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Thursday, December 08, 2005
25 years ago
A television here at the office was left on CNN most of the afternoon. Every-time I glanced up John Lennon's face was on it. Lennon singing on stage with the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. Lennon lying around in bed with Yoko during their Bed-In peace protest. Thousands of people gathered outside the Dakota following his death 25 years ago tonight.
While I rag on the Beatles these days they were the Greatest Thing Ever when I was 15. Maybe I was looking for that old familiar feeling when I was in New York a few years back. The Dakota and the Strawberry Fields Memorial were among the first places a friend and I visited. When we wandered up Central Park West a few scattered fans were sitting on the benches around the "Imagine" mosaic. Someone was playing a guitar and generally everyone there looked incredibly depressed.
Across the street I was surprised that there wasn't a plaque or anything hinting at what had happened there. We found the unmarked, arched entrance to the Dakota and an iron gate. No mourners, roses or anything like that.
It was one of those experiences where it should have probably been profound than it was. Instead all I remember thinking is, "Yep, this is where John Lennon died and Roman Polanski filmed 'Rosemary's Baby' upstairs" Maybe we should have read the words to "Working Class Hero" or something. I didn't feel a damn thing standing on the spot where the greatest rock musician of the 20th century died. After a quick stare at the sidewalk we wandered back across the street. The carousel featured prominently in "Catcher in the Rye" received a similar moment of indifference.
But the outdoor patio at the Tavern on the Green, that was really something. We spent the better part of the evening drinking near the spot where Rick Moranis was attacked by the devil dog in "Ghostbusters." The staff immediately began shunning us and we fought back by daring to smoke cigarettes. One of the bartenders, perhaps out of pity or just boredom, kept us supplied with booze. A man who looked a lot like Richard Gere showed up but quickly left when a conference of business people showed up to dance awkwardly to jazz standards.
Hey, sorry, I'm being honest here. If you want a more traditional reflection of the life and times of Lennon, click here.
I expected a $100+ bill when I wandered up to the bar one last time. The bartender passed over a $50 tab instead. "Welcome to New York City," he said with a sneer usually reserved for a daughter's boyfriend or a witless pooch that has just piddled on a carpet for the millionth time. A chill went down my spine and I finally got a dose of the bittersweet malaise I'd been looking for up the street.
Wrong flavor though.
Instant karma, I guess. Knock you right on the head.