Covering an area of 1 hectare and located just west of the Lake in Central Park stands the Strawberry Fields Memorial. It was created in 1981 and has been permanently opened since 1985. Back then the former Beatle John Lennon, who had been assassinated 5 years earlier, would have turned 45 years. The idea for the memorial, which is named after the famous song âStrawberry Fields Foreverâ by the Beatles came from the mayor of New York at the time Ed Koch and Yoko Ono. She donated the sum of 1 million dollars for its construction.
The entrance to the memorial which is among the most famous attractions in Central Park is from West 72nd Street and it was chosen for a very good reason â the Strawberry Fields stands right in front of the Dakota Apartments where John Lennon and Yoko Ono were living in the beginning of the 80s. There the legendary musician was shot four times by Mark David Chapman. Furthermore, this part of the park was known to be a very favorite place of the couple and the two often walked in it.
Today Strawberry Fields, which is declared a Garden of Peace by 121 governments, features plants and trees from 161 countries around the world. For this reason, the memorial to some extent contrasts with the original landscape of Central Park. Right in its heart is located a very famous circular mosaic. It is sometimes referred to as the âImagine Mosaicâ because of the only word written in its center â âImagineâ. It is also the name of one of the most famous songs of John Lennon.
The mosaic is a gift to the park by the Italian city of Naples. Except for it, visitors of the memorial can encounter lots of tiny objects and flowers, left by admirers of the artist. Usually many people gather on the site to light candles after huge tragic events like the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
The area is designated quiet zone. It means that noisy activities as well as cycling and skateboarding are usually forbidden. However, this does not stop crowds of Lennon fans to gather in the Strawberry Fields on notable dates, like October 9 (the birthday of the artist) or December 9 (the date of Lennonâs murder). On both dates, as well as sometimes on special occasions, playing music around the memorial is allowed. Close by are other landmarks like Belvedere Castle, Turtle Pond and Bethesda Terrace.