In recent years, culture advocate LeRoy McCarthy has been campaigning to get a street in Staten Island named in honor of hometown heroes the Wu-Tang Clan, who are practically synonymous with the borough. The New York City Council voted unanimously in December to approve it, and this weekend, a part of the Park Hill section was renamed in the world famous hip-hop group's honor.
Wu-Tang’s story is one of inspiration, and I was proud to commemorate their story and their contributions with the highest honor the City Council can give. #WuTangClan #WuTangClanDistrict pic.twitter.com/EBtqON3LHq
— Debi Rose (@CMDebiRose) May 4, 2019
On Saturday, McCarthy, several Wu-Tang members (including Raekwon, RZA, Cappadonna , and more) Councilwoman Debi Rose, Rep. Max Rose, Assemblyman Charles Fall, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and more turned out for the renaming ceremony at the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue and Targee Street, where the music video for "Can It All Be So Simple" was filmed. (Raekwon also posted a version of the video above online.)
"Wu-Tang Clan District was history in the making, and the dedication day was very emotional for me and many that were there," McCarthy told Gothamist. "Through this success NYC gave official governmental recognition to a group of artists, who are black men, that used a NYC creation, hip-hop, to change themselves, their families' lives, and put Staten Island on their backs while telling their stories across America and around the world."
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#WuTangClanDistrict dedication was a success. Congratulations to the @wutangclan and Management. For those asking; Biggie street: #ChristopherWallaceWay, was passed in December 2018. The dedication date and planning is pending Biggie's estate confirmation. Both Wu & BIG street co-naming were initiated by @heterodoxxinc. #DoingItForTheCulture #HipHopDontStop
"This is a great day where we have an opportunity to honor our own hometown heros, the young men who put Staten Island on the map internationally. They overcame all types of challenges, to not only become rap artist and hip-hop artist but to inspire and challenge the music world," Councilwoman Rose said.
At #WuTangClanDistrict street co-naming w/ @CMDebiRose, the @nycpa @JumaaneWilliams spit some rhymes & shared support for Hip Hop. @cmlauriecumbo @BPEricAdams @RCornegyJr @LondellMcMillan @VideoMusicBox @VibeMagazine @XXL @okayplayer @ShadowLeague @TheUndefeated @HipHopDX @nycgo pic.twitter.com/nRx36PaJDA
— Chris Wallace Way BK (@CWWayBK) May 5, 2019
This wasn't the first time McCarthy has gotten involved in an effort to get the city to pay tribute to musicians: after Aretha Franklin's death, he put up a spray chalk tribute to the singer at the Franklin Avenue stop, and was able to convince the MTA to put up more permanent "Respect" memorials in the station. He got a street in Queens co-named for Malik "Phife Dawg" Taylor Way, he got a street co-named for Sylvia Robinson in Englewood, NJ, and last November, Brooklyn Community Board 2 voted to rename the stretch of St. James Place between Gates Avenue and Fulton Street "Christopher Wallace Way" in honor of Notorious B.I.G.
"At this time, I am hopeful that the NYC Council and Mayor de Blasio will continue the momentum and finally confirm street co-naming legislation for Beastie Boys Square in Manhattan, plus Big Pun Place in The Bronx," McCarthy added (Beastie Boys Square has been rejected several times by CB3). "These last two honorees will complete my objective of landmarks in all five NYC boroughs towards recognition of hip-hop culture and art by the NYC government."