Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Got Opinions About Beautifying Argyle? Be Heard!

Please note the corrected date of the daytime meeting.


  1. Thanks you UU for sharing!! This is very exciting! A little paint and something to show what the street represents would make a world of difference. This street has SO MUCH POTENTIAL!!

  2. I agree! I love walking down that street. Except when that Pomeranian in the window starts barking at my dogs. I hope those vacant business spaces are filled soon! :)

  3. Regarding design:

    More 'Peninsula'
    Less 'Lucky Dumpling Chinese Buffet'

  4. All the paint in the world won't do anything about the gangs that infest this street. I called 911 constantly about a daily dice game / crack dealing party, still there day after day. Argyle is getting worse and worse.

  5. It for sure has plenty of undesirables hanging out day and night and it did not just occure overnight. I go there often to eat and I would hope the people who own business on this street are also willing to contribute to beautifying it too. The Asian people there should show some pride and respect in getting the job done as it has looked bad for years.

  6. Alek keep calling.

    You cant giveup that is what they are counting on. They are obnoxious we have to be MORE obnoxious.

    That what I do with Morse and I talked with the owners of the buildings to the point where sometimes they wont talk to me anymore, but I dont care.

    Zero tolerance.
    I remember seeing dice games at Kenmore and Argyle, Im not the neigbhorhood as much because I was picking up my son at apna ghar but no longer sadly. And I would call in the dice game even though I didnt live there.

    Keep up the good fight, you arent alone, there are many people fighting the gangs all up and down the northside by the lake, especially by the EL.

    I personally want to break the gangs BACK and get them out.

  7. Argyle is missing one particular feature that could make it a destination.

    I would like to share whatthat is. Not sure it or this will be published however.

    It seems self-evident.

  8. In response to wiseguy's post

    I had a good set of friends inclusing someone I was dating that lived off of Argyle east of Broadway and I hung out there all the time up until very recently.

    I befriended an Asian family that lived in the next apartment over. Good people, hard working, great kids that get about all A's in school in every subject, but they very poor and lived in a small crowded place. The whole family was in a one bedroom apartment. I'm not making a judgement just explaining how I saw things.

    And this will be all my stereotyping and all my own conslusions.

    While I know the businesses may be unsightly with their roll bars over and the street is a mess but the Asians are the victims here.

    I could not believe the racial harrassment, threats and violance they received from the ghetto. It is all the time - from the schools to the neighborhood. I saw it over and over in the neighborhood.

    From what it appeared to me is that Asians, their culture, go about their own buisness not wanting to be involved and are afraid. Much like that that Chinese restaurant's response, afraid, at Magnolia and Wilson that was posted earlier this year here on uptownupdate.

    I understand people may not like the Asian's reaction to the problems on Argyle but remember they are the victim here. They are being targetted.

    The populatin does not call the police when a victim. They don't get involved, they just quietly go about their business. They are not the ones committing the problems and crime. They are reacting by making a fortress of their businesses. They are generally very poor.

    The Asian population is speaking with their feet. Just quietly going away. Argyle Street will be done soon.

    Between 2000 and 2010 according to the 2010 census count the Asian population in the main Argyle area of between Foster/Lawrence/the lake and Broadway declined by 25% and the Asian population between Foster/Lawrence/Clark and Broadway declined by 45%

    Just for fun with stats the Asian population between Clark/the lake/ Montrose and Lawrense declined by 30%.

    Those are huge drops in a short period of time.The family I befriended want out to. They are just holding on until they can go.

    I get that the Asian community are not active community members but they are the victim of theft, robbery, violance, and racial harrassment. Their community is unsafe not of their own doing.

    I mean come on lets think about it. Who here has ever been afraid of passing a group of Asian teens? Oh I'm sure someone can pull up an aexample somewhere. But think about it.

    A new business may open up here and there but in reality the Asian strip is dead or dying. They want out aqnd are leaving.

  9. I might be wrong, but wasn't there a push a few years ago, to have retailers remove those awful sliding burglar gates? And there was some push back on the subject.

    I love the street, but YES there are always a few 'questionable' people camped out (menacing at times).

    Great scents coming out of some wonderful restaurants, without a doubt!

  10. What does Chinatown have that Argyle doesn't?

  11. Um, Chinese people? Bilingual street signs? Five times the amount of land? A much longer history as an Asian enclave?

    A rebuttal. Argyle already IS a destination spot. If you've ever tried to find parking or drive down it on the weekends, you know that Asian people from all over the area descend on Argyle for their shopping, eating and socializing.

    Just a guess, maybe Jeffrey thinks it needs art! How about a painstakingly researched mural by an internationally respected artist, one who's done commissions in Europe. An important art piece that shows the past hundred years of immigration on Argyle Street and portrays the leaders of each era. Now THAT would be some great art, something to improve Argyle, wouldn't it? Yeah, it's a great idea. So great that it's already there.

  12. Nice post by xertort, but i still don't grasp the reluctance from the local shop keepers to call the police. They are victims but rolling over and pretending it doesn't exist won't help.

