A number of years back, I composed a little entry here on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the death of John Lennon that wondered aloud about the Manhattan he loved so much. Sure, it was well established that he dug living in the Dakota (um….who wouldn’t?) and that he got a tremendous kick out of walking around Central Park (again…who doesn’t?), but I kinda wanted more. The idea of a former Beatle roaming these NYC streets is still such a strange notion. Where did he like to go? Did he have a favorite pizza place (as, it’s been documented, Paul does)? Did he have a favorite dive bar?
In later posts, I managed to answer some of those questions — learning anecdotal evidence that Lennon may (or may not) have hung out at least once at The Mudd Club and shopped for vinyl at Bleecker Bob’s. I also learned that John and Yoko spent a bit of time living downtown in the West Village at 105 Bank Street in the early `70s, before decamping uptown to the plush environs of the Dakota (pictured above, as captured by Kishin Shinoyama).
I believe my mom once spotted the couple shopping in a supermarket somewhere around town. Again — the mind reels at the thought. I’ve spotted Yoko on the Upper West Side on occasion, but have never seen any of the former Fabs in the flesh. Strangely enough, I did recently spot Julian Lennon at a Buzzcocks show at Irving Plaza.
In any case, I spotted this video making the rounds recently, and it certainly struck a chord. Scoring a snippet of the track “Meat City” from the Mind Games album, here’s some footage of John tearassing around midtown in a soon-to-vanish horse-drawn carriage.
Under normal circumstances, I’d launch into a “name those streets” challenge, but these are all too easy and — frankly — all too boring (midtown …. yawn).
But in doing some searching for more, I came across this other clip from around the same era that I’d never seen before, finding John striding confidently and horsing around with flocks of fans through the lush greenery of Central Park (once again). There’s also some nice footage of the old Central Park Zoo (pre-makeover, when it was — essentially — just kind of an animal jail). Hard to fathom that they once had elephants there. You also get John doin’ a little soft shoe in the Bandshell, getting — I presume — breakfast at Tiffany’s (it’s a sight gag) and attending some thematically appropriate event at the Beacon Theatre.
Overall, it’s a lovely clip of a since-lost artist in a since-lost city….