About a thousand fans ascended to the Lower East Side on Saturday to cheer on the unveiling of “Beastie Boys Square.”
It was a long fight for their right to party — almost 10 years — but the intersection of Rivington and Ludlow streets, depicted on the group’s 1989 album “Paul’s Boutique,” will now be known as “Beastie Boys Square.”
The location has been a mecca for fans, dubbed “Beasties,” and after Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch’s untimely death at 47 in 2012, LeRoy McCarthy began advocating for renaming the street corner.
McCarthy was initially turned down by Community Board 3 in 2014 because the name change didn’t meet the requirements, and he was barred for five years from reapplying again. But, with the support of Council Member Christopher Marte, the New York City Council voted in July 2022 to honor one of the Big Apple’s most popular and successful hip-hop groups.
McCarthy said Saturday that he’s happy that his hard work paid off — especially during hip-hop’s 50th anniversary.
“This is very significant,” McCarthy said. “You know, this is hometown guys being honored by New York City for a hometown music genre. And so this is a very New York moment, so I’m happy that it is coming to fruition today.”
Marte recalled that the first email he received when he ran for office was asking whether he would support a Beastie Boys Square.
“I responded immediately. And I said, ‘Hell yes,'” Marte said. “It was the first political stance I took as a politician, so it’s been a long time coming.”
Surrounded by elected officials, including Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, Beastie Boys’ remaining members, Michael “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, thanked McCarthy for his tireless work.
“This whole thing was [LeRoy McCarthy’s] idea,” Horovitz said. “He pushed to make it happen just for the love of rap music, you know. And thank you, we appreciate it.”
“I want to thank everyone that loves Beastie Boys music,” he went on. “I don’t really understand why. But I know that I love it. And so, in some way, that makes us kind of friends, right? Like we bonded over these weird records.”
Horovitz said it made him happy to know that 50 years from now, a kid on their way to school will pass by Beastie Street Square, look up, and say, “What the f–k is the Beastie Boys?”
Diamond said the renaming also pays homage to New York City’s diverse music genres.
“All this incredible music that we grew up on formed us,” he said. “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 pushed around by all these incredible people. This is only in New York City.”
Diamond also paid a touching tribute to the late Adam Yauch.
“I would be remiss. I really gotta thank Adam Yauch, MCA,” Diamond said. “He was our brother on this journey, this amazing journey we all got to go through.”
Just in time for the street renaming, a brand new Beastie Boys mural was unveiled on the wall of Wolfnights on Ludlow Street. Mural painter Danielle Mastrion has repainted the mural four times during the last nine years. Mastrion worked all night to unveil the latest Beastie Boys painting and thought it was an honor to depict the homegrown band.
“We did this from the ground up, just as fans, to honor a group that we love and we think represents New York City,” Mastrion said. “Having the street sign dedication is like one of the biggest things. [The Beastie Boys] are permanent fixtures in New York City to all of us, but just to have the official street sign up is like the cherry on top.”
Among the crowd of amped-up fans head-bopping to Beastie Boys jams was Floridian Janete Fernandez. Fernandez was vacationing in New York City and learned about the unveiling on Instagram.
“It was kismet,” Fernandez said.
Lower East Side resident Komal Joshi has been a Beastie Boys fan since high school and shared that she was diagnosed with cancer shortly after Adam Yauch passed away from the disease.
“Adam Yauch passed away, and I’m ever grateful to be alive,” Joshi said. “And I think of him, and I think of what he must have gone through. That’s why [The Beastie Boys] are really important.”
Elizabeth and Adam Conely come from Morristown, New Jersey. Adam has been a Beastie Boys for thirty years.
“My friends and I, growing up, listened to “Licensed to Ill” on tape until it wore out,” Conley said. “And then my first CD ever was “Ill Communication,” so my heart is with “Ill Communication.”
Even the younger fans couldn’t tame their excitement about the unveiling.
Saigi Jaffee, 13, arrived at 830 a.m. with her mother to score a front-row spot. Jaffee proclaimed she was a “huge Beastie Boys fan” and couldn’t wait to see them.
“So I am autistic, and the Beastie Boys are like my favorite special interest,” she told amNewYork metro. “I love them so much.”
20-year-old Maria Lomidze came from Queens and really “got into” the Beastie Boys a year ago, but said they were always a part of her life, hearing their music everywhere growing up.
“I just love listening to them on the bus or when I’m walking,” Lomidze said. “You know, they’re, like, best friends even though I’ve never met any of them.”