Plan to Name Intersection Beastie Boys Square Not Backed by LES Community
LOWER EAST SIDE — A plan to name a Lower East Side street corner after the Beastie Boys was shot down because it wasn't backed by locals.
Members of Community Board 3 sent LeRoy McCarthy back to gain more signatures of people supportive of his proposal to name the intersection of Ludlow and Rivington streets "Beastie Boys Square."
The intersection is well known by hip-hop fans for appearing on the cover of the band's 1989 album "Paul's Boutique."
"What they [the Beastie Boys] have done for me, for my friends, for New York City and the world, it is important we recognize them for the great band that they are," said Shannon Saks, who has lived on Rivington Street for several years.
She said often when international friends visit they ask her to show them the location of the "Paul's Boutique" album shot.
“[Without the Beastie Boys] I would have a big hole in my heart and I would also have a big hole in my playlist," said Saks, one of several people who turned up to support the proposal at CB3's meeting Tuesday.
The board debated for more than 90 minutes whether the Beastie Boys met its guidelines to support a co-naming. These guidelines include demonstrating at least 15 years of community involvement and support of residents directly surrounding the co-naming site.
"We have these guidelines to attempt to preserve street co-namings. There are only so many co-namings," said the committee's chairman, David Crane.
He said regardless of community support, he did not believe the Beastie Boys had adequately contributed enough to the neighborhood to warrant the honor.
"My opinion is clear," Crane said. "I don't think it meets the objectives."
The CB3 guidelines also require a person honored with a co-naming to be deceased. Beastie Boys member Adam “M.C.A” Yauch died of cancer last year.
In Queens, only one member of the hip-hop group Run-DMC, D.J. Jason Mizell, died before they received a co-naming honor in 2009.
Five of the nine members on the board's transportation committee said they would support the proposal if McCarthy returned with 150 signatures of support from residents surrounding the intersection.
He only received 26 signatures, limiting his efforts to the 20 residences and nine businesses on the small strip on Rivington Street between Essex and Ludlow streets.
Committee member Chad Marlow spoke his support for the proposal, calling it a "nontraditional" co-naming.
"In the case of the Beastie Boys, it is honoring the Beastie Boys, but in a way it is honoring this neighborhood," he said. "It lays claim to our role in the development of hip-hop."
Despite the setback, McCarthy indicated to the committee that he would return in a month or two with the required signatures.
He'd previously been knocked back by a Brooklyn community board when he proposed a different co-naming, this time in honor of hip-hop legend Biggie Smalls in October 2013.
"They [the Beastie Boys] are New Yorkers — they came from New York, they shared their life and times about New York in their rhymes," he said.