About Strawberry Fields
Strawberry Fields is a section of New York City’s Central Park dedicated to the memory of former Beatles member John Lennon. It draws fans from all around the world to celebrate his memory, and provides a moment of contemplative calm amidst the bustling city.
Strawberry Fields history
On 8 December, 1980 John Lennon was returning from a recording session with his wife Yoko Ono when he was murdered by a disillusioned fan outside his apartment building, the Dakota. An unprecedented outpouring of grief was felt around the world in the wake of his death. In April 1981, a patch of land in Central Park overlooked by the Dakota was named ‘Strawberry Fields’ in his memory, after the Beatles song ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’.
That same August, it was announced that Strawberry Fields would receive a complete renovation, becoming a ‘living memorial’ to the singer. Yoko Ono requested this instead of erecting a statue, believing there already to be ‘enough statues in Central Park’. Construction began in 1984, and was dedicated by Ono and mayor Ed Koch in 1985 on what would have been Lennon’s 45th birthday.
The central aspect of the memorial is a large central mosaic reading ‘Imagine’, after Lennon’s most famous song. In the surrounding park area lie enclaves of grassy lawn hidden away by shrubbery, trees and rocky outcrops, and are designated ‘quiet areas’.
Strawberry Fields today
Today Strawberry Fields attracts visitors to enjoy the memory of one of history’s most influential musicians. Its contemplative atmosphere allows respite to any visit to the city, and often amateur musicians fill the air with acoustic versions of Lennon’s songs.
Flowers and candles usually adorn the central mosaic, particularly on the anniversary of Lennon’s birth and death in which fans also gather to sing songs and commemorate him well into the night. Gatherings have also taken place to commemorate fellow Beatles member George Harrison’s death, as well as the birthdays of other ex-members Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.
Getting to Strawberry Fields
Strawberry Fields is located on Central Park West at West 72nd Street. The nearest subway station is 72 Street Station which is situated directly opposite the Terrace Dr entrance. The M10 bus service also stops directly outside this entrance at stop Central Pk W/W 72 St.