TV doesn’t lie

Some of you may know that I am something of a psychotic Law & Order fan. And I was pleased as punch when Chicago’s very own Dennis Farina took over to fill the very large shoes of Jerry Orbach. But I’ve also been noticing that the writers in Law & Order are turning his character into a conglomeration of Chicago stereotypes (fine Italian clothing, fancy car, a fat roll that no cop would have from their normal income – mob connections, anyone?)

So when I was watching the show last night, and one of the characters was also from Chicago, they made what I thought at the time to be an enormous error. Farina asks the girl “Cubs or Sox” and she laughs. They talk further and find out she is from “Patch” and Farina is from “Little Sicily”. I was immediately livid, wondering why the writers would chose to make up imaginary neighborhoods in a city with 50,000,000,000 neighborhoods to choose from. Hello, fact-check?

Of course, I search this morning and find out that, in some minor cases, “Little Italy” is also known as “Little Sicily”. Also, Bridgeport was also formerly called “Cabbage Patch” and then shortened to “Patch” (I am assuming they changed the name to sever all connection to the embarrassing dance of the same name?). but that doesn’t mean I am letting the writers off scot-free. The “Patch” born character told Farina that she was a Cubs fan, “of course!”

Oh yeah, duh! I suppose if you grew up in the neighborhood that houses Comiskey, you would be a Cubs fan. Stupid.

On that note, has anyone heard of either of these neighborhoods referred to as these “slang” names?

11 Comments so far

  1. Kathy (unregistered) on October 28th, 2004 @ 9:44 am

    I’ve never heard those terms, and one of my friends grew up in Bridgeport.

    ooh, I just hate it when people try to fake Chicago! Like how they filmed a certain movie about a wedding in Toronto and tried to pretend it was Chicago. LIKE WE DON’T KNOW.

  2. Alana Waters (unregistered) on October 28th, 2004 @ 11:08 am

    Not I.

    When I was working for a local publication, I was working to put together a city guide (ala Metromix). It was a huge learning curve to catch up on all the neighborhood names, especially for someone who didn’t grow up here. City maps, ‘hood folks, and Chambers of Commerce all call them something different and their boundaries change depending on who defines them.

    I have lived in Pilsen and have never heard of Bridgeport referred to as the “Patch”. Why try so hard? It’s as though they were saying, “We’re so Chicago we know stuff about you that YOU don’t even know.”


    And hello, I would *love* to hear that girl sit in any bar on the South Side and proclaim her loyalty to the Cubs. Duck!!

  3. kevin (unregistered) on October 29th, 2004 @ 1:11 am

    i’m from bridgeport and have been a lifelong cubs fan!!! weird, i know!

    i have also heard the term ‘cabbage patch’. it refered to the predominantly irish neighborhood around the stockyards close to hamburg i believe… (where daley grew up around 35th and lowe)….

    remember,bridgeport is made up of many smaller sub-neighborhoods.

  4. John Northen (unregistered) on November 24th, 2004 @ 11:32 pm

    In Chicago, “The Patch” was and Italian enclave near Grand Avenue and Aberdeen St. (1100 W).

  5. Zack (unregistered) on February 18th, 2005 @ 4:43 pm

    The Patch, a neighborhood around Grand and Ogden, was originally much more low-rent than it is today. Many Italian immigrants moved there after entering the states.

  6. Gino (unregistered) on March 15th, 2005 @ 1:42 pm

    Acutally, The Patch is the neighborhood roughly identified by the two previous postings, however it was originally a Sicilian neighborhood. Italians moved to the Taylor Street area. Remember there is a difference between Italians and Sicilians.

    The Patch was home to many notorious Chicago Sicilians. Such as Antonino Accardo.

  7. Giacomo (unregistered) on June 13th, 2005 @ 1:24 am

    I am about Farina’s age and I wonder if he wrote that stuff about “Little Sicily” He is, as we know, from Chicago…maybe they let him round out the character he plays. What neighborhood is he from? I’m out in California now, but I grew up around Grand – Ogden – Ashland, and it was known as “Little Sicily”…at least by the remaining Sicilians in the 1950s. My father was from the old country (Sicily).

  8. WindyCityCitizen (unregistered) on August 25th, 2005 @ 4:28 am

    I was looking for this info about “Patch”, too, motivated for the same reason as the original poster (just caught the rerun of that episode of Law & Order). Being a native born Chicagoan who’s lived here all my life, it really bugged me that I’d never heard of that neighborhood. I came across a site which indicated that it was Old Town that was once nicknamed “Cabbage Patch”, by former German settlers. That didn’t seem right though, since it’s not near Little Italy. I couldn’t find any other info about Patch, so I hope you guys are right. At least that’s the right side of town. (Go Sox!) Thanks! (Go Cubs!) (Grew up on the south side but have lived on the north side for over 30 years.)

  9. steven (unregistered) on November 7th, 2005 @ 12:21 pm

    Ok, this is a bit weird. I was looking at the archive and came across this post. I just saw this L&O last night on rerun and remember thinking the same things that you mentioned.


  10. vinny (unregistered) on February 18th, 2006 @ 3:32 pm

    the patch is grand ave……….gangstaz

  11. jeepjulie (unregistered) on February 18th, 2006 @ 5:44 pm

    Found some information on Wikipedia about the area.

    +Cabrini-Green (Near North Side) stands on top of what used to be an Italian slum called “Little Sicily” or more sardonically, “Little Hell”.

    +Dean O’Banion (also Dion O’Banion) (8 July 1892 – 10 November 1924) was an Irish-American mobster who was the main rival of Johnny Torrio and Al Capone during the brutal Chicago bootlegging wars of the 1920s. When he was younger his family settled in Kilgubbin, a once heavily Irish area on the North Side that was notorious citywide for its crime; it was known as “Little Hell”.

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