As most of you know I live in a very unique neighborhood in Chicago, called Boystown. Since it’s so unique, my life here and the experiences that I have here are also quite unique to the majority of the rest of the country (world). I figured I would start an ongoing series of random posts that detail experiences that I have here in Boystown, that probably don’t happen anywhere else. I’ll start by giving you a more thorough understanding of the neighborhood itself:
Chicago’s Boystown neighborhood is located on the Northside of the city, within the broader Lakeview neighborhood, right on Lake Michigan and about four blocks away from the world famous Wrigley Field – home of the Chicago Cubs.
Boystown is also proud to be America’s first official governmentally recognized gay neighborhood.
The name Boystown was a nickname for the neighborhood back in the late 80s and early 90s while it was being gentrified from a low-income African-American area, by a number of gay investors (who started to gentrify the neighborhood around some old LGBT establishments already in the neighborhood. That is why so many LGBT people then started to move here. Not only was it becoming suuuuper nice, but also very LGBT specific). Starting in 1998 Mayor Daley, the City of Chicago and a few heavy private investors unloaded up to $50 million in fully updating Boystown into one of the world’s premier LGBT neighborhoods, which included the installation of lighted rainbow poles throughout the neighborhood (the above picture). It was that same year that Boytsown became the neighborhood’s officially recognized name.
The neighborhood is shaped like a football, and runs parallel on Halsted Street and Broadway. Boystown offers the country’s, if not the world’s, most thoroughly impressive strip of LGBT entertainment: boasting 60 different LGBT specific bars, restaurants, nightclubs and a variety of LGBT specialty shops - including the second largest LGBT Center in the country, sex shops and Gaymart (yes, you read that right…not K-Mart, Gaymart).
Demographically, its one square mile radius has 79.5% White, 8.72% Hispanic, 5.42% Asian, 4.42% Black, and 1.95% Other. Depending on what site you go to, there are anywhere between 100,00 and 500,00 people who live in this area. I like to take the medium, so I tell people there are about 350,000 folks here. Of those 350,000 people, also depending on what site you go to, up to 89% of Boystown’s population are out LGBTs.
Boystown is not only the center of gay life in Chicago, but one of the main destinations for the LGBT community throughout the country, and world, as well. This has been my neighborhood for the past 10 years, and I’m looking forward to telling you all about the interesting things that happen in my life here.
PS – You should move here and live next to us. That would be awesome.