NY intersection popularized by Beastie Boys album cover officially named after group
Fans took on the fight, so Beastie Boys could have to right…to be immortalized with a street corner.
The New York intersection featured on the cover of the Beastie Boys' 1989 album Paul's Boutique has been named after the rap trio. The site, which consists of the intersection of Ludlow Street and Rivington Street in Manhattan's Lower East Side, will now officially be known as Beastie Boys Square.
The New York City Council officially approved the dedication after an impassioned nine-year push by fans. The location now serves as a tribute to members Michael "Mike D" Diamond, Adam "Ad-Rock" Horovitz and the late Adam "MCA" Yauch, who passed away after a battle with cancer in 2012 at the age of 47.
The bid was rejected by the Community Board in 2014, but the renewed effort was accepted on July 14 after a renewed application was filed. Cultural advocates have been leading the push for the commemoration, as part of an effort to honor the city's hip-hop roots. Councilmember Christopher Marte expressed his emphatic support of the honor, noting it serves as a celebration of all the group's contributions to the genre.
"As many of us know, once the Beastie Boys hit the scene, it really changed the hip-hop game," Marte said in a statement to local news channel PIX 11. "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."
A post shared to the Beastie Boys Square campaign's Instagram account thanked Marte for championing their push.
"Thanks to the local residents, businesses, politicians, and organizations, who supported & fight for the right of the street name over the years, plus those who supported from far away," The post reads. "[Beastie Boys] are NY Champions and it's about time the City gives its shine to them and to Hip-Hop, lookin good LES, nYc, Hip-Hop is on the map!"
The Beastie Boys' sophomore album Paul's Boutique marked a shift in both their sound and style. With the music used to accompany the group's verses composed largely of archival samples - the record had a vintage feel. A tribute to an older, rustic New York, the cover image features the real corner but with artistic liberties used to expand the shot. Captured by photographer Jeremy Shatan, the real life street at the time featured a store called Lee's Sportswear, reimagined as Paul's Boutique using a prop sign. The foldout included with the album showcased a panorama of the entire intersection.
While the block looks rather different today, the Beastie Boys remain closely associated with the area. In 2014, artist Danielle Mastrion painted a mural of the iconic musicians and the imagined boutique at the location.
The group has long been associated with the New York City streets, with founder Yauch, hailing from Brooklyn and referencing the borough in his lyrics. But the three have most commonly been linked to the Lower East Side as well as the East Village, where the rough but eclectic scene of the '80s inspired their work.