November 20, 1965 — “Mike D” of the Beastie Boys born

Michael Diamond was born in New York City, a member of a Jewish family. In the late Seventies, he was a founding member of the band then called The Young Aborigines, in which he was the drummer. In 1981, Adam Yauch (better known as MCA) joined the band, followed in 1983 by Adam Horovitz (better known as Ad-Rock). By this time, Diamond, now performing under the stage name Mike D, was the sole remaining original member of the band, which had renamed itself The Beastie Boys after Yauch joined.

As a member of the Beastie Boys, Diamond has enjoyed creative and commercial success. Their breakthrough hit was 1987’s “You Gotta Fight For Your Right (To Party)”, with subsequent hits “So What’cha Want”, “Sabotage” and “Intergalactic”. The band broke up in 2012 after the death of MCA, a.k.a. Adam Yauch.

1964 — Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys born

Adam Yauch was born and bred in Brooklyn. His Catholic father and Jewish mother raised him without religion – although he later found Buddhism without their help. He is best known as a founding member of the Beastie Boys, and along with Mike D, one of only two members to have stayed with the band for its entire career.

Yauch was a political activist, especially concerned with the issue of Tibetan freedom, but also a film-maker and a music producer. He died in 2014 from a cancer affecting his parotid gland and lymph nodes. He was 47 years old.

Referenced in:
The Chanukah Song (Part II) — Adam Sandler

1892 – Ellis Island Inspection Station opens

Ellis Island is a small island in Upper New York Bay, near Liberty Island and Jersey City. A natural island, it was greatly expanded with landfill (much of it having come from the tunnels being dug for New York’s subways) to create a larger, flatter area on which to construct the Inspection Station.

From 1892 to 1954, it was the major landing place for immigrants entering the United States of America from Europe. Literally millions of people passed through the Inspection Station (less than 2% of arrivals were rejected) on their way to new lives – most of whom would settle in New Jersey, New York or other nearby states. The first immigrant to pass through Ellis Island was Annie Moore, a 15-year-old girl from Cork, Ireland, who arrived on the ship Nevada on New Year’s Day, 1892. She and her two brothers had come to America to be reunited with their parents.

Referenced in:
An Open Letter to NYC — Beastie Boys