Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rock Band

John Lennon was born on October 9th, 1940.

Di remembered this, on October 9th, as three of us sat sipping cider on 78th Street.

“Let’s go see if anything is happening at the Imagine circle!” she suggested.

We were 6 blocks away from this Central Park memorial. And since I had at least an hour before MadDawg’s arrival, and since it was Friday night and we were feeling all right, we trooped over to the park to see what was what.

Would our favorite local Beatle’s tribute band would be there for the occasion? We’d spent a couple Sunday afternoons listing to the Meetles “rock out” near the entrance to Strawberry Fields, a noise ordinance preventing them from actually playing inside the landmark area.

The Meetles

When we got to the park, we discovered that no one had felt much like respecting the rules of the "Quiet Zone" that night.

The Meetles were joined by about a hundred* people, thronged around the Imagine Circle which - always bedecked with flowers - was overrun on this night with roses and burning candles and chotchkies and sticks of incense.

We joined the crowd just as the Meetles broke into "Help!", and everyone swayed and sang along. I am not the sort of person who makes a habit of talking about energies nor auras, but here I have to say - there was such a positive energy in Strawberry Fields that night.

I'm quite used to being in crowds of New Yorkers. And this John Lennon-lovin' crowd was nothing like the sorts of crowds you encounter in busy subway stations, or plow through in Times Square, or wait in line with for a cupcake at Magnolia Bakery. Nope, this crowd was really positive. It was kind of nice.

Actually, it was really very nice.

Lennons Bday
(Photo by Di)

There was a wide array of ages gathered there. Some people looked like they just came from work in the Financial District; others looked like professional artists. There were the requisite "crazies" (wouldn't be a New York event without a crazy person!), there were couples canoodling, there were friends dancing.

We all sang Beatles song after Beatles song, smiling. No one pushed or shoved or yelled. No one was rushing, no one looked impatient or late. No one looked like they had anywhere else to be but right there, in this moment.

During the verses, there was always at least a handful of people who knew all the words. And during the choruses, our collective voice was strong and loud and positive.

I think John Lennon would have liked it. Or maybe not. What do I know about John Lennon?

In any case, I liked it. Really very much.

*Editor's Note: I am the world's worst estimator. I will never win a "Guess the Number of Jelly Beans in a Jar" contest. And I'm mostly ok with this. But I feel I should, in the interest of full disclosure, bring this to your attention when relaying crowd-size details. I wouldn't bet any money on my numbers. Nonetheless, one hundred seems about right, to this challenged estimator's eyes.

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