I circled December 8, 2010 on my calendar back this summer. The day marked the 30th anniversary of the death of Beatles’ great John Lennon, and I was going to make sure to visit the Strawberry Fields Memorial in Central Park that day. Thirty years ago, my dad went to the park with my grandfather, along with countless others, to honor. There was a nice symmetry to that, knowing I would be there this year.
That Wednesday, a day most Fordham students don’t have classes, my friend Claudine and I headed to Central Park West. We’re both huge Beatles fans, and I was really excited to see the memorial for the first time. There must have been hundreds of people surrounding the “Imagine” mosaic, including plenty of journalists, but after patiently waiting we finally got close enough to see it. It was around noon, and the memorial was already covered with mementos: flowers, candles, apples, even bracelets, a shirt, and yes, a Yankees cap. It just how much the city embraced John Lennon: this Englishman became a New Yorker.
There were people from all walks of life at the park. The crowd was melancholy, but there was also something celebratory about the afternoon. Lennon would have turned 70 this year, and the older people were happy to reminisce about the time when the Beatles ruled the world. Young children were there with parents and grandparents. There were plenty of guitar players in the crowd too, and people attempted to sing along with some popular songs. Not only did we not do the songs justice, but we weren’t even able to agree on song- groups of people would start singing “Imagine” and then another group “Come Together”. We did sing “Happy Christmas”, which was very fitting. It was imperfectly perfect.