Another setback for Beastie Boys fan LeRoy McCarhy at Community Board 3’s transportation committee last night. Five out of seven committee members present voted to reject his proposal to co-name a section of Rivington Street at Ludlow “Beastie Boys Square.”
In January, McCarthy agreed to withdraw his request in order to gather more community support. But in a move that CB3 later acknowledged had been, at best, confusing, the full board went ahead and rejected the co-naming bid. The community board chairperson Gigi Li, then decided McCarthy would be given the chance to make his case again.
During last night’s meeting, McCarthy presented signatures from 421 people from the immediate area (the board had set a threshold of 500 signatures). But the main sticking point all along has been CB3’s requirement that eligible candidates for co-namings exhibited “extraordinary and consistent voluntary commitment and dedication” in the community for at least 15 years.
Several supporters spoke in favor of the application, including Tenzin Dolkar, executive director of Students For a Free Tibet, which has its headquarters on East 14th Street. The late Beastie Boys member Adam Younch, she said, played a major role in putting the movement on the map. His commitment to social justice, she added, is clear evidence of a dedication to the local community. Another speaker, Daniel Tainow, who’s lived on Rivington Street for four years, said he’s always admired the 1989 album, Paul’s Boutique. The album cover was shot at Ludlow and Rivington streets. McCarthy said he focused on the Lower East Side not just due to the Paul’s Boutique image, but because the group recorded music on the LES and performed at venues such as the legendary CBGB.
The arguments did not sway many board members. Chiun Ng agreed that the Beastie Boys “changed many lives,” but said the guidelines emphasize local ties, and in this regard, he argued, “the application seems weak.” The committee chairperson, David Crane said, “I do not think (the application) meets our criteria.” One member, Val Jones, disagreed, saying the board should support the immediate community if they are in favor of the proposal.
On March 25, the full board will decide whether to endorse the committee recommendation. The first time around, members voted overwhelmingly against the co-naming, so McCarthy’s prospects look pretty bleak. But last night, as the meeting wrapped up, he said, “I like a challenge.”