On Feb. 7, 1964, the Beatles arrived in New York City, bringing with them a wave of excitement and admiration that had already swept their native Britain and was now encroaching on the world. Few bands have had such a monumental or long-lasting impact on world culture as these Liverpudlians (yes, this is the actual term). As we celebrate half a century of their crossing of the Atlantic, the city that first received them—and that would later on be John Lennon’s home—still preserves sites that defined, or were defined by, the band’s stay in America. Here we list the Fab Four sites of the Beatles in New York.
Strawberry Fields, Central