Hold it Now: Petition to Co-Name ‘Beastie Boys Square’ Withdrawn, Requires More Community Support

Posted on: January 15th, 2014 at 5:06 am by
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Radio stations, TV channels, and newspapers were all in attendance for the story, yet last night did not produce the media-friendly outcome that LeRoy McCarthy and his “Beastie Boys Square” entourage had desired. Despite the mainstream momentum from across the city communications outlets, the transportation subcommittee of Community Board 3 ultimately asked the applicant to withdraw and return with more support from the surroundings.

Street co-namings have been a contentious issue in CB3 for years, leading to the creation of general guidelines in 2006. It was hoped that this would limit the number of applicants after an overabundance of co-names were approved in the mid-aughts. This history didn’t make for an easy vote during the meeting. Tense back-and-forth discussion transpired for nearly two hours as both sides debated the Beastie Boys’ overall “contribution” to the Lower East Side.

Since the application sorta falls outside said guidelines, the sticking point was whether an exception could be made on the basis that Paul’s Boutique was an “exceptional and highly acclaimed accomplishment or involvement linked to Manhattan CB3.”

Supporters argued the significance of the band in both city culture and to hip-hop as a music genre. Three speakers divulged personal stories about their love of the band and how the “quintessential New York cheerleaders” should be honored. The argument was somewhat of a stretch, and the subcommittee mentioned as much.

Opponents claimed that the Beasties didn’t have a strong enough connection to the area.  The cover panoramic photo on Paul’s Boutique was simply that, and didn’t carry the agreed-upon fifteen years of community involvement in the area. Also, the applicant did not carry enough support from the immediate vicinity (i.e. resident signatures). McCarthy only collected 17 signatures from the block, the minimum 75% of residential units set by CB3. But it wasn’t deemed enough, especially since he didn’t go into the corner buildings. And on that front, board member Teresa Pedroza relayed her experience in conaming Delancey and Clinton for her late granddaughter (Dashane Santana) two years ago. She faced a similar situation, and had to return months later with the proper number of signatures.

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In so many words, the biggest advocate on the panel, Chad Marlow, created the compelling argument why this should go through. Mainly that Paul’s Boutique helped with neighborhood exposure through the decades, evidenced by the more than 2 million records sold with our neighborhood emblazoned front-and-center. He argued that the output of the band and its contributions to hip-hop needed a proper home. How the designation would be more an honor for the community itself.

Ultimately the board approved the motion to withdraw the proposal so that McCarthy could return to Ludlow and Rivington to obtain signatures from the area bounded by Orchard/Essex/Stanton/Delancey. Marlow advised the applicants not to do the bare minimum (Office Space, anyone?), but to mobilize fans and “Crush it on their [Beastie Boys] behalf,” so that there wouldn’t be any doubt for a future approval.

For the record, here are the CB3 guidelines with regard to street co-namings. How do you feel about the block being renamed “Beastie Boys Square”? Should semantics impede this from happening?

CB3 Street Co-Naming Guidelines

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