Lennon memorial in NYC’s Central Park draws musicians

By Savannah Leavitt

Paulina Butterfly sings and strums along to the tune of “The Night Before” in front of a crowd of several listeners and passersby in Central Park. 

Musicians frequent this memorial at Central Park, which is known as Strawberry Fields. They sing Beatles tunes as homage to British rock musician and activist John Lennon, to whom the memorial is dedicated. 

The city of Naples, Italy donated the mosaic at the center of the memorial. Some say that its stones come directly from the ruins of Pompeii; others say that some of Lennon’s ashes are scattered underneath. In fact, the entire surrounding area is made up of plants and stones donated from countries all over the world. The mosaic spells out the word, Imagine. 

Butterfly, one of the musicians performing one Saturday in late June, said that the mosaic commemorates Lennon’s message of peace by bringing visitors to “imagin[e] that you and I are really the same underneath it all.”

She described Strawberry Fields as “a garden of peace.” In accordance with the memorial’s international significance, Butterfly said, “It’s a place where we remember that we’re all connected and we’re all one.”

Later, two performers, one on vocals and guitar, the other on the keyboard, showcase the song, “All You Need is Love”. The keyboardist comes from Uruguay, only visiting the area. The guitarist hails from the city, his golden retriever lounging in the guitar case. Like their surroundings, these two people originate from opposite corners of the world and “Come Together,” one might say, right here in Strawberry Fields.

Dozens of people gathered to listen and enjoy the afternoon in Central Park. One man even garnished the mural with rose petals in the shape of a peace sign. People took pictures and sang along: “All together now!” someone cheered.

This is the charm of Strawberry Fields. It is a place that gathers people and things from all over the world and connects them with the continuing legacy of music. 

Butterfly said, “My feeling is that if I’ve given positive vibrations to this place, hopefully people have a good memory of it and good experiences together.”

Categories: New York

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