“Hey honey, remember that guy John that I told you everybody loved?”
– A father to his daughter at Strawberry Fields, Central Park.
There’s a memorial to John Lennon only steps from where he was shot and killed by Mark David Chapman. Strawberry Fields is often quiet and peaceful, despite how close it is to the very busy Central Park West and the number of tourists that come to visit every day.
Gary, called the “Mayor of Strawberry Fields” by the NYPD, places a collection of roses in the shape of a peace sign and Lennon memorabilia at the memorial almost every day.
Gary is a Lennon scholar by hobby; he teaches anyone who will lend five minutes of their time about Lennon’s life. He ends each of his lessons – sermons, really – by flashing the two-finger sign for “peace” and telling people to pay their respects in whatever way they wish.
When I asked Gary how many times he’s given the Lennon lecture, he shook his head.
“I lost count,” said Gary.