Monday, February 25, 2008

Argyle Street: Chinatown's Troubled Cousin

By Alex Horowitz
The Chicago Methods Reporter

“Argyle Street looked like death,” recalls Tam Van Nguyen, who frequented the Chicago neighborhood nearly 30 years ago, but only in the daytime.

“Gangs, prostitution, drug trafficking, vacant lots. There were very few open stores, and by 5 p.m. every day, gangs hung around the area. It was very scary.”

Argyle Street, which is regarded as Chicago’s North Side hub of Asian commercial activity, has come a long way since the 1970s. Improved community safety has been the driving force behind Argyle’s vast business growth over the years. In fact, crime on Argyle Street has followed the trend of crime in Chicago, where annual murders have decreased by over 500 since 1975. Now, despite a recent slump, shops and restaurants flourish on the street that was once too dangerous to walk on.

“Crime was certainly detrimental to business before the 1980s,” says Joyce Dugan, the president and CEO of Uptown United, an organization that promotes economic growth in the community. “People were afraid to go [to Argyle], so the business scene was awful. Once crime cleaned up, though, Argyle really became a thriving commercial center.”

Continue Reading:

1 comment:

  1. Great article on what should be one of the sparkling retail magnets of Uptown. There is no local leader for the Argyle merchants after the charismatic "mayor of Argyle" unexpectedly died a few years ago.

    Argyle is further fractured by the split between two wards. Half of Argyle is in the 46 ward, the other half in the 48 ward.

    David Farina, the block club president that includes Argyle, has made some strides in removing the window grates, but there is much to do if Argyle is to blossom into the true gem it could be.

    I heard that there is an outside organization working to develop a revitalization plan for Argyle. Anyone know anything about this?