Big Pun Plaza: Bronx intersection renamed after late hip hop icon

GRAND CONCOURSE, Bronx (WABC) -- An iconic intersection in the Bronx was co-named after the larger-than-life presence who helped put the borough on the hip hop map.

City officials and loved ones of the late Big Punisher, born Christopher Lee Rios, were on hand as Fordham Road and Grand Concourse was renamed "Big Pun Plaza."

"In his short life, Big Pun was a tremendous contributor to the vibrant cultural life of the Bronx," City Councilman Fernando Cabrera said. "I am proud to memorialize and honor Big Pun by co-naming this intersection Big Pun Plaza."

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Cabrera credited Big Pun's family for making the event happen.

"You guys are champions, you made it happen," he said. "You came to us, and you said, 'This has to happen in the Bronx,' and it had to happen in the most famous, the most important intersection in the entire Bronx."

The rapper was born and raised in the Bronx, the Grammy nominee was the first Latino solo rapper to have a platinum album. He died of a heart attack in 2000 at the age of 28, survived by his wife Liza and their children Star, Vanessa, and Christopher Jr.

"This is beautiful...I am so appreciative of this moment," Liza Rios said. "Pun loved the Bronx. He embodied the Bronx, his soul, everything. He loved the Bronx, he loved its people."

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. credited Big Pun's influence to helping bring the Universal Hip Hop Museum to the Bronx. It is currently under construction, and Diaz hoped Big Pun would be one of the first featured artists.

"Big Pun was a treasure," he said. "This is long overdue. This is long overdue for Liza and the family. This is long overdue for Pun. This is long overdue for the B-X. This is long overdue for hip hop."

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Liza Rios concluded by thanking the fans.

"Because of you, he lives on," she said. "This is forever."

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