Last week a pair of swastikas with the caption “Go Trump” were found spray-painted in Adam Yauch Park, a playground, dog run, and ball courts in Brooklyn Heights named after the late Beastie Boy, who grew up nearby. Although America’s president-elect has apparently been too busy scolding the cast of Hamilton to issue any sort of statement condemning the hateful action made in his name, the people of Brooklyn have responded quickly and with force.
The Trump-inspired swastikas were painted over by the Parks Department almost immediately, neighborhood children covered the spot with paper hearts and flowers, and yesterday more than a thousand people gathered for an anti-hate rally that overflowed the park and onto State Street.
The show of community support was impressive. Politicians including State Senator Daniel Squadron, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams were on hand to speak out both against the specific act and to vow that NYC officials would have zero tolerance for the sort of hate crimes and bigoted bullying that have spiked alarmingly around the country since Trump’s election two weeks ago.
But the biggest draw on the mic was Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, Yauch’s bandmate and close friend for more than 30 years. Horovitz attended the rally with his wife, the musician and feminist activist Kathleen Hanna of Le Tigre, Bikini Kill, and, most recently, The Julie Ruin.
“Spray-painting swastikas in a children’s playground is a messed-up thing to do,” said Horovitz.
The King Ad-Rock condemned “someone in New York City linking Nazi Germany to Donald Trump in a ‘Hell yeah’ kind of way in a park where children play” before going on to cite several local and national incidents of hate crimes in the new Trump era. He implored the crowd to do whatever they could to fight back, whether by protesting, volunteering, making art, or donating money to Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, and other organizations.
“Keep your eyes open, stand up for each other,” Horovitz said. “This is homegrown terrorism for real.”
After the speeches Horovitz patiently posed for dozens of photographs with the crowd. Also spotted in the park were DJ Hurricane, Champagne Jerry, Ben Stiller, and Leroy McCarthy, the fan who petitioned for Beastie Boys Square.