Located in Jamaica Plain’s Hyde/Jackson Square, the Latin Quarter is a dynamic cultural district where Latino immigrants, primarily from the Caribbean, have thrived for decades. The area has more than 125 businesses, 65% of which are immigrant owned. In Boston’s Latin Quarter one will find crowded Dominican barbershops, Latina beauty salons, bright murals, sculptures, Latin American travel agencies, cuisine from various cultures, and corner bodegas, all while cars cruise by blasting the latest bachata song. El Oriental de Cuba, a destination restaurant, and El Mundo Boston, Boston’s leading Spanish-language newspaper, are located in the district.
A growing diversity of businesses in the area demonstrate both the Latino roots of the neighborhood as well as the more recent influx of young professionals, families, hipsters, and artists. With a wide range of incomes, races, and ethnicities, the Latin Quarter is one of Boston’s most diverse communities. Gentrification has impacted the neighborhood, but local community-development organizations and housing advocates have preserved thousands of affordable units which ensures the community’s long-term stability.
The historic Blessed Sacrament Campus is at the heart of the Latin Quarter where Hyde Square Task Force, a youth-development organization, owns two buildings. One is the Cheverus Building, a former school, now a hub of youth development and Afro-Latin arts. The other is the former Blessed Sacrament Church, a 100-year-old architectural icon. The Boston Landmarks Commission described the building as “a superb example of early 20th century Italian Renaissance Revival ecclesiastical architecture . . . the finest in Boston.” Hyde Square Task Force is currently leading planning efforts for a community-friendly redevelopment of the basilica.
On the east end of the Latin Quarter is the site of the Jackson Square Development Project, a $250 million transit-oriented development with plans for hundreds of mixed-income housing units, restaurants, coffee shops, retail space, recreation center, and community theatre.
Mozart Park plays host to several cultural events, such as the Tito Puente Latin Music Series and Theatre in the Park. Boston’s largest Latino festivals have their roots in the Latin Quarter: the Dominican Festival and El Convite Banilejo, an annual gathering of thousands of people from the Bani area of the Dominican Republic, are two examples. A Three Kings Day parade, Latino Heritage Month events, and the ¡Viva el Latin Quarter! Summer Series support cultural vibrancy throughout the year.
The Connolly Branch of the Boston Public Library is a Latin Quarter treasure. The staff embrace the neighborhood’s Latino history and culture and the branch is home to one of the largest collections of bilingual and Spanish-language books in the city. The Connolly’s auditorium is perfect for regular multicultural events and activities in coordination with local artists and cultural organizations.
The people and cultures of Latin America create beautiful art, music, traditions, literature, language, theatre, and food. The Latin Quarter serves as a cultural home for Greater Boston’s Latino community and the lives of residents and visitors alike are enhanced by preserving, showcasing, and celebrating all it has to offer.
Stay up-to-date with Boston’s Latin Quarter by following the Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/BostonsLatinQuarter/