Campaign to Rename LES Corner 'Beastie Boys Square' Gains Support

By Emily Frost on April 4, 2014 7:39am 

 Upper West Side Councilman Mark Levine is throwing his support behind an effort to rename a Lower East Side street corner "Beastie Boys Square."
Upper West Side Councilman Mark Levine is throwing his support behind an effort to rename a Lower East Side street corner "Beastie Boys Square."
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MANHATTAN — An Upper West Side City Councilman is backing a push to get a Lower East Side street corner renamed for the Beastie Boys.

Councilman Mark Levine met this week with an advocate trying to get the intersection of Ludlow and Rivington streets renamed "Beastie Boys Square." The politician, who is chairman of the City Council's parks committee, vowed to support any effort to create the homage.

"Hip-hop is New York City history," said Levine, 44.

"The pioneers of the genre have not gotten the credit they deserve."

Music fan Leroy McCarthy has tried to get the corner of Ludlow and Rivington streets named "Beastie Boys Square" for four months. The intersection graced the cover of the band's groundbreaking 1989 album "Paul's Boutique."

But his efforts, which included a petition with more than 2,000 signatures, recently hit a roadblock when the proposal was voted down for a second time by Community Board 3.

McCarthy met with Levine's staff this week to talk about lobbying the City Council to support his plan. 

On Wednesday, McCarthy submitted a request to Councilwoman Margaret Chin's office asking her to propose a resolution to the council in support of renaming the square, which would then go before the Parks and Recreation Committee, which Levine chairs. 

Levine said that if Chin supported the resolution, he would as well. 

Chin did not respond to a request for comment. 

Levine described himself as a big fan of the rappers. "The Beastie Boys undoubtedly deserve a place in the pantheon of hip-hop pioneers in New York history," he said. 

Beyond promoting individual groups or artists, Levine supports bringing hip-hop's history to greater prominence in the city — a move he said would be a boon to the tourist industry. 

Street renamings cost very little and can draw people to an area, he said. 

He also supports funding a hip-hop museum in the Bronx — an idea that's gathering more and more steam with backing from artists including Afrika Bambaataa and Melle Mel. 

"We have this incredible legacy in our midst," Levine said. "It can only be a good thing for New York City."

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