“Beastie Boys Square” may not happen, and “Christopher Wallace Way” is as good as dead, but Shane Rossi is giving some solace to fans of New York City hip hop. On Friday, February 7th, the Bronx resident and hip hop fan placed a sign at 163rd Street and Rogers Place in the BX, marking the spot “Big Pun Place,” to commemorate the anniversary of the late rapper’s death.
Pun’s fans, friends, and family have lobbied to have the intersection named in his honor for years to no avail, so Rossi took it into his own hands. “Pun was one of my favorites and I like what he did for the Latino community. To this day, I still see his influence on people,” Rossi told ANIMAL via email. “Bronx Community Board 2 keeps rejecting petitions that his sister is trying to organize because they say his music was violent and he didn’t have a positive effect on the community.”
The sign looks legitimate in every way, and with good reason: Rossi had it made by the New York City Department of Transportation, the same people who make actual street signs. If you’d like to replicate his stunt, a custom novelty street sign by the DOT will set you back just $35.
Rossi tried to put the Jay Shells-esque sign up last year, but shut his operation down when some cops walked by on patrol. He was set on marking Pun’s death, so he waited a full year, until Thursday at midnight, to make his second attempt. This time, everything went smoothly. “It was perfect,” he says. “It was cold, and New York has been getting hit with snow storms every week, so it was pretty quiet out. There was no way I was waiting another year this time.”
He adds that if the cops did catch him, he wouldn’t have minded: “I have been to the Bronx bookings a couple times before and decided if I did get caught and arrested I would be happy to go through the system with a smile on my face.”
According to Rossi, the sign was still up, “shining in the sun,” as of the weekend. Even if it had been pulled right away, he’d still consider it a success. “As long as it lasted for February 7th, that’s all that mattered to me,” he says.