Wednesday, December 9, 2009

John Lennon - We Remember...

Exactly two months ago, Kevin and I went to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex in SoHo to join a whole bunch of other people in celebrating John Lennon's life. It was supposed to be his 69th birthday, if he had not left this world so prematurely. I've been meaning to blog about this for quite a while but never got around to it. Since yesterday was the 29th anniversary of Lennon's death, I figured today would be a good day to do so.
We have always wanted to visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex since it opened it's doors in November last year. However, due to the steep ticket price ($26.50 per person and we were not even sure if it was worth it), we just never got around to it. The current special exhibit on display is "John Lennon - The New York City Years". Since it was Lennon's birthday, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex announced that they will be opening up the museum to the public for FREE, in celebration of his life! Since we are huge fans of the Beatles, we decided to go check it out. As you can see from the picture, the line to get in was really long. However, it wasn't that long of a wait and it was kinda fun, to stand in line with other John Lennon fans and just chill.
We are not allowed to take any photos inside the museum, so this is a stock photo that I stole off online. The museum on the whole is really not that big, it reminds me of a pimped up and bigger Hard Rock Cafe. Definitely not worth the $26.50! However, there were quite a few cool exhibits to check out. Among them were Modanna's pointy bra, Michael Jacksons hand written lyrics of Billie Jean, Elvis's bible (complete with little notes and highlights) and a whole of of other clothes, shoes, lyrics and memorabilia from other artist. The John Lennon special exhibit was cool though. I learnt that even though Lennon was originally from Liverpool, he always felt that New York was his home. There were all kinds of cool personal memorabilia from Yoko Ono's personal collection on display. His clothes in a hospital bag, still with the tag on, just like how Yoko got it back from them after his assassination. His famous New York City t shirt. All kinds of handwritten lyrics. His personal piano and guitars. All kinds of stuff from his life here in NYC. There was also a whole section displaying his immigration letters and green card petition (something I can identify with :P) as well as his original green card. I never knew that he took Yoko Ono's last name after they got married. The name listed on the green card was John Winston Ono Lennon. Hmmmm, maybe I should pitch this idea to Kev :P What do you guys think? Kevin Paul Wong Podany? Hahaha!
After visiting the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annex, we took the C train up to Strawberry Fields in Central Park. Strawberry Fields was built in honor of Lennon and opened in 1985 on his birthday. The name of the site is taken from the Beatles’s song Strawberry Fields Forever and was also, for Lennon, an evocation of an orphanage in Liverpool by the same name. Lennon had taken many walks with his wife and young son through the friendly confines of Central Park, just a stone throw away from their apartment building. Every year, many Beatles fans from all over the would would flock to Strawberry Fields on his birthday, to just gather and celebrate his life.
Ahhh, here is the famous Imagine mosaic...donated by the city of Naples. This is also the central focus of the Strawberry Fields section of Central Park. Anytime you visit Strawberry Fields, be it in the summer or winter, there will be flowers from fans all over the world. Also, you can be sure to find a few hardcore Beatles fan band around the mosaic on the park benches, playing Beatles songs all day long.
Of course in every famous so called 'tourist attraction', there will be people trying to cash in. There were many stalls, just like this, set up everywhere near Strawberry Fields. There were selling all kinds of John Lennon stuff, from t shirts to posters and photographs.

Here it is. This is where it all ended. Just across the street from Strawberry Fields, is The Dakota (please excuse my crazy hair, it was a windy day :P). On the night of 8 December 1980, at around 10:50 pm, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the back four times in the entrance of The Dakota. He was brought to the Roosevelt Hospital but was pronounced dead on arrival. There was no funeral for Lennon and he was cremated Hartsdale, NY. Some people say Yoko scattered John's ashes in Strawberry Fields, some say she has it still in The Dakota (where she is still currently residing). Nobody knows, I guess it will remain as one of the many secrets of new York. With that, it concludes our day of remembering and celebrating John Lennon's life. RIP Mr Lennon...we remember.

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