Adam Yauch Park

Adam Yauch Playground

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

Located in the southernmost portion of Brooklyn Heights, this playground is named after Adam “MCA” Yauch (1964-2012), a founding member of the 1980’s punk/hip hop band The Beastie Boys. 

This property was acquired by the City in 1944 as part of the construction of the adjacent Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE), built under the direction of Parks Commissioner Robert Moses (1888-1981). This massive, six-lane, 11.7 mile-long expressway intended to relieve congestion on local streets and to aid industry and business by shortening transportation time between the boroughs. In 1947, three years after the construction of the BQE began, NYC Parks assumed jurisdiction over this property. That same year, this park opened as Atlantic Playground, and later renamed State Street Park. In 1987, Commissioner Henry J. Stern renamed the park Palmetto Playground. 

The playground includes full and half basketball courts, a community garden, a greenhouse, a small fitness area, open play space, drinking fountains, and a dog run. In May 2013, on the first anniversary of his death, the city renamed Palmetto Playground after Adam Yauch, a pioneering figure in music who never forgot his Brooklyn roots.

Born August 5, 1964 and raised in Brooklyn Heights, Yauch grew up playing in this playground. The park was the setting for some of his family's fondest memories, including his father teaching him to ride a bike. A self-taught bass player, Yauch, together with Kate Schellenbach and Michael “Mike D” Diamond, formed the Beastie Boys in 1980. A punk band at first, they embraced the burgeoning early hip hop movement, combining innovative beats, loud guitars, and rhyming lyrics. With fellow band members Mike D and Adam “Adrock” Horovitz, Beastie Boys would go on to sell over 40 million records and remain active for approximately 30 years.

Yauch did most of the music videos for the band, and in 2002 formed a movie studio, Oscilloscope Laboratories. In his adult life, Yauch converted to Buddhism and devoted much of his time to advocacy for peace and justice. He founded the Milarepa Fund and organized the Tibetan Freedom Concerts, which brought global awareness to the plight of the Tibetan people. Adam Yauch passed away on May 4, 2012 after a three year battle with cancer, and one month after his band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Park Information

Directions to Adam Yauch Park

Highlights

  • Adam Yauch Playground

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