The Beasties were global ambassadors from a lost New York City since smothered under the weight of police violence and gentrification. It was a city that churned out hip hop and basketball legends with arrogant ease. It was a city where the question “what do you do” was less about your job than what you did after work. It was a city where the clubs you could get into were less important than the neighborhoods you could get into—and out of. It was a city where if you could see over the counter, you were getting served. It was a city where a scuffle on 42nd and Broadway might spark and you would not even blink.
It was a city that’s remembered as being “divided,” and those divisions were real. Few realized at the time that these divisions comprised two competing visions of the city’s future, particularly who would live, work and die in its borders. Not even the Beasties realized that "you have to fight for your right to party" would become Giuliani-era prophesy.
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