One day before the first anniversary of the death of Adam Yauch, (aka MCA of the Beastie Boys), a park in Brooklyn Heights has been renamed in his honor.
On Friday, Brooklyn Borough president Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn parks commissioner Kevin Jeffrey, Beasties member Adam Horovitz and Yauch's parents Noel and Frances Yauch gathered to dedicate and rename Palmetto Playground, located on Columbia Place and State Street, blocks from Adam's childhood home. Yauch’s mother told the small crowd on hand that her son learned to ride his bike in the park.
In statement before the event, Markowitz said: “Bravo to Parks Department Commissioner Veronica White and Brooklyn Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey for renaming Palmetto Playground in honor of one of Brooklyn’s most culturally influential sons, Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch. And, to Yauch’s fellow Beastie Boys Adam ‘Ad-Rock’ Horovitz, Mike ‘Mike D’ Diamond and to the Yauch family, especially ‘all the mothers and sisters and the wives and friends / I want to offer my love and respect to the end.’ Brooklyn has a great tradition of producing some of the world’s most influential and gifted musicians, and Adam Yauch, who, like me, was ‘born and bred, Brooklyn U.S.A.,’ was ahead of the curve as both a talented artist who helped to change the face of music and, perhaps even more importantly, as an always socially conscious, genuinely good person -- ‘Too sweet to be sour, too nice to be mean.’ So now we rename Adam Yauch Playground -- for a Brooklyn boy and king of sound -- his impact on our city was quite profound -- best of the best, pound for pound.”
The rapper and musician formed the Beastie Boys as a hardcore band in 1981, but two years later they began to experiment in the nascent rap scene. The Beasties, made up of Yauch, Diamond and Horovitz, released a few 12-inch singles, including “Cookie Puss” and “Rock Hard” (the former, born from a prank call to a local Carvel; the latter based on an AC/DC-like guitar riff and groove). Their early partnership with DJ Rick Rubin led to the formation of Def Jam Records and the beginning of an incredible career for both the Beasties and Rubin that took off when Rubin produced the multiplatinum debut Licensed to Ill.
The Beastie Boys enjoyed a long, successful career and were critically praised for albums such as Paul’s Boutique and Ill Communication. Twenty years after they formed, the trio had sold 40 million records. Last year, they was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, though Yauch was too ill to attend.
Yauch was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2009 and passed away a month after the ceremony.