This post will help you located Strawberry Fields in Central Park. Strawberry Fields is located between West 71st Street and Wests 74th Street at the West 72nd Street entrance to Central Park. It has become a “must-see” for many tourists visiting New York City. This small, 2.5-acre section of the park draws millions of visitors annually and is a living memorial to singer, songwriter and peace activist John Lennon. It was dedicated on October 9, 1985, in honor of what would have been John Lennon’s 45th birthday. The location was chosen due to its proximity to Lennon’s NYC home, The Dakota Apartments, which are just across Central Park West. Both Strawberry Fields and the Imagine Mosaic are included in our free Central Park Audio Tour for your smartphone.
After Lennon’s murder (outside of The Dakota) his widow, Yoko Ono, worked with landscape architect Bruce Kelly and the Central Park Conservancy to create a quiet, peaceful and meditative spot in honor of her late husband. The area is shaded by elm trees and is punctuated by outcroppings of Manhattan schist. Yoko Ono, in addition to helping with the plans, donated over a million dollars for the landscaping and maintenance of the area. Strawberry Fields in New York City was named for the popular Beatles song “Strawberry Fields Forever.” The song was inspired by the childhood memories of John Lennon, who used to play in the garden of a Salvation Army children’s home called Strawberry Field.
There is a plaque embedded in one of the boulders along the pathway leading to the mosaic. It lists the 121 countries who endorse Strawberry Fields as a Garden of Peace.
One of the focal points of this are of the park is the “Imagine” mosaic, another tribute to John Lennon. This mosaic was done by Italian artists and was a gift from the city of Naples. The inscription in the center of the mosaic, “Imagine,” is the title of what is arguably Lennon’s best-known solo work. People often gather at the mosaic in honor of both Lennon’s birthday (October 9) and the anniversary of his death (December 8.) There is often singing until well into the night on these days. The mosaic is decorated many days out of the year, with flowers, candles, and other items.
Gary dos Santos was known for many years as The Mayor of Strawberry Fields. For almost twenty years he decorated the mosaic daily, usually using flowers to form a peace symbol. His income came from visitor’s tips, and he greeted people with a monologue about who he was and some information on John Lennon. He was often accompanied by both his girlfriend and his dog, Mary Jane. Dos Santos passed away on November 25th, 2013, and while many musicians gather at the memorial to play and entertain visitors, no one has become a permanent fixture the way Dos Santos was.
Just So You Know: Strawberry Fields is a designated Quiet Zone of Central Park. That means that rollerblading and biking are prohibited, along with dogs (on the lawns), and music may only be listened to with headphones. No sports may be played on the lawns.
Hours: Central Park (and Strawberry Fields) is open from 6 am to 1 am daily.
The nearest subway stations are the B and C trains at 72nd Street. The station exit is direct across the street from the entrance to Strawberry Fields and Central Park. You could also arrive via the 1, 2 or 3 trains at 72nd Street, which is approximately a 7-minute walk. Please use this Google map link for directions to Strawberry Fields from anywhere in the NYC region.
When you exit the subway station at 72nd and Central Park West, you just need to cross the street. The entrance to Strawberry Fields is just off to the left (see the yellow arrow in the image below).
You will also be exiting this subway station directly across the street from the Dakota Apartment Building, where John Lennon was gunned down. Click on the link to read more.