Mic Drop: Hundreds Gather For Anti-Hate Rally in Adam Yauch Park with Beastie Boy “Ad Rock,” Electeds, Religious & Community Leaders

When Adam Yauch Park was desecrated by anti Semitic and pro-Trump graffiti on Friday afternoon the community reaction was swift.  Law enforcement deemed the incident a hate crime and the City Parks Department immediately painted over the offensive tags.  State Senator, Daniel Squadron deftly organized a bevy of elected officials and religious leaders for the “Stand Up Against Hate” rally.  Within 24 hours, it was announced Adam Horovitz, aka “Ad-Rock” of the Beastie Boys and the Anti Defamation League would also participate. By Saturday morning, children had re-decorated the playground with messages of love.

Stand Up Against Hate Pano

Crowd singing the National Anthem

Sunday morning was blustery and cold yet hundreds of residents along with numerous elected officials and religious leaders, packed the park for a demonstration of solidarity and the denouncement of hate in a post-election world.  Senator Squadron presided over the event.  In his opening remarks he emphasized, “Hatred has no place in our backyard, no place in our city and no place in our country.  Anyone who thinks the current political climate will allow oppression to win in this country is wrong.”

Daniel Squadron-Stand Up Against Hate

State Senator Daniel Squadron

Imam Khalid Latif-University Chaplain at NYU & NYU Islamic Center Director-implored, “For us as New Yorkers, if you see something say something has to mean something different today…in our city, we have to set an example that is different than the rest of this country…we in New York will always be together.” Brooklyn Heights Synagogue’s Rabbi Serge Lippe warned against the normalization of hate crimes and vandalism. He called upon Donald Trump to “forcefully and unequivocally denounce these behaviors and those who wish to use his name and election as a pretext stoke the flames of anti-Semitism, bigotry and hatred.” In part he closed with, “As Americans we cannot and will not ignore these actions, nor can we afford to be silent.  For our silence will be heard as indifference or worse permission for further acts of vandalism and G_d forbid, violence.”

Imam Stand Up Against Hate

Imam Khalid Latif

Numerous public officials made their own remarks including Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, Public Advocate Tish James, Comptroller Scott Stringer, Councilmembers Stephen Levin and Brad Lander and Carmelyn Malalis the Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Human Rights Commission. More of their statements are included in the official event press release. But it was Ad-Rock from whom everyone was waiting to hear.

Ad-Rock Stand Up Against Hate

Adam Horovitz, aka “Ad-Rock” of the Beastie Boys

“I’m assuming that we are all here because we are thinking the same thing; spray painting swastikas in a children’s playground is a messed up thing to do!” began Horovitz. “And for many of us, it has special meaning because this park is named for Adam Yauch who was my friend and band-mate for over 30 years. But he was also someone that taught non-violence in his music and his life to all of us and to me.”

Continuing, Horovitz did not mince words and drew a direct line from the uptick in hate crimes across the country  to the outcome of the election.  He encouraged, “Do what you can,” and name checked several organizations to which citizens may donate and/or volunteer their time and skills. “Take what you’re good at and what you truly enjoy and lend your services to the causes you care most about.”  Finally, he evoked popular Beastie Boys’ lyrics to rousing cheers, “Because we can’t and we don’t and we won’t stop!” For his full remarks, watch Brooklyn Paper’s video in its entirety below:

Attendees came from near and far to participate in the rally. Hayley, a Brooklyn Heights resident and mother of three, reflected, “It is important to show our children that we will not tolerate hate speech in our community.  This is a playground where my son goes to shoot hoops with people of all races, religions and genders and it was heartbreaking to see it denigrated in such a sick way. It was meaningful to see such a rapid and emotional response from our elected leaders, the police and the Parks Department.”  Mike Kearney, Andrew Katz and Malcolm Riddle, co-founders of MCA Day traveled from Boston and the Washington, DC area respectively to participate.

MCA Day Guys Stand Up Against Hate

Fan who advocates for Beastie Boys’ street naming, LeRoy McCarthy (2nd from left) MCA Day founders Andrew Katz (center), Mike Kearney (2nd from the right) and Malcolm Riddle (far right).


In addition to the speeches, throughout the event, the crowd was also led into renditions of the national anthem, the spiritual “We Shall Overcome” and Woodie Guthries’ “This Land is Your Land.”  Other celebrity attendees included musician, artist and activist Kathleen Hanna, (Ms. Hanna is also married to Horovitz) and actor and comedian Ben Stiller.  Love trumps hate, indeed.

