Uptown’s Argyle area of Chicago is a mix of Chinese and Southeast Asian immigrants. The two sides co-existed for years, according to the Chicago Tribune.
But beneath the surface was a simmering tension over what to call the neighborhood.
Some wanted to call it New Chinatown. Others Little Saigon. Still others wanted a name that was more inclusive of all Southeast Asian groups.
Now a city sponsored plan has seemingly won the broad support of all sides of the debate.
The new name chosen is Asia on Argyle.
“It really gives us a chance to showcase Argyle Street … and bring people to a very unique cultural destination within the city,” said Ald. Harry Osterman, whose 48th Ward represents the neighborhood.
The new designation is a far cry from the battle of the signs that took place in the 1980’s. One Chinese American businessman who brought lots of property in the neighborhood put up a sign that declared it “New Chinatown.”
But that upset Vietnamese American businessmen. Before long, a second sign would go up designating the neighborhood as “Asian Village.”
Both signs eventually came down.
Now talk of a night market is a sign the Chinese and Southeast Asian business can work together.
“I hope it’s going to help,” said Vietnamese restaurant owner Hien Ngo. “Let’s see what happens.”
You can read about Chicago’s original Chinatown and other ethnic enclaves in Chicago in the Chicago Tribune.