[bartending] is your profession then you’ve learned how to live and save and look out for the future. But if you are going to college or grad school and this is just your side job and you lose it, you are almost forced to move out. Most people who are students in JP have to have like four or five roommates.
K: Do you think it’s possible to live in JP on bartender’s salary or do you have to finesse it?
R: You totally have to finesse it. In the end, I was lucky where I got in a situation where my roommate owns the condo I rent in. Some people aren’t that lucky. If you live somewhere and the owner decides to sell the building, even if they throw you a couple of grand for making you move, that’s not enough. You still need first, last, and a security deposit. That’s pretty hard when your salary is shift to shift. You’re lucky If you can find a place for $600 but typically it costs a couple grand just to room with somebody and you’re trying to make that happen on tips. The mentality used to be that ‘I should be able to pay for my rent and utilities from one week of work.’ One fourth of my monthly salary should be dedicated to that but it’s hard now to make that happen especially in JP. People won’t even get cars anymore and choose bikes or public transportation because it helps save money for the rent.
K: Do you mostly work with people who live in JP?
R: Yes. They mainly all live in JP or Roslindale but they finesse it.
Ruddy at the Jamaica Pond.
K: What’s your favorite thing about living in Jamaica Plain?
R: I like running around the pond. I like the cold so I like to run in the cold at the pond. I love the Egleston Farmers Market especially when they had Exodus Bagels there. We used to have a crew of five to fifteen people who would meet up and wait for bagels every Saturday. It was very special. I like that people are so nice and polite and they remember my face and say ‘Hi’ when I’m walking down the street.
K: Do you have a favorite JP memory?
R: I do! It’s a personal one. I was trying to date this girl. One of the things I knew about her was that she liked to run. She asked me if I was going to the Doyle’s Road Race and I was like ‘Yeah! Sure!’ I thought ‘I can totally do this and it’ll be fun.’ I knew I hadn’t run in two or three years but that’s okay. The night before the race I was at Boston Bowl and I was smoking cigarettes and drinking beer. I went to bed at like two in the morning.
I woke up and I was so glad I woke up. I got my stuff ready and I went to run the race. I knew a couple of people there so that was nice. The race starts and we take off and I am crushing it. I had my headphones in. I wore too much clothing so I took off my jacket and threw it to someone I knew on the sidelines. It was awesome. Half-way through the race we start going around a rotary and I roll my ankle. I roll my damn ankle. I screamed. I started cursing. I kept walking. I didn’t stop. I hobbled for ten minutes and then I started jogging and then I started running. There’s a little pug named Rocky. He’s well known in JP. He’s super well-trained. Well, I’m running along and I see Rocky and start waving hello. His owner, Billy, tells Rocky to give me a high-five and the dog literally gave me a high-five. That was awesome. Then I finished the race. I made horrible time and I was like ‘Whatever. I finished the race.’
Ruddy volunteering at The JP Music Festival.
I got a ride back to the Galway House to get some drinks and I look down and my ankle was blue. I went home, changed my socks, and walked to the Brendan Behan. Everyone who was at the Behan knew that I was running this race and trying to impress this girl and when I walked in they all started cheering. That was really nice. I had the worst time I had ever had running. I ran like an eleven minute mile but whatever. Everyone made me feel better. I got the date and we dated for a while and we ended up running together a lot. It was really nice.
K: What is your favorite event in JP?
R: That one is easy. My favorite event is the John Casey Bar Wars. It’s just so cool and it’s so nice to see everyone from all the local bars. Bar Wars is to raise funds for the JP Music Fest. The point of the event is for bars and restaurants in JP to put together a band with people who work there or are regulars there. They play three songs. It’s a one night band. It is so cool. Bella Luna wins a lot! They are so talented.
K: What would you like to see happen in JP in the future?
R: My mom moved us from Hyde Park to JP to Roslindale and then to Norwood and one of the main reasons was because she felt unsafe. She was a single mom with four kids and driving around early in the morning and coming home late at night. She used to clean houses so she was going all over the place. She would tell us there were places that we couldn’t go past and to always make sure I was with my brother and stuff like that. When I came back to this neighborhood, I started seeing all these kids from West Roxbury and Roslindale coming to JP for last call because JP has a lot of 2am liquor licenses. It’s what I always wanted. I always wanted to see this neighborhood I love become safer and more approachable. I never ever want JP to become unapproachable again. I want it to be approachable to people who work in the service industry and I want service industry people to be able to live in the neighborhood. It’s almost too unaffordable to live here and it’s becoming unapproachable again. It’s a beautiful community and I’m bummed out to see the down-swing of JP hitting its pinnacle. I don’t know what’s going to happen next and it’s a bummer.
What has JPNDC been doing to increase affordable housing? Find out here!