One of the best rap groups to come out of NYC has finally gotten their due.
On July 14, the New York City Council approved the co-naming of the intersection of Ludlow and Rivington streets as “Beastie Boys Square” along with dozens of other streets across the city.
The Ludlow and Rivington street corner has long been a destination for Beastie Boys fans because of its 1989 cover for “Paul’s Boutique” featuring the corner and there’s been an almost decade-long push to get it co-named for the group. The 2012 death of Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch was the impetus.
LeRoy McCarthy, a music and hip-hop advocate who had a hand in the naming of Christopher Wallace Way in Brooklyn and the Wu-Tang Clan District in Staten Island, is behind the naming of Beastie Boys Square.
His original request was denied back in 2014, when the Lower East Side’s community board voted against it because they said it didn’t meet all the requirements needed for a co-naming, according to DNAinfo’s reporting. The community board banned McCarthy from bringing the proposal back to them for five years.
Now, finally, it’s happening.
Years before the renaming, there was so much support. Artist Danielle Mastrion painted a mural at the street corner prior to the official naming, Brooklyn Vegan says, and there were thousands of names on a petition in favor of it.
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McCarthy tells us that a “changing of the guard” on the city council helped get the proposal through this time. “If Councilmember [Christopher] Marte was not in office, none of this would’ve happened,” he tells us. “The community board had their obstacles and they were not allowing it to advance.”
McCarthy is currently pushing for NYC and Los Angeles to recognize hip-hop with an official day and/or an official month to celebrate the genre as well.
“It shouldn’t take 50 years to be formally recognized,” he adds. “Hip-hop has had an economic and cultural impact.”
He explained that people travel from all over the world to see the Notorious B.I.G.’s neighborhood and Christopher Wallace Way in Brooklyn and that he sees it as “the Abbey Road or the Graceland of hip-hop.”
“I hope that the community will celebrate these heroes of New York, of hip-hop, and of music, these rock and roll fame inductees and accomplished NYC kids,” he says. “I hope they’re recognized by the powers that be and by the community and our youth.”
According to Gothamist, Councilmember Marte supported the naming and has said that it fits the neighborhood and its cultural significance.
“The Beastie Boys lived and breathed the Lower East Side as the Lower East Side lived and breathed the Beastie Boys,” Marte said in 2017. “MCA, Ad-Rock and Mike D put this neighborhood on the hip-hop map not just by calling it their home, but putting it front and center on one of their top albums. There’s no denying these guys were punks, maybe not their neighbors’ favorite neighbors, but that’s what the Lower East Side was and always will be: a home to people who do things a little differently.”