Strawberry Fields (memorial)
Strawberry Fields is a 2.5-acre (10,000 m2) landscaped section in New York City's Central Park that is dedicated to the memory of Beatles member John Lennon. It is named after the Beatles song "Strawberry Fields Forever".
Creation and location
The Central Park memorial was designed by Bruce Kelly, the chief landscape architect for the Central Park Conservancy. Strawberry Fields was dedicated on what would have been Lennon's 45th birthday, October 9, 1985, by New York Mayor Ed Koch and Lennon's widow Yoko Ono, who had underwritten the project.
The entrance to the memorial is located on Central Park West at West 72nd Street, directly across from the Dakota Apartments, where Lennon had lived for the later part of his life, and where he was murdered in 1980. The memorial is a triangular piece of land falling away on the two sides of the park, and its focal point is a circular pathway mosaic of inlaid stones, with a single word, the title of Lennon's famous song: "Imagine". This was a gift from the city of Naples. Along the borders of the area surrounding the mosaic are benches which are endowed in memory of other individuals and maintained by the Central Park Conservancy. Along a path toward the southeast, a plaque on a low glaciated outcropping of schist lists the nations which contributed to building the memorial. Yoko Ono, who still lives in The Dakota, contributed over a million dollars for the landscaping and the upkeep endowment.
The mosaic, in the style of Portuguese pavement, is at the heart of a series of open and secret glades of lawn and glacier-carved rock outcroppings, bounded by shrubs and mature trees and woodland slopes, all designated a "quiet zone". A woodland walk winds through edge plantings between the glade-like upper lawn and the steep wooded slopes; it contains native rhododendrons and hollies, Carolina Allspice (Calycanthus floridus), Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), viburnums, and Jetbead. Wild shrub roses and a mature pink Magnolia × soulangeana flank the main walk. At the farthest northern tip of the upper series of lawns enclosed by woodland are three Dawn Redwood trees, which lose their needles but regain them every spring, an emblem of eternal renewal. The trees can be expected to reach a height of 36 metres (118 ft) within 100 years, and eventually they will be visible from great distances in the park.
The memorial is often covered with flowers, candles in glasses, and other belongings left behind by Lennon's fans. On Lennon's birthday (October 9) and on the anniversary of his death (December 8), people gather to sing songs and pay tribute, staying late into what is often a cold night.
Impromptu memorial gatherings for other musicians, including Jerry Garcia and George Harrison, have occurred at the memorial. On the anniversaries of birthdays of the other members of The Beatles, gatherings take place at the site. In the days following the September 11 attacks, candlelight vigils were held at the Imagine Circle to remember those killed. On the thirtieth anniversary of John Lennon's death, vigils were also held here for him. On weekends, musicians often play for the enjoyment of thousands of fans from around the world who visit the site.
One of its best-known visitors was Gary dos Santos, a fan of the Beatles who decorated the memorial in circles of different flowers and objects, often in the shape of a peace sign. He passed away in November 2013.
- "Strawberry Fields". Central Park. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- Chiaramonte, Perry (2008-04-14). "Strawberry Jam". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
- "Mayor of Strawberry Fields in Central Park dies at 49". PIX 11. 2013-11-27. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
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