    As for Argyle, it's not what Chinatown has that it doesn't, it's what Argyle has that Chinatown doesn't....a highly visible gang and addict pressence. It's just not a pleasent place to be, no one likes being surrounded by bangers and creeps. No amount of art work will change that.

    There are at least a half dozen obvious problem buildings on Winthrop and Kenmore between Winona and Lawrence, until the element is kicked out, Argyle will remain a ghetto.

  13. Thank you Boohoo but no...it was not about land mass or a mural.

    Not art but architecture.

    Chinatown is actually hemmed into a small tract of land between railways, highways, a river, the Chinese population has actually spilled over into Bridgeport over the last couple decades.

    Chinatown's population has been there longer, they have been through some tough times and have suffered arguably worse crime in the past. It has improved.

    The mural on Argyle is fine.

    What I was alluding to was a free-standing traditional gate.

    I spend a lot of time in Chinatown, the gate is constantly being photographed and admired, the gate is the symbolic entrance so to speak of the Asian marketplace, a focal point. It is hard to imagine Chinatown without it right?

    We already have a Chinatown though. Argyle could be branded as a Pan-Asian marketplace and restaurant district, complimentary to the proposed Music District just to the south.

    Dinner and a show.

    A "Gate" spanning Argyle at Broadway would be a powerful cultural magnet to the Asian business community, it could reverse the flow, change the "voting with feet" patterns.

    Like Asian art you don't have to be Asian to appreciate it, this I am sure.

    Your comment is fair Boohoo since I am always harping about murals, public art, etc....and will again...

    I've spoken about this gate idea privately to a number of people, some Asian and some not, at greater length, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Believe it or not we would have partner/allies in Chinatown.

    The gate would have to be free-standing...and magnificent.

    How does that sound.....? Possible?

    Thanks UU for the discussion.

  14. Alek, when you barely speak English, it's difficult to call 911 successfully. Heck, sometimes it's hard to call 911 successfully when English is your first language.

    As for Chinatown not having gangs? Surely you're kidding. Not only does it have street gangs, just like ours, it also has gangs with international ties that traffic heroin into the States. Our guys are bush league compared to Chinatown's gangs.

    I think you may have a false sense of how successful and prosperous Chinatown is. The housing is pretty mediocre; the homes I've been in are roach infested and cramped. The ONLY thing Chinatown has over Argyle is that it's a larger area and has a longer history and thereby a "reputation." Argyle's "touristy area" is at best three blocks long. Can't compare in that respect. In other respects, I'd put it pretty much in league with Chinatown as far as gangs, crime and dinginess.

  15. Why are we spending money on mosaics and paint when there are no accessible stations between Addison and Granville?

    Wouldn't the moeney be better spent on an elevator so that the elderly, disabled, and families with strollers could use the train?

  16. Chinatown is very small I have no idea where the "5 times the size" figure came from. Even when you include Chinatown Village which was built on a "brown site".

    But here are some things that Chinatown has that we WANT in Uptown.

    - More restaurants...far more.

    - More specialty retail of interest to tourists and locals alike.

    - Tourists from beyond Chicago.

    The big spenders. They eat and they buy buy buy. Unlike Boohoo they don't circle around for parking spaces...they take the Redline or a cab. Go there on a weekend or a holiday and tell me if Argyle has ever been that busy.

    - Cultural events and street fairs/parades. They do it more and better.

    Argyle street needs to get on the tourist map...It needs that iconic feature, a traditional gate. Chinatown like Argyle has ethnic Asians and others driving in from Morton Grove or wherever in the metro area to stock-up on those special things. The majority go to Chinatown...not Argyle.

    A traditional gate wouldn't be cheap but it is not like renovating the Uptown. And each day local commuters will see it from the red/purple line, for the first time many will consider getting off and checking Argyle out, how many do now (crickets...)? It would grace the pages of "Where Magazine" in every hotel room and lobby, it would be on thousands of facebook pages, travel mags, The Rough Guide..etc.

    It would be an AUSPICIOUS CULTURAL INVESTMENT that would be very much noticed. It could fill storefronts and that massive unused parking structure on Broadway.

    I could go on and on.

    @ WindyCtyGigi....

    The elevators will come but from different funding sources entirely. This is not a case of one or the other, it could be, or both or neither. The latter has a good chance on Argyle I hope not.

    The community at large and the business community would have to get the fundraising started and generate interest before any public funds get involved. It could start small and organically.

    I am just a big fan of Chinatown, the sense of community for the residents is the strongest I've seen in Chicago. It is where I've received probably half of my art education so I have spent a lot of time there.

    There are problems, crime for one, aggressive pan-handling way beyond Uptown.

    But Argyle can learn, enhance and share in the success. The two neighborhoods are already far more connected then most people know.

    P.S. The Pomeranian dog in the window belongs to Andy Lam and is a sweet little doggie.

  17. Is playing dice illegal? And is this really something you call 911 for? Shouldn't you more appropriately be calling 311? I feel like some of you need to get a grip... you live in the inner city, I think everything you're describing is to be expected. Chinatown is not devoid of gang activity, either. It almost seems like some of the comments above overlook Asian gangs but cannot abide Black gangs. What's the deal with that?