With Hip Hop Street Co-Naming on the Rise, is ‘Beastie Boys Square’ Finally Next?
Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of Paul’s Boutique, the critically acclaimed sophomore album by the Beastie Boys. On a local level, the milestone is apt, since the cover photo featured the southwest corner of Ludlow and Rivington Streets. The spot that a one-man army is trying to co-name Beastie Boys Square.
Far from a sure shot, don’t count it out.
In the last couple months, the city officially memorialized two music icons in their home boroughs: famed rappers Notorious B.I.G. (Christopher Wallace Way in Brooklyn) and the Wu-Tang Clan (Wu Tang Clan District in Staten Island), with designation for folk singer Woody Guthrie on the way (Woody Guthrie Way in Coney Island). The votes carried 48-0 on the City Council floor back in December. What does this portend for lone holdout Manhattan and the notorious push for Beastie Boys Square?
LeRoy McCarthy, the tireless champion of hip hop commemoration on the city streets, believes his results in the boroughs could be the turning point to finally giving the Lower East Side its due and proper.
Co-naming Ludlow and Rivington Beastie Boys Square is a campaign over five years in the making, and still a sore spot for Community Board 3. You’ll recall McCarthy’s months-long pursuit in the beginning of 2014 netted international headlines alongside the ire of CB3, whose leadership under Susan Stetzer and then-Chair Gigi Li bungled the application. The proposal ultimately ended in a denial.
Nevertheless, the fight isn’t over. McCarthy is still pounding pavement, as it were, circumventing CB3 altogether. Armed with the recent outer-borough victories, the hype man tells us that he has the backing of Manhattan Borough President’s office, as well as Councilwoman Chin.
“With the advancement of Christopher Wallace Way in Brooklyn for Biggie, and Wu-Tang Clan District in Staten Island, it is an embarrassment that the island of Manhattan has not yet honored Hip Hop which has contributed greatly to NYC,” McCarthy stated in a recent email. “I am hopeful that Council Member Chin’s office will join in the advancement of Beastie Boys Square street co-name.”
This is probably just a game of kick the can.