The Guide to Jamaica Plain: Mayor Menino: Music and parks make JP great

It is a fun, musical time in Jamaica Plain.

If you haven’t seen—or heard, or played—them yet, I encourage you to stop by one of the pianos placed in the neighborhood as part of “Play Me, I’m Yours,” the Street Pianos Boston festival going on through Oct. 14. There are 75 pianos placed all around the city, including your neighborhood, to give residents and visitors a chance to make music in the streets of our City.

I also want to take a moment to congratulate the organizers of the JP Music Festival, which was held earlier this month at Pinebank Field. The JP Music Festival was established by a group of friends with the common goal to bring live music to the community, and this was the third year that it took place with its one simple caveat: at least one member of each band or musical act must live or work in JP.  The result was more than 20 musicians, bands, ensembles and orchestras with members who live or work in JP, including Doyle Café’s very own Rick Berlin, who performed with the Nickel and Dime Band.

This year’s festival featured activities for kids, numerous food trucks, shade under surrounding trees of the Emerald Necklace from Jamiaca Pond, water for dogs, bike racks, and artist and festival merchandise—which served as a “meet the band” after each performance. The festival’s music is as diverse as Jamaica Plain itself, with genres this year featuring Afrobeat, Americana, baroque, country, dance, folk, gospel, hip hop, jazz, opera, pop, rock, ska and soul.

The success of the festival, like so many great events in Boston, was made possible thanks to hard-working organizers teaming up with City agencies like Boston Parks and Recreation and the Office of Neighborhood Services to ensure that everything went off without a hitch.

Another fun new initiative is starting in your area. Last week, the City of Boston installed its first two “parklets,” one in Mission Hill and the other in Jamaica Plain. A parklet is a welcoming, attractive, outdoor common space nestled in the middle of a busy urban area, designed to bring activity to a neighborhood commercial district by providing residents, visitors and customers of local businesses with a place to sit and relax for a bit or to meet with friends and business associates for conversation or a meal.

The idea started in San Francisco in 2010 and is starting out here for the first time this fall. Each of Boston’s new parklets have been developed and implemented based on suggestions garnered by neighborhood residents and business representatives. Parklets foster a pedestrian friendly environment, and they are in keeping with the City’s Complete Streets model of Transportation Planning and Design, where “the car is no longer king.”

Finally, I strongly encourage everyone to visit Jamaica Plain Open Studios, which runs Sept. 21-22. JPOS is always a very family-friendly event that showcases the talent we have living and working in our neighborhoods. It’s always a lot of fun, so please come out and support the arts!

Mayor Thomas Menino. (Courtesy Photo)

Mayor Thomas Menino. (Courtesy Photo)

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