BY THE VILLAGE SUN | “What’s that noise? Aw mom you’re just jealous — it’s the Bea-stie Boys!”
The noise was definitely on the Lower East Side on Saturday morning at the intersection of Ludlow and Rivington Streets, which was jam-packed with hundreds of fans of the local hip hop legends. They were joined by a posse of local politicians, including Borough President Mark Levine, Assemblymember Grace Lee and Councilmembers Christopher Marte and Carlina Rivera.
The occasion was the unveiling of a street sign at the corner co-naming the spot Beastie Boys Square.
“You gotta fight for your right to party,” as the Beasties put it. Getting the street co-naming sign was a struggle, too — nearly 10 years years long.
Hip hop fan LeRoy McCarthy has made it his mission to get street signs installed in each borough honoring pioneers of the now-world-famous music genre that was born in NYC. A photo of the eponymous store at the corner of Ludlow and Rivington Street was the cover image for the Beastie Boys’ second album, “Paul’s Boutique.”
However, back in 2014, Community Board 3 denied McCarthy’s application for the sign, questioning if the group had enough of a local connection to warrant the honor. The board also has a requirement that the honoree have been dead for at least two years. One of the Beastie’s three cornerstones, Adam Yauch, had died two years earlier. But, apparently, the fact that two of the band members were still alive and kickin’ it was an issue, as well.
McCarthy bided his time. Ultimately, C.B. 3 never did approve the co-naming shingle — since the board will only vote on a previously rejected application if something about the application has changed. But the hip hop booster got help from an extra push by local Councilmember Marte. The result: This time it was a “Sure Shot” with the New York City Council approving the co-naming.
In their remarks to the crowd, the two Beastie Boys gave thanks to New York City, effusively saying its diversity, energy and music are what inspired them and fueled their own creativity.
“I grew up here in Manhattan…always come to Lower East Side to eat,” Michael Diamond a.k.a. Mike D said. “We grew up elsewhere — but, like…the Lower East Side — that was the cool place that we wanted to go and hang out…and somehow, whatever, the Lower East Side was permicious [sic] enough to have us and host us and let us see so much incredible music. …
“We could not have ever been what we have become without growing up here in New York City and hearing all this incredible music, being around all this incredible art, being around all of these incredible people. It’s only in New York City. So, thank you so much, Shaolin,” he said, dropping a Wu-Tang Clan-ism.
Adam Horovitz a.k.a. Ad Rock thanked New York City for making Beastie Boys Square happen — giving the city “naches,” Yiddish for “joy and pleasure,” for getting it done.
“If you walk around the streets…you don’t really think about who they’re named after, right? Ludlow Street, Rivington Street, Father Demo Square — I don’t know — I don’t think about it that much,” he said. “But it makes me really happy to know that some kid, on their way to school 50 years from now, is going to pass by this and look up and be, like, ‘What the f— is a Beastie Boy?'”