Korean Signboard
From JoongAng

December 19, 2003

At a news conference held by the Flushing Korean Community Center on December 18th, 2003, New York State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky talked about her research on the condition of signboards on Northern Boulevard in Queens, where many Korean stores run businesses.

Senator Stavisky explained, "Although there is a suspicion that the inspection is directed only at Korean stores, it is not true because we are also looking at other districts like Astoria where many other community groups are concentrated."

New York City Councilmember John Liu and New York State Assemblymember Barry Grodenchik were also present at the conference. They said, "If Korean stores put Korean on their signboard without English translation, non-Korean residents do not understand what kind of stores they are, and the other residents are more likely to feel alienated or even offended."

Since November 2003, Liu and Grodenchik organized a task force to investigate the usage of English on the business stores' signboards in Flushing from the Main Street to 162nd Street along the Northern Boulevard.

The tension and complaints erupted among the Flushing Korean Community because many Korean stores are located in the area of the inspection.

Chang Hyun Han, the president of Flushing Korean Community, said, "Adding English on the signboard is not a difficult job, and in fact, is very important for us to have a good relationship with our neighbors. But I can't help suspecting that the inspection is targeted only at Koreans."

Han also said, "They are investigating Korean stores based on a law enacted in 1905 that now has become a mere scrape of paper. We wonder why they are pressing us with regulations, such as adjustments in letter size and brightness, which do not appear on the New York City regulation clause."

The inspection on Northern Boulevard is scheduled to continue until the end of this month and the results will be released by next month.

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Translated from Korean by Bonhee Chung

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