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Strawberry Fields Memorial

From Academic Kids

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Flowers and a card left at the Strawberry Fields Memorial in Central Park, NYC

The Strawberry Fields memorial is the name given to a garden in New York's Central Park, dedicated to the memory of musician John Lennon, and named after one of his songs, "Strawberry Fields Forever." It was designed by landscape architect Bruce Kelly (1948-1993), one of the principal members of the Central Park Conservancy's management at the time the chief landscape architect for the Conservancy's restoration planning team .

The entrance to the memorial is located on Central Park West at 72nd Street, directly across from the Dakota building, where Lennon lived for the latter part of his life. The memorial is a triangular piece of land whose focal point is a circular mosaic of inlaid stones, made by Italian craftsmen as a gift from the city of Naples. In the center of the mosaic is a single word, the title of one of Lennon's most famous songs: "Imagine". Along the borders of the triangular area are benches which are endowed in memory of other individuals, maintained by the Central Park Conservancy. Along a path toward the southeast, a plaque lists the nations which contributed to building the memorial. Yoko Ono, who keeps apartments in The Dakota, contributed over a million dollars for the landscaping and for the upkeep endowment.

It is not uncommon for the memorial to be covered with flowers, candles in glasses and other belongings left behind by fans of Lennon and Beatles. On Lennon's birthday (October 9th) and on the anniversary of his death (December 8th), 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. Many times, particularly in the summer and on the anniversaries of the other Beatles' birthdays, other gatherings commence at the site. In the days following September 11, 2001, candlelight vigils were held at the Imagine Circle to remember those killed at the World Trade Center, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon.

The mosaic is at the heart of a series of open and secret glades of lawn, and glacier-carved rock outcroppings, bounded by shrubs and trees and woodland slopes, all designated a "quiet zone." At the farthest northern tip of the main lawns are three Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichicum) which lose their needles but regain them every spring, an emblem of eternal renewal. Eventually they will be visible from great distances in the Park.

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