‘Beastie Boys Square’ Unveiled in NYC’s Lower East Side After 9 Year Battle

Beastie Boys Square
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Beastie Boys Square
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Photo Credit: Eden, Janine, and Jim

A nine-year battle to honor the Beastie Boys has succeeded with ‘Beastie Boys Square’ in the Lower East Side.

Since 2014, a group of fans has pushed to rename the Lower East Side corner at Ludlow and Rivington as “Beastie Boys Square.” Previous attempts to get the intersection renamed have been unsuccessful, but on July 14, the New York City Council approved the request.

The spot served as the star of the group’s second album cover, Paul’s Boutique. The cover featured a full panorama of the intersection as seen from 99 Rivington St. A clothing store named Lee’s Sportswear occupied the building at the time the album cover was made.

LeRoy McCarthy was the biggest advocate for the approval of the new name. McCarthy has also worked on other initiatives to honor hip-hop stars across the city. He’s a former Bad Boy Records representative and worked on the Notorious B.I.G. street sign and the Wu-Tang Clan street sign on Staten Island.

“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 bcause hip-hop is from the NYC streets,” McCarthy told the New York Post in a comment about the approval.

The Beastie Boys Square battle was so long because some community board members felt the group didn’t meet guidelines. That includes a ‘demonstrated and consistent voluntary commitment to the area,’ according to Susan Stetzer of CB3 in 2019, who voted not to approve the measure at the time.

Google Maps has already made the change and refers to the intersection of Ludlow and Rivington as ‘Beastie Boys Square’ on its maps service. Several other honorary namings and public places were approved, but this one was the most high-profile campaign.

New York City has been slow to embrace its hip-hop heritage, but it’s coming. In 2024 a two-floor Universal Hip-Hop Museum will open to highlight the five pillars of the music genre – DJing, emceeing, break dancing, graffiti, and knowledge about the genre itself.