Beastie Boys street co-naming campaign rocks on

BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELL-DOMENECH | A woman in paint-splattered overalls grabbed a spray can off the top of a trash bin outside of Wolfnights on Ludlow St. Standing atop the bin, she drew a giant pair of black eyes that stared down from the wall of the sandwich shop to a man on the sidewalk below. The man, LeRoy McCarthy, held a yellow sign reading, “Beastie Boys Square.”

The artist, Danielle Mastrion, is repainting her 2014 mural of the Beastie Boys — again — to help McCarthy rally support for his renewed push to have the intersection of Rivington and Ludlow Sts. named after the legendary New York City hip-hop band.

Artist Danielle Mastrion spruced up her Beastie Boys mural at Ludlow and Rivington Sts., as street co-naming advocate LeRoy McCarthy held up a sign he hopes to see displayed at the intersection someday. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

Fans of the Beastie Boys regularly visit the intersection, which was featured on the cover of their 1989 album “Paul’s Boutique.”

McCarthy first proposed the idea in 2013 and submitted a renaming proposal to Community Board 3 in 2014. But the East Village community board voted to reject the proposal since its members did not believe the pitch met co-naming guidelines.

“Hopefully, this is a new day,” McCarthy said, optimistically. He told this paper that Deputy Manhattan Borough President Aldrin Bonilla reached out to help connect him with former local City Councilmember Rosie Mendez to “discuss what can happen.”

She’s a sure shot: Danielle Mastrion working on her Beastie Boys mural. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

According to reporting from DNAinfo in 2014, C.B. 3 co-naming guidelines included that an honoree have been dead at least two years and have been of service within the board community for 15 years. When McCarthy submitted his proposal, Beastie Boys member Adam “MCA” Yauch had died of cancer two years earlier.

It currently states on C.B. 3’s Web site that the board’s guidelines for street co-namings are that the honoree have been dead for at leaset two years and have demonstrated an “extraordinary and consistent long-term commitment to benefit the community.”

The mural took shape under the hand of graffiti artist Danielle Mastrion. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

Making Beastie Boys Square a reality is the last step on McCarthy’s mission of honoring hip-hop’s New York roots by co-naming a street in every borough for the music’s pioneers and luminaries. In Queens, part of Linden Boulevard, at 192nd St. and St. Albans, has been renamed for Malik “Phife Dawg” Taylor, a rapper with A Tribe Called Quest. In Staten Island, Vanderbilt Ave. and Targee St., were co-named the Wu-Tang Clan District. A part of Sedgwick Ave. in the Bronx has been co-named Hip Hop Blvd. and a block in Brooklyn where the rapper The Notorious B.I.G. grew up is called Christopher Wallace Way.

Danielle Mastrion has been keeping an eye on the L.E.S. Beastie Boys mural. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)

“Even if you are not a fan of hip-hop, hip-hop is such an integral part of life and New York City culture,” Mastrion said.

At the moment, McCarthy said he is trying to rally political support for the mural. He said he does not currently plan to make another effort to get the approval of C.B. 3.

The artist used a small scale drawing as her template for the mural. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)
Pants that could pass for a Pollock painting. (Photo by Alejandra O’Connell-Domenech)
The artist poses with friend Kimberly Gray Uvii, a documentary filmmaker currently working on a project called “Coney Island Then and Now.”

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