The plight of the gentrifier. While their organized influx into "deteriorated" neighborhoods demands unprecedented inpouring of resources, it also presents an inherent dilemma. How are they to balance the need for pressed juice bars, organic grocery stores, and proper pet hotels while also maintaining the "dangerous" edge that attracted them? Given the surge of pricey housing that displaces the longtime residents whose culture defines these neighborhoods, how does one strike the perfect balance between erasure and appropriation? A New York restaurant is the latest in a slew of urban eateries placed in gentrified neighborhoods, who have tried to come up with a solution to this issue.
Summerhill, a recently opened sandwich shop located in the rapidly gentrifying, traditionally African-American, West Indian, and Hasidic Jewish Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights, has adopted a hood chic motif. The eatery recently stirred up controversy by advertising its cocktails in front of a “bullet hole-ridden wall." They took it a step further in a press release that billed the "boozy sandwich shop" as “a rumored back room illegal gun shop.”
The team at Summerhill didn't stop there. The menu includes a 40 Ounce Rose, packaged to look like a 40 ounce Colt 45 and served in a brown paper bag. "It's like you're not thinking about the black people or the long-term residents in the community," one resident told The Comeback. "Or maybe you are thinking about them but they don't matter." Or, perhaps this is what happens when people aren't seen as people, but as a commodity for profit.