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Push to rename State Street park for Brooklyn Heights' MCA

A drive to name a Brooklyn Heights playground after the late Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys, who grew up in the neighborhood, has taken a new turn and has gotten the support of Beastie Boys’ management.

The drive to memorialize Yauch, who died on May 4, appears to have originated with a comment on the Brooklyn Heights Blog from a reader named “She’s Crafty” (also the name of a Beastie Boys song). It originally targeted Squibb Park in the North Heights, long closed but currently being transformed into a skateboard park; a bridge is planned to connect Squibb with the new Brooklyn Bridge Park across Furman Street.

Soon after the suggestion was made, however, other posters began to criticize the idea. One, with the handle “Arch Stanton,” said, in part, “If you don’t get it why don’t you read more about the accomplishments of Dr. Edward Robinson Squibb. You will see his contribution to humanity far outweighs that of Adam Yauch. Modern pharmaceuticals is something everyone benefits from.”

On May 22, Kathleen Hanna, the wife of another Beastie Boys member, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, contacted the blog, saying that her husband was working with the Parks Department to rename State Street's Palmetto Playground after Yauch, who grew up nearby. The campaign then shifted gears to focus on renaming the playground.

The playground, built during the Lindsay administration, was named in a somewhat roundabout way after the Cabbage Palmetto, the state tree of South Carolina where Columbia is the capital. The playground is bordered by State Street, Atlantic Avenue, the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and Columbia Place.

Beastie Boys publicist Perri Cohen emailed the Eagle: “It is true! The State Street Playground!”

The playground is near the Riverside Apartments and attracts a multi-ethnic group of youths.

Yauch, who went to Edward R. Murrow High School in Midwood, was one of the founding members of the Beastie Boys, which started as a hardcore punk group but later veered toward hip-hop. In addition to his rapping, singing and bass playing, he was known for his prowess with technology.

Bandmate Horovitz, in an interview with Rolling Stone, said, “Adam was the Techno Wiz — that's what me, Mike and Rick [Rubin] called him. I went to his apartment in Brooklyn once. He had a reel-to-reel tape recorder, and he had strung the tape all over the place.” Yauch was diagnosed with cancer in 2009.

The Facebook page is still called “Rename Squibb Park in Brooklyn Heights To Honor Adam Yauch” because Facebook does not allow a page with more than 200 “likes” to be renamed. The page currently has 1,086 “likes.”

As of yesterday, the story had attracted attention from the U.K. version of The Huffington Post, the Toronto Sun, Fox News, and such show-biz sites as ultimate-guitar.com and popcrush.com.
May 24, 2012 - 3:08pm


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