Arts & Entertainment

Still angry: New York marks 40 years since death of John Lennon

By Helen Cook

New York City, US, Dec 8 (efe-epa).- The murder of John Lennon at the doors of his residence in New York four decades ago is something that the citizens of the Big Apple cannot forget, and hundreds of them turned up Tuesday to sing and dance around the Central Park “Imagine” mosaic honoring the musician.

“It’s a way for people to get their frustrations out about it. A lot of people are angry about it,” said Dave Muñiz, a Beatles fan who, in recent years, has become the person in charge of keeping a list of singers and the order in which they pay tribute to Lennon each anniversary of his death.

About 100 people sang and danced to Beatles songs such as “Dear Prudence” or Lennon anthems such as “New York City.”

“John Lennon picked the United States to live in. He could have picked anywhere in the world, but he liked it here so he was royalty for us, just like Yoko is royalty,” said the singer.

“He was a songwriter, yes, but he was also a thinker, he was also a philosopher (…) imagine the things he would have said about what’s going on now and the opinions he would have had. So this is a chance for people to come out and get it out of their system,” Muñiz added.

On the “Imagine” mosiac in Strawberry Fields, the area of Central Park near Lennon’s residence in New York where he frequently walked, fans left flowers, candles, symbols of peace, magazines with Lennon’s face, and photos of the former Beatle, both from his early days with his band and from his last years during his solo career.

Despite the fact that it was a special anniversary, the near-zero degrees Celsius temperatures experienced in New York on Tuesday and the Covid-19 pandemic led to a smaller turnout than usual.

Each of the musicians who turned up with their guitars to pay homage to Lennon sang what they wanted to, but the three main songs played, Muñiz said, were “Imagine,” “Let it Be” and “Here Comes the Sun.”

“Still, the main message for this place is ‘Give peace a chance.’ That’s what it is, you couldn’t expect me to say anything else. It’s a little slice of heaven inside Central Park,” he added.

On other occasions, prominent musical figures have come to Strawberry Fields to pay tribute, such as Al Jardine, one of the founders of the Beach Boys and who sang there on Oct. 9, 2015, when Lennon would have turned 75.

Muñiz, who has spent years singing to Lennon in the New York park, claims to have also seen musicians such as Rod Stewart and Duran Duran singer Simon Le Bon there.

No big stars appeared Tuesday – only the faithful musicians who sing to him daily, such as Sean Yox, Mike Porter, Muñiz and James Dalton.

Maria Martini of Brooklyn, who has gone to Central Park for the past 40 years to celebrate both the birth and death of Lennon, was also in attendance.

Martini said she has been a huge fan of the Beatles since she was a child, and finds the music inspiring.

“It is like a religion for me,” she told EFE. “Music is what inspires me to get up every day and go to work, and fill my life with freedom, love and light.”

Yoko Ono, 87, who depends on a wheelchair to get around, did not go to Central Park, but expressed her pain on social media.

“The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience. After 40 years, Sean, Julian and I still miss him,” she wrote on Twitter in reference to Lennon’s two children. EFE-EPA

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