Spotlight: Five Points

Five Points - a West Side neighborhood centered at the intersection of Rhode Island, Brayton, West Utica and Bremen - looks a lot different today than it did just a few years ago. Coffee shops, small businesses, and restaurants have been cropping up where once there were none. Houses have been getting fresh and bold paint. Community gardens have been lovingly tended and expanded. As city living becomes more and more desirable, many first time homebuyers, millennials, and young families are flocking here.

So what makes Five Points so great? Let’s start with all the color and life. Folks in this neighborhood are starting to take a page out of Allentown’s book and painting their homes in bright and cheery hues that seriously brighten up the place, especially in Buffalo’s long winters. They are also following suit with so many others on the West Side (and across the city) and embracing a culture of gardening. Porches and front yards are overflowing with flowers - the central location of Urban Roots, one of Buffalo’s best nurseries, helps keep the neighborhood supplied with whatever plants they may need.

Next up - the abundance of small, local businesses and restaurants here. If you haven’t tried Remedy House yet, you’re failing as a Buffalo hipster. Get over there, snag a Butterblock pastry and a walnut milk latte, grab a table outside under the yellow awning, and watch the world go by. Or, if you’re in the mood for a different kind of carb, head over to Five Points Bakery - tucked away in its own little garden oasis - for a delicious array of specialty toast and other baked goods. If you’re in the mood for something stronger, Las Puertas is there to provide craft cocktails and Mexican food that has been raved about in the national press.

Other worthwhile stops include Urban Roots - a local nursery currently awash in mums and pumpkins (and full of amazing seasonal plants year-round) - and Black Monarchy, a shop showcasing handmade artisan crafts from around the world.

Those who live in Five Points know that it has a lot more to offer than just shops, cafes and restaurants. It is also home to the Massachusetts Avenue Project, an acre of urban farm land that provides both home grown food and learning opportunities to the youth in the surrounding area. Its presence only adds to the neighborhood’s greenery and provides a sense of community and abundance.

If you’re looking for a place to live, or a place to just hang out for an afternoon, Five Points should rank high on your list. Grab some coffee and take a walk on the West Side - you won’t regret it.

Margaret Healy