Beastie Boys Square Plan Rejected Again by LES Committee
LOWER EAST SIDE — A push to name a Lower East Side intersection after hip-hop trio the Beastie Boys was again knocked back by a committee of Community Board 3 Tuesday night.
Music fan LeRoy McCarthy has campaigned for four months to call the crossroads of Ludlow and Rivington street Beastie Boys Square. The site is memorialized on the cover of the band's 1989 album Paul's Boutique.
But the proposal was rejected by five of the board's seven transportation committee members.
A final vote on the plan will be held on March 25 during Community Board 3's full board meeting. It is likely that members will side with the committee's recommendation, stopping McCarthy from re-submitting the application for five years.
"To honor them with a street sign from New York City is very significant," said McCarthy, 45, who spent days gathering 421 signatures of support from residents directly surrounding the intersection.
"They have extended themselves beyond what most people do and most groups do."
McCarthy and members of the committee argued over the level of community involvement from the Beastie Boys in the Community Board 3 area of the East Village, Lower East Side and Chinatown.
McCarthy said the band leant their fame and fortune to charities with a local reach that benefited the Food Bank for New York and Students for a Free Tibet, which has its global headquarters in the East Village.
"The late Adam Yauch and the Beastie Boys brought the Free Tibet movement out of obscurity and into the global consciousness," said Students for a Free Tibet's executive director Tenzin Dolkar.
The organization's volunteers helped gather signatures of support for Beastie Boys Square, according to Dolkar.
For committee member Chiun Ng, who voted against the proposal despite the Beastie Boys living in the area during their early career, the band lacks a clear local community involvement.
"The [Community Board 3] co-naming guidelines really asks for a local tie to the Lower East Side," he said. "I find the application really weak on this."
The board's guidelines require a 15-year minimum of community service as well as an honoree being deceased. One of the group's members, Adam "MCA" Yauch, died of cancer in 2012, with makeshift memorials appearing at numerous locations in Community Board 3 that had significance to the Beastie Boys.
This is the second time the committee has rejected the proposal for Beastie Boys Square.
When it was initially put forward in January, McCarthy said he withdrew the application from the committee to gather further local support. The full board went ahead and voted to reject the application anyway.
The board's chairwoman, Gigi Li, later scratched the vote, allowing McCarthy to return with his proposal.