Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Michael “Mike D” Diamond were both on hand Saturday as the corner of Ludlow and Rivington in New York City’s Lower East Side was officially renamed Beastie Boys Square.
“This is fucking weird,” Horovitz said immediately after taking the mic; he would later amend that to “fucking awesome.”
The intersection of Ludlow and Rivington was first immortalized on the cover of the Beastie Boys’ 1989 masterpiece Paul’s Boutique. In 2014, efforts to rename the area “Beastie Boys Square” were defeated by a 24-to-1 vote, but eight years later, in 2022, the New York City Council finally approved the name change, leading to Saturday’s ceremony.
“I wanna thank everyone that loves Beastie Boys music,” Ad-Rock added. “I don’t really understand why, but I know that I love it, so in a way that makes us kind of friends, like we bonded over these weird records, so thank you.”
Horovitz made it a point to thank the council members who helped make Beastie Boys Square a reality, as well as cultural advocate LeRoy McCarthy, whose efforts have similarly led to streets being named in honor of the Notorious B.I.G., Wu-Tang Clan and Tupac Shakur, among others. He also thanked New York City for “for teaching us what to look at, what to listen to, what to wear, how to love, how to live. Thank you, New York.”
Concluding his lighthearted speech, Horovitz pinpointed what the honor means to him: “We walk around these streets and we don’t really think about who they’re named after, like Ludlow Street, Irving Street, Father Demo Square… but it makes me really happy to know that some kid on their way to school 50 years from now is gonna pass by this and look up and be like, ‘What the fuck is a Beastie Boy and why the fuck do they have a square?’”
Diamond acknowledged the “long road, or a multiyear battle, to make this happen. “We grew up elsewhere, but the Lower East Side was always this cool place that we wanted to go and hang out and somehow, the Lower East Side was gracious enough to have us and let us see so much incredible music,” Mike D said.
“The second we heard rap music, it was so revolutionary and so exciting, the fact that we somehow got to go from being literally kids listening to every hip-hop record, mixtape, song we could possibly try to memorize every word, thinking that we’d be able to actually make a rap record, and go on to make those rap records, and now here we are all those years later, thank you so much for everything.”
To close out the ceremony, Mike D paid tribute to their late bandmate, Adam “MCA” Yauch. “He was our brother on this amazing journey that we all got to go through,” Mike D said as chants of “MCA” filled Beastie Boys Square.