The vote Thursday marked a happy end to a nearly decade-long grassroots campaign by Beasties fans to anoint the corner of Ludlow and Rivington streets – as seen on the cover of their 1989 masterpiece – after the pioneering New York rap trio: In 2014, the city council voted against “Beastie Boys Square” by a staggering vote of 24-to-1.
Cultural advocate LeRoy McCarthy, who spearheaded Beastie Boys Square as well as similar landmark-naming campaigns celebrating the Wu-Tang Clan (Wu-Tang District in Staten Island) and the Notorious B.I.G. (Brooklyn’s Christopher Wallace Way), credited NYC council member Chris Marte with helping to push the renaming through eight years after that initial rejection.
“As many of us know, once the Beastie Boys hit the scene, it really changed the hip-hop game,” Marte told PIX11. “I see it as a celebration. A celebration for the Lower East Side, a celebration for hip-hop and especially a celebration for our community who has been organizing for a really long time to make this happen.”
“Thanks to the local residents, businesses, politicians, and organizations, who supported & fight for the right of the street name over the years, plus those who supported from far away,” the campaign’s Instagram wrote in a celebratory post Saturday. “[Beastie Boys] are NY Champions, and it’s about time the City gives its shine to them and to Hip Hop, lookin good LES, nYc, Hip Hop is on the map!”
“It has been a long road to get Beastie Boys Square accomplished, but I am happy to see New York government formally embracing the indigenous arts and culture of hip hop, and the street sign is very appropriate because hip hop is from the NYC streets,” McCarthy told the New York Post.
Mayor Eric Adams will have to sign off on the “Beastie Boys Square” measure before a dedication date can be scheduled.