You gotta fight for your right to petition.
Brooklyn hip hop promoter Leroy McCarthy returned to Community Board 3’s Transportation and Public Safety Committee last night with more than 400 additional signatures supporting a Beastie Boys Square on the corner of Ludlow and Rivington Streets. But the committee shot him down with a vote of 5-1.
McCarthy’s response to the latest drubbing of his dream? “I appreciate the challenge,” he said, telling B+B he would appear at CB 3’s full board hearing on March 25 when it will vote on the committee’s resolutions.
He had agreed to the committee’s suggestion to withdraw his application after a Jan. 14 hearing and come back with more evidence of community support. The committee had listened to McCarthy’s re-submitted proposal for the street co-naming — sometimes skeptically, with one member saying it would be a “hard sell” to present to the the full board again (CB 3 had voted overwhelmingly to reject what it called his “pending” application on Jan. 28).
Another committee member suggested that having an intersection named after rap royalty — the same intersection photographed for the cover of Paul’s Boutique — might create “a snowball effect” from people trying to get streets named after celebrities.
McCarthy has made similar appearances at other community boards to promote hip hop artists in the five boroughs. “It’s time for New York City to recognize hip hop,” he said in his remarks. He said the Lower East Side was recognized world-wide as the community where the Beasties “created their craft.”
He attempted to show the band’s community involvement by citing its contributions to various philanthropies and humanitarian causes such as Habitat for Humanity, the Lunch Box Fund, the ASPCA and the Food Bank for New York and to relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Tenzin Dolkar, executive director of Students for a Free Tibet on East 14th Street, spoke of how the band organized Tibetan Freedom concerts with the Milarepa Fund. Beastie Boy Adam Yauch, who died of cancer in 2012, was a co-founder of the Fund.
But committee chair David Crane said the group’s involvement with charitable and philanthropic endeavors didn’t meet CB 3’s requirements. “The Beastie Boys were definitely great guys and great talents, but they really didn’t have 15 years of community involvement” within the Community Board 3 area, he told B+B. “It has to be really strong community involvement.”
Vaylateena Jones was the only committee member last night who supported McCarthy’s seemingly lost cause. “It’s something the residents seem to want and I support the community,” she said, referring to signatures that McCarthy had obtained from LES residents and local businesses surrounding Rivington and Ludlow Streets along with an additional 216 for his online petition.
In other business… the committee unanimously approved a resolution asking New York City’s Department of Transportation to investigate the feasibility of installing as a priority a speed bump on East 4th Street between Avenues C and D. The block, described as the longest in Manhattan and one that attracts drivers who speed, encompasses PS 15 with 500 elementary school students, a separate educational school (PS 94) and two residences for people with disabilities.
The committee also voted for a resolution calling on the DOT to provide more red light cameras in priority locations where there have been traffic accidents and fatalities, noting that New York state law allows for the devices to be installed at 190 intersections in New York City. Crane said the cameras had reduced traffic violations by up to 40 percent.