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Today I was lucky enough to see the ceremony in Brooklyn to rename Palmetto Playground to Adam Yauch Park. Yauch, better known as MCA of the Beastie Boys, lost his fight with cancer last year. Palmetto Playground, as told by his parents, was where Yauch learned to ride a bicycle in his native Willow Place in Brooklyn, New York. The park is now named after one of Brooklyn’s favorite sons.

One of the speakers said it best: “The ethos of all for one and one for all stood above everything else…the Beastie Boys did everything together.”

The community really came together to pay their respects. There were generations of people out here…Brooklynites born and raised here, who never left, and then people like me who came here to try to fulfill their dreams. I stood next to an elderly woman who lives in the neighborhood. I asked her if she knew Adam. She said that Noel Yauch (Adam’s father) was the architect who designed her home, and said Adam was the sweetest young man ever. She said that she is so proud of him and having the park where he grew up named after him was the perfect gesture. She gave me her program, seen below:

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Frances Yauch (Adam’s mom) talking about her son. When talking about how the Beastie Boys used to rehearse upstairs at their house, she said “God bless our neighbors, who never complained.” Frances goes on to tell us about how Adam learned how to ride his bicycle in this very park.

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In attendance were Adam Horovitz AKA Adrock and Yauch’s parents, who shared their words. Some people we should thank for making the park possible:

  • The Yauch Family
  • Adam Horovitz and Michael Diamond
  • Rachael Horovitz (Adrock’s sister)
  • Mayor Mike Bloomberg (AKA Mike B, as I like to call him)
  • Parks Commissioner Veronica White
  • Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz
  • All Beastie Boys fans who Yauch touched

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Hundreds of people came to honor MCA, including many people who took the day off to make it here.

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Adam Yauch moved me to Brooklyn

When I was growing up in the Pacific Northwest my friend Joel and I would go to basketball practice in the mornings. My mom would take us and I would play the tape of Ill Communication every morning. We would always listen to Sure Shot and Get It Together. MCA was always my favorite Beastie Boy, mainly because of his love for basketball and unique voice.

My favorite song then (and probably still now) was No Sleep Till Brooklyn, mainly because it was a combination of two of my favorite things: The Beastie Boys and Slayer (Kerry King played the guitar in the song). I always told myself that I need to move to Brooklyn. Obviously, it wasn’t the Brooklyn then as it is now. I mean, Steven Segal’s “Out For Justice” played the song in the soundtrack. However, I knew I wanted to live there because of MCA—to follow his footsteps as a creator.

When I first visited Brooklyn it was by accident. My friend Scott and I took the wrong train and ended up in Brooklyn. Little did I know, it was the High Street Station; the station referenced in their song “Root Down”. It would be a year later in December of 2011 that I would move to Brooklyn Heights, the neighborhood where Yauch grew up. I did not find out later until he passed about this fact.

Rest in Peace, MCA. We miss you so much. Thank you for teaching a Northwest kid Passion, Risk, and Dedication.

“I think every person has the ability to effect change. I think we’re often led to believe that it’s just celebrities have some ability to effect change but I think that what’s important for us to realize is that everyone of us affects the world constantly through our actions, through our every smallest action, through our every thought, our every word, the way that we interact with other people we’re constantly affecting the world.” —Adam Yauch