*Photos & Slideshow Credit: (c) SongBirdNYC

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  • Quinn Raymond

    Glad to see an emphatic response here in our nabe with Ad Rock coming through– but I’m also hoping that our neighbors and community organizations take the message to heart in their own deeds every other day of the year.

    It’s easy to stand up to a swastika– it’s harder to stand up to the subtler but still persistent racism of NIMBYs (and our own biases).

  • Andrew Porter

    Excellent post, SongbirdNYC!

  • Doug Biviano

    It was a great event with an incredible turn-out. Props to everyone for Standing Up To Hate.

    However, a little hate remains on the table by Councilman Brad Lander. We cannot fight hate with more hate and intolerance. He should apologize for his reckless tweet accusing Trump supporters with zero proof:

    “Yet more hatred & anti-Semitism from Trump supporters. Swastikas on the playground equipment in Adam Yauch Park in BK Heights. #NeverIsNow” – Brad Lander

    People have already been violently attacked over this election so it is divisive and outright dangerous for an elected official to add fuel to this fire. Nobody knows if this provocateur was pro-Trump, anti-Trump or neither. We don’t need politicians scapegoating and stoking this hate fire for political gain. Imagine for a second if someone tried to blame a swastika hate crime on you?

  • Quinn Raymond

    This is gibberish

  • PS8 parent

    You seem to be the one looking for attention. You either decry the act, plain and simple, or you are condoning it. Stop blathering on.

  • SongBirdNYC

    Doug, I would like to remind you of the blog’s Terms of Service, written by our beloved Homer Fink himself whom you claim to love.

    “Brooklyn Heights Blog is a private website, and we reserve the right to delete any comments we find offensive. We strive to maintain an atmosphere of free and open conversation, but inevitably, some user
    comments, will spiral off into negative sniping and flame wars. When this happens, we reserve the right to close the posts to further comments. If a commenter repeatedly abuses our comment policy, we delete all of their comments on every post on the site, and ban their IP address…”

    “You may be placed in our moderation cue or banned permanently if your comments are are mostly self-promotional or for the purpose of self-promotion (making lame comments and having your name link back to your business website for instance), obnoxious, beating a dead horse or plain boring. There will be no warning and no appeal. [Guide to good

    Please be advised you have officially crossed over into the “kicking a dead horse”and arguably “obnoxious” categories by posting virtually identical and argumentative comments on multiple posts.

    Second, It is highly offensive and disrespectful that you hijacked Mrs. Fink’s
    post, her first in many years.

    If you have a problem with Brad Lander, take it up with him or bloviate via an Op Ed. Cease and desist. The administrators are already well within their rights to block you.

  • SongBirdNYC

    Thank you, Andrew.

  • Doug Biviano

    Explain to me what is offensive about calling out a politician who is making a destructive accusation with zero proof? I remind you what Lander is doing is confronting hate with more hate at a volatile time and he needs to address this.


    And Nazi Jeffrey J. Smith was there in a red Trump hat handing out literature.

  • Doug Biviano

    For the record, I did ask Brad Lander, when he was walking down Willow
    Pl on his way to the Adam Yauck Playground for Sunday’s event, if he would clarify his remark and explain what proof he had for his accusation. I said to him his reckless accusation could incite good people to hurt one another. He had no comment.

    It should also be noted that I have been nothing but civil on this forum regarding this matter despite others attempting to demean me. If I did offend any readers or Mrs. Fink I wholeheartedly apologize, that was not my intent. My intent was to stand against ALL HATE in the face of hate as a matter of principle and responsible free speech. This is my last comment on the matter on this forum. Warm regards.

  • StudioBrooklyn

    Doug, you’ve copy-pasted the same remarks into different comment threads here. At the very least it’s sort of spammy. Your message isn’t lost on anyone but I think you’ve said your piece, keeping in mind the context of the venue.

  • canit

    Kindly can it, Biv. FFS.

  • HicksOnHicks

    What did Doug say that isn’t correct? We don’t know who committed this hate crime and we don’t know who they supported in the election. Now Songbird wants to muzzle him?

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton

    Um, you were banned from this blog you must have changed your IP.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlsiLOnWCoI Arch Stanton
  • R.O.Shipman

    Occam’s Razor. The hateful white supremacists’ message was accompanied by Trump’s name. There is no dispute that white supremacists are celebrating Trump’s win. The most realistic explanation is that the graffiti was the work of Trump supporters.

    Could it be someone else? Of course. But I don’t think we need to jump through hoops to conclude it was the work of the exact people everyone suspects.

  • Michael

    Brooklyn Heights and brooklyn in general is a great place, glad to see people want it to stay a great place.