Fans in NYC pay tribute to John Lennon, 41 years after his death

Imagine mosaic
Flowers, photos and more grace the Imagine mosaic in Central Park in tribute to John Lennon Photo credit Peter Haskell

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — It has been 41 years since John Lennon was gunned down outside the Dakota apartment building on the Upper West Side.

Flowers, photos and candles have been placed on the "Imagine" mosaic at Strawberry Fields in Central Park, where fans of all ages from all around the world flocked Wednesday to pay tribute to the Beatles great in song.

"He was the music god for pop music. He was the man," said 23-year-old T.J. Bellut who is from Germany. "I'm a music producer as well and I think if The Beatles weren't The Beatles, I think I wouldn't be a music producer today."

"I think his music just appealed to people's souls, I think it appealed to their sense of righteousness, it appealed to their sense of what could be," 53-year-old Chip Lewis of Washington said.

"I came here from Wyoming to check it out and see if it still draws a crowd, you know, does it still matter? And clearly it does," said Ken Drummond. "This place is a sanctuary, this mosaic it's a place where you can come no matter your religious background, your belief system and come together."

Word of Lennon's death on Dec. 8, 1980 came from Howard Cosell on Monday Night Football.

"The most famous perhaps of all of the Beatles, shot twice in the back," Cosell said during the broadcast.

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Lewis said he remembered crying when he heard the news.

"It's 41 years later and we still have people here to mourn his passing, so I think it's just that sense of what his art brought to all of us that brings people out here," Lewis said.

Fans sang along as musicians gathered at Central Park played Lennon's songs, bringing warmth to the chilly day and a sense of unity.

"All these people come together and sing and it's just a feeling of community," said Eileen Wormser, who comes to pay her respects every year.