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Bye bye ‘Boystown’: The iconic Chicago neighborhood changes its name to Northalsted to encourage inclusion

CHICAGO (WLS) – Chicago’s famous Boystown neighborhood has changed its name. But what does it mean for the economy and the future of the internationally known area?

New banners line North Halsted Street and simply read “Northalsted”. Others say “Chicago’s Proudest Neighborhood”. But the banners always said “Boystown.

Residents and visitors are divided over the iconic name, which disappears after calls for inclusion. The change triggered a lot of local reactions.

“I think it’s very revolutionary. I have a feeling that it should be more of an inclusive neighborhood to include the whole community. I have a feeling that the name Boys Town is very out of date, with the new name North Halsted going it’s a very inclusive community, “said resident Sergio Gaona.

“I think the boys town has a fun ring that we all grew up with and got used to, but it’s not very inclusive,” said Vince VanDyke.

“I would say just keep it as it is, stop focusing on the name changes, and just focus on everything else that is more important, like crime and robberies and the like,” added Wei Chenh.

“I don’t think there’s a reason to change the name of the neighborhood. The neighborhood has always welcomed everyone,” commented McKenzie Gilbert

“I don’t think they should have changed it from the start. They should just keep Boystown,” added Niles Murcer

But it’s officially a farewell to Boystown. The Northhalsted Business Alliance said it has been holding the name on these pylons since 1997. But could there be another, perhaps catchier, name like Pride Town in the future?

“Pride Town came up, Queer Town came up. Rainbow Village, a lot of things came up. Right now, our marketing for Northalsted is suspended for the time being,” said Lake Alen, spokesman for the Northalsted Business Alliance.

Alen said the name Boystown has always been a nickname.

“So it was originally nicknamed New Town and then it was nicknamed Boystown, but the area has always been officially called Northalsted by the city,” he said.

He added that the Business Alliance only started using Boystown in their campaigns a few years ago, then there were official calls for change.

“So last summer there was a poll that published a position rather than one that said the term boystown does not include the entire LGBTQ community, that the boystown title is synonymous with gay white men, a very small segment of a very broad community, “he explained.

Alen said map makers have to decide for themselves if and when to drop the nickname, and individual companies can still choose to use the “boytown” in their own marketing or products.

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