Beastie Boys Earn Incredible New York City Honor

by Blake Ells

The Beastie Boys are as much a fabric of New York City as the Empire State Building and Broadway. Mike D, MCA and Ad-Rock released their debut Licensed to Ill in 1986. Their city’s influence remained throughout their entire discography. The cover art for the follow-up, Paul’s Boutique, featured a corner of their hometown in 1989. That spot, where Ludlow Street meets Rivington Street is now officially “Beastie Boys Square.”

The decree comes from the New York City Council. Christopher Marte confirmed the news in an interview with Pix11. The movement to give the intersection the distinction began about nine years ago, according to Marte. It first came up in 2014. The motion was rejected. The corner is located in New York’s Lower East Side. Now, it moves to a vote in a few weeks. The only thing standing in the way now is a signature from Mayor Eric Adams.

“As many of you know, once the Beastie Boys hit the scene, it really changed the hip hop game,” Marte said. “I see it as a celebration. A celebration for the Lower East Side, a celebration for hip hop and especially a celebration for our community who has been organizing for a really long time to make this happen.”

“Beastie Boys Square” Campaign Began on Instagram

An Instagram page titled “Beastie Boys Square” has been driving the push for the designation for years. When the news came, they marked the occasion on their page.

“#BeastieBoysSquare campaign was initiated by @heterodoxxinc in Fall of 2013, and after years of diligent lobbying the bill for the street name was presented by @chrismartenyc of @nycdistrict1 and on July 14, 2022 it has been passed by the @nyccouncil under the leadership of @nycspeakeradams. Dedication date TBD. Thanks to all the local residents, businesses, politicians and organizations who supported and fight for the right for the street name over the years, plus those who supported from far away. S/O to the media who covered the story. Salute to artist @daniellebknyc for painting dope murals at the @wolfnights restaurant wall location on the corner which brought #BeastieBoys through Street Art to forefront. @beastieboysstory are NY champions, and it’s about time the city gave its shine to them and to hip hop.” – the post was captioned.

Adam “MCA” Yaunch died in 2012. The band didn’t continue on without him. But “Mike D” and “Ad-Rock” have remained a vocal presence in their home. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That honor happened before MCA’s death in 2012. Several retrospective works were released in recent years. There was also a documentary film.

The band sold 20 million records in their career. They’re the biggest selling rap group since Billboard began recording sales in 1991. Beastie Boys Story is available on AppleTV.