Imagine 10.10.10

Despite some delays caused by an unfortunate encounter with a Canadian goose on the New Jersey turnpike I spent some of my 10.10.10 in Manhattan. I was actually just passing through New York City on my way to my best friend’s baby shower in Connecticut. With my bus scheduled to arrive in the city just on time for lunch, I had made plans to have a quick bite with an old friend at Artisanal before getting on the train to New Haven. Being forced to spend 3 hours on the J. Fenimore Cooper Service Area while waiting for another bus to pick us up, I had to change my plans a little… first, instead of having it my way and lunching on a delicious Croque Madame, I had to settle for a Whopper Jr. Don’t judge, my options were limited and it was that or some popeyes cajun fried chicken… I also got to know some of my fellow travelers, including two long-time girlfriends who were making the day-trip to New York to celebrate John Lennon’s 70th birthday in Central Park. I hadn’t exactly planned on paying homage to the late-Beatle but figured since I was in NYC on the Saturday following the anniversary and had a little time to kill, I would tag along and follow my new friends to Strawberry Fields.

Strawberry Fields is a small landscaped area of Central Park named after the Lennon/McCartney song Strawberry Fields Forever. Located at West 72nd, it is directly across the street from the Dakota apartment building where John and his family lived, and where he was murdered in 1980. Inaugurated on what would have been his 45th birthday, Strawberry Fields is now a memorial dedicated to the memory of the musician. On any regular sunny Saturday, it looks as tranquil as John Lennon’s messages of peace:

The memorial is typically covered with flowers, sometimes in the shape of a peace sign and other little keepsakes. On the anniversaries of Lennon’s birthday, October 9th, and of his death, December 8th, people usually gather to pay their respect, remember the singer and sing his lyrics together. On what would have been the Liverpool Lad‘s 70th birthday, a larger than usual crowd gathered. By 10/10/10 when I arrived at Central Park, thousands of people surrounded the flower covered mosaic:

His loyal fans had made the trip, some from a few blocks away others from across the globe. They were joined by New Yorkers and tourists who just wandered over, proving that his lyrics of peace and love still inspire many, nearly 30 years after his death.  John Lennon once said that you should “Count your age by friends, not years.” Judging by the number of people standing by him after all these years, he would have been way older than 70 today. Happy birthday John! 

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