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Don't Call Wicker Park's Most Famous Intersection 'Six Corners'

By Chuck Sudo in News on May 29, 2013 6:45PM

The intersection of Cicero Avenue, Milwaukee Avenue, and Irving Park Road is the one and only "six corners." (Photo credit: Mel)

DNAInfo Chicago has a wonderful story on a subject that has bothered this Northwest side native for years: Increasingly frequent references of Wicker Park’s intersection of North, Milwaukee and Damen Avenues as “Six Corners.”

Northwest Chicago Historical Society president Daniel Pogorzelski says, “There are lots of six-corner intersections in Chicago, but there is only one Six Corners.” That is the intersection of Cicero Avenue, Irving Park Road and Milwaukee Avenue. It’s called Six Corners because, at its peak, the intersection anchored the largest shopping district in the city outside of downtown. Like the Wicker Park intersection, Six Corners fell on hard times in recent years. Unlike Wicker Park, the district and surrounding neighborhood has been slow to rebound.

The Six Corners shopping district has worked for years to bring shoppers back to the neighborhood, but the intersection and surrounding sidewalks aren’t exactly pedestrian friendly, an issue that was one of the areas of concern in an economic development plan for the area. The Sears department store, housed in a beautiful Art Deco building on the northeast corner of the intersection, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, but it’s a Sears, people. Ald. John Arena (45th) has worked to transform Milwaukee Avenue and the many empty storefronts into an arts and culture district, but that may take a hit with last weekend’s shutting of the Portage Theater.

Referring to Wicker Park’s famed intersection as “six corners” is a more recent development, with newer residents to Chicago adopting it as a quick reference of location in the neighborhood. It’s a reference that’s taken hold among business owners. Adam Burck of the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce said “people call it Six Corners because it's the easiest way to address it,” while business owners said they included the name “six corners” into their establishment’s names because it stands out. Dimitri Syrkin-Nikolau, who owns Dimo’s Pizza Six Corners, said he used “six corners” in his business’s name “because I think that the intersection of Milwaukee, Damen and North is in its own right worthy of a name, and that's the name I always heard people calling it.” The confusion of the two intersections has also resulted in some tourists looking for Six Corners landing in Wicker Park.

There’s another, often disparaging nickname for the intersection: “The Crotch.” And we can see how “Dimo’s Pizza The Crotch” and “The Crotch Sports Bar” may not have the sizzle as “Dimo’s Pizza Six Corners” or “Six Corners Sports Bar.”