Chinese, Taiwanese, Korean, Hindi: Flushing is one of New York's most "polyglot" immigrant neighborhoods and one councilman is taking issue with the lack of English on storefront signs. Seen by some residents as the unofficial mayor of Flushing, Hong Kong-born Peter Koo is championing an obscure state law from 1933 that requires businesses to display their names in English; Koo's new iteration is a fine-imposed requirement that businesses display at least 60% of information on their signs in Roman characters.
Opponents in Flushing, which has one of the largest multi-cultural Asian populations in the US, outside of California, say that the sign measure will alienate their immigrant customer base. Others, like New York City comptroller John C. Liu (a Flushing resident who is of Chinese descent), are more outspoken: “Trying to justify this as a public safety issue is hogwash. The real premise behind the sign law is that some people are longing for the good old days.”
· Queens Councilman Wants English to Dominate Store Signs [NYT]