The Beastie Boys’ legacy as hip-hop innovators will continue to live on long past the day New York kids stop coming out of the womb knowing the lyrics to every track on Licensed to Ill, and, according to one fan, there’s no better way to commemorate the band’s contributions to culture than by naming a New York City street corner after them.
LeRoy McCarthy, who tried and failed to have a Brooklyn street corner named after Biggie Smalls last year, now hopes to name the corner of Ludlow and Rivington streets in Manhattan (a spot made famous on the cover of their second album, Paul’s Boutique) “Beastie Boys Square” — although the choice of location has some fans scratching their heads.
While both Mike D and Ad-Rock were born in Manhattan, the Beasties’ work was heavily influenced by their time spent in Brooklyn, as evidenced by their shout-outs to the better borough on tracks like “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” and “An Open Letter to the Five Boroughs,” a history that has been commemorated in Brooklyn Heights with the renaming of a public playground to Adam Yauch Park following the singer’s death from cancer last year. Even the name Paul’s Boutique is a nod to a location in Brooklyn, the name of which was later coopted and used for a restaurant on the same corner McCarthy hopes to rename for the band.
Although the iconic intersection may still be a hotspot for hip-hop heads, the site no longer possesses the same gritty feeling that it had when Paul’s Boutique was released, something that would likely go against the Beasties’ consistent striving for artistic integrity. The band, which has taken great lengths to keep their work from being used as advertising (ie. their headlong fight against Goldiebox for creating a parody of their song “Girls” for commercial purposes), would surely balk at having their name plastered on a gentrified corner that is now home to a boutique hotel, a cutesy sex store, and Moby‘s tea bar (barf!).
But who knows, maybe they’d love it. Maybe we’ll hear “Fight For Your Right” in a commercial for Coors Light. Maybe “No Sleep Till Manhattan” just didn’t test well in focus groups.
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