Parks and Rap: One Year After Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch’s Death, Brooklyn Renames Palmetto Playground in His Honor

Adam Horovitz, a.k.a. Ad-Rock.

Adam Horovitz, a.k.a. Ad-Rock.

Last Friday, one year to the day after the death of the Beastie Boys’ Adam “MCA” Yauch, the Transom stood at the far west end of Atlantic Avenue, in a small but familiar neighborhood park in the shadow of the BQE, for a dedication ceremony in which Palmetto Playground would be renamed Adam Yauch Park.

This was where the Brooklyn-born rapper/director/humanitarian, who grew up blocks away on State Street, learned to ride a bike, and where he played hoops—on the very same court where the Transom plays pickup every Saturday with guys like Jim Strouse. Mr. Strouse, an independent filmmaker, also in attendance, may well spend more time at this little slice of asphalt than anyone else in the borough.

The crowd of about 250 fidgeted in the midday sun. Gen Xers climbed aboard a nearby jungle gym—for the first time in decades, one imagines—to secure a better view as the guests of honor, fellow Beastie Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz and Mr. Yauch’s parents, Noel and Frances Yauch, took their seats.

Arthur Dobelis, the founder and CEO of tech startup Evivio and another pickup regular, turned to Mr. Strouse. “It is kind of your park,” he said.

“Who just said that?” asked Adrian Sas, a local TV producer who works for a show called It’s My Park, which airs on channel 25.

“It’s not really my park,” Mr. Strouse said. And the Transom agreed, since we defeat him so regularly at one-on-one.

“I wish I were filming this,” Ms. Sas said.

Flashbulbs popped and recorders rolled moments later as Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Ad-Rock and Frances Yauch, among others, gave remarks. Mr. Markowitz ended on a purposefully goofy reappropriation of a Beastie Boys lyric. Ms. Yauch remembered how much noise the fledgling rap trio would make rehearsing on the top floor of their home. “God bless our neighbors who never complained,” she recalled.

Longtime Beastie Boys manager John Silva, who also spoke at the ceremony, told the Transom later about the group’s forthcoming memoir, which will reportedly hit bookshelves in 2015. “It’s so early on,” he said, standing alongside his wife. “My help so far has been to gather my ridiculously extensive archives and have all that available to Sacha [Jenkins],” who will edit the book.

Mr. Silva’s wife sighed, “The good news and the bad news is he’s a pack rat.”

“And the band never really threw anything away,” he added. “It’s going to be great.”

Which is when Moneyball producer Rachael Horovitz, Ad-Rock’s sister and a driving force behind the park dedication, burst into the conversation. “Everyone keeps saying that it’s going to be the most stolen park sign,” she said, sounding both amused and concerned.

Mr. Silva considered this. “The money you and I will have to raise every year just to buy new signs,” he said.

On the other side of the park, a scrum had formed around Mr. Horovitz, who hid behind a pair of black wayfarers with pink temples, and Mr. Yauch’s family members. Mr. Horovitz admitted that he had been hoping to shoot some hoops today—that his brother had even brought a basketball—but there were too many people here for that to happen.

As Mr. Horovitz moved toward the exit, the Transom caught his attention and told him that we play here every weekend and would, in fact, be playing the next day.

“Oh, yeah?” he said, stopping to talk, peering over the top of his sunglasses. “What time?”

And we told him.

But not before Ms. Sas forced her way to the front of the scrum and demanded to know: “Whose park is this?”

Ad-Rock’s response—the only adequate response: “This is Adam Yauch’s park.”