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Stop Calling Wicker Park's Main Intersection 'The Crotch,' Alderman Says

By Alisa Hauser | May 24, 2017 3:51pm
 The Milwaukee, Damen and North intersection.
Wicker Park's Big Intersection
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WICKER PARK — Can everyone please stop calling Wicker Park's main intersection "the crotch"? 

That's what 32nd Ward Ald. Scott Waguespack requested during the annual Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce's "State of the Wards" meeting this week at Goddess and Grocer, 1649 N. Damen Ave.  

While work is being done to make the bustling Milwaukee, Damen and North avenues intersection safer for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles, a briefer nickname would make it easier to discuss. 

PREVIOUSLY: We Will Fix Traffic 'Chaos' At Wicker Park's Main Intersection, City Vows 

Some locals have called the intersection "the crotch" for years, but it was apparently brought to Waguespack's attention in a recent Reader headline about the roadwork. 

 A cyclists crosses the Milwaukee-Damen-North intersection in Wicker Park.
A cyclists crosses the Milwaukee-Damen-North intersection in Wicker Park.
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Philin Phlash

"The issue of Wicker Park, or the six corners, I've seen [stories] calling it the crotch," Waguespack said. "I think that's wrong. I've seen it called some really negative names. I can never remember in the decades I've been here, having ever heard it be called the crotch."

But calling the intersection the "Six Corners" is equally problematic. The Portage Park intersection of Milwaukee, Cicero and Irving Park for decades has been referred to as Six Corners. It's a proud name for nearby residents, a specific name for a specific part of the Northwest Side.

And no, they aren't cool with Wicker Park claiming it for themselves. 

"It feels a little bit like someone is trying to steal our identity," Ed Bannon, executive director of the Six Corners Association in Portage Park told DNAinfo in 2013. "We can't sit by and let them."

Al Spenadel, a local accountant and Wicker Park resident, asked Waguespack, 1st Ward Ald. Joe Moreno, 2nd Ward Ald. Brian Hopkins to consider sponsoring a resolution to call Wicker Park's thoroughfare "The Big Intersection" in honor of Paula Barrington, a former chamber director from the mid-2000s.

"She called it that; I've always been calling it that since. I like the idea that you can 'meet at the big intersection.' My mother grew up in Chicago... Six Corners is up in Portage Park, that's official, and I don't like the crotch, either," Spenadel said.

Waguespack said he would "take that input" from Spenadel.

"Maybe what we should do is have a survey and a lot of people can give us the names... but 'the crotch' is definitely off the table," Waguespack said.

"It ... made me a little angry, to have people designating this part of the city, a very robust part of the city, in that negative way," Waguespack said. 

Pedestrians crossing all over the Milwaukee, Damen and North intersection. [DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser]