-Lo is literally rotting in Hell
Not a big customer at Whole Paycheck but HiLo was a public health threat.
And Blessed Sacrament is now
And Blessed Sacrament is now an empty shell. It's not going to be salvageable in 5 years unless something is done--and right now the Hyde Square Task Force is not up to the challenge. Holding rinky-dink kid-fairs on the front steps is not going to magically develop that massive building into something. Instead of pathetic special designations, which cost not one dime or drop of effort, maybe the city should really do something to improve the area. Why couldn't that empty church be turned into a market that really could be useful and a draw to the neighborhood? It really could be done if the neighborhood got behind it. But if you draw people to something decent in the neighborhood then it gentrifies it I guess. Better to just call it the "Latin" quarter and hope it stays like it is. Change is bad, right? How much more public housing needs to be built in that area for everyone to finally be satisfied that it will remain exactly like it is for all eternity?
What happened there?
Last coverage I can find is from almost two years ago, when it sounded like the project to turn it into a community center was a done deal. Who owns the building now? Did it pass ownership over to the non-profit, or does Boston own it?
Ownership of that massive
Ownership of that massive building passed over to Hyde Square Task Force. They have no actual plans for it except to let it fall apart so they can build a housing development on it when nothing can be done to save the building. They're a business like any other. All that community center crap is just a bluff.
What happened to Claudio Martinez?
Remember him? He led the efforts to make sure the church wasn't developed under the free market by developers but has apparently bailed on all of his public gigs as he's also off the BPS committee. I'm having a hard time imaging he's skipped out on the public life after seeming getting into a nice position of unelected power, yet where did he go?
From my (outside) understanding, he was a very strong leadership guy in that you were either with him or against him and I could see where the Hyde Square Task Force organization would not easily transition away from his style of leadership.
He used to be all over the news everywhere--now not so much.
I think Claudio resigned and left town.
I think I remember reading something about it in the Globe, or the JP Gazette, or somewhere. Maybe he said it was for personal reasons, but I'm not sure--it's been a few years, I think.
Whit, what public housing has
Whit, what public housing has been built in Jackson Square since the 1960s?
Not to be overly pedantic,
Not to be overly pedantic, but doesn't the original Latin Quarter in Paris refer to the number of Latin-speaking students in that area rather than those of Latinate origins? When did the phrase start meaning the latter?
Since this country became maddeningly PC and began walking on egg shells around anyone identified even remotely as a minority.
I was just going to remark
On the same thing. Harvard Square is the nearest thing to a "Latin Quarter" in Boston.
This is pandering...
I'm sure people on here will be all over me about this (since it's not in any way PC), but this smacks of pandering. While we're at it, why don't we officially designate Irish/Italian/Jewish/Yuppy/Hipster quarters (what is this, NOLA)? This is what boggles my mind: progressive types preach endlessly about "inclusion" and "acceptance", yet they always seem to find a way to keep people segregated from each other. They don't like labels, yet insist on labeling everything. It makes no sense.
Ok, so anyone who is white knuckling their coffee mug right now, take a minute to go over your angry/snarky/"you're a racist" reply before you post it. I would at least like to be entertained.
Can you show us on the doll
where the liberals touched you?
And quite the expected response. It's really no different than when a conservative Trump voter gets all fired up when someone dares speak an opinion that *gasp* differs from their own.
Good post Matthew! I totally
Good post Matthew! I totally agree.
Maybe it's because people like to feel acknowledged? I don't know. I guess I need a British American section. Yeah, I know, it's all of America. But I need SIGN!
It's all of America?
I'm not British-American. My family came over from Ireland. However, I'm not obsessed with hyphenating my nationality. I'm fine being simply "American". For whatever reason, a large part of the progressive platform seems to be focused on keeping people separated by [insert where they or their ancestors came from here]-American. Also, outside recognition for what, exactly? Existing? Being born in a certain place to a certain ethnicity? Whoopdy-doo! It's nonsense.
I love, appreciate and will
I love, appreciate and will never stop embracing my Lation hertiage, you do what you want.
Papito, uh "America" would include the rest of North America, Central and South America or no? You sound real salty
No one is telling you that you can't be proud of who you are. I'm certainly not saying that. It sounds like you think that just because I'm white, I'm trying to oppress you. That's pretty racist for you to make that presumption. I honestly don't give a shit who you are, what you do, or what you think. As long as you're not infringing on my civil liberties or the civil liberties of other Americans, then I couldn't give a shit less about whatever it is that you do or think.
And you're wrong. "American" is accepted as being from the United States. Other areas of the Western Hemisphere use "America" to refer to a region. Any other questions?
Like I said: I don't know
Self Esteem? Who knows.
My family came over from England some time in the 16- or 1700's, I'd have to ask my librarian aunt who has done our family genealogy. I think she said it was a single mother with her young son and she came from Malden, England to Malden, MA. So of course I'm happy with being American - of the United States variety of North America.
What kind of weak minded mouse needs to have their self esteem inflated by fantasizing about where people they never even met came from? My family came here from Ireland via Canada. And you know what? I don't care. Maybe I'm a callous asshole, but I honestly don't care. We're Americans. And if that makes people uncomfortable, then they can move.
Nah, you just seem pretty cranky. I'm throwing ideas out for why and you just respond with "Well WTF" and "I'm not, therefore it makes no sense that others are."
Maybe you should just stop for a little while. Go out in today's sunshine and relax a bit.