In one West Side Neighborhood’s Turnaround: Optimism, Uncertainty and $12 Toast

June 14, 2019

The diverse and once-blighted neighborhood around Rhode Island and West Utica, now dubbed “Five Points,” has seen an influx of investment in the past 20 years, ranking it among the city’s most dramatic neighborhood comebacks. But some fear being displaced.

It’s a luminous mid-May morning and Remedy House regulars are scowling into their Macbook Airs, hands twiddling headphone cords or gripping mugs or shielding faces from the cool white window glare.

Swedish pop pulses through unseen speakers. Ceramic plates clatter behind the marble counter. “Sitting here, pulling out my laptop, I feel like I’m at home,” says Evan Ortolani, an advertising director who recently relocated to the West Side from New York. “And by home, I mean Brooklyn.”

But among some other residents in the neighborhood, Remedy House has another reputation: They call it “gentrification station” and “white people fishbowl” for the floor-to-ceiling windows installed in 2016 as part of an extensive renovation. The diverse and once-blighted neighborhood around Rhode Island and West Utica, now dubbed “Five Points,” has seen a massive influx of investment in the past 20 years, ranking it among the city’s most dramatic neighborhood comebacks.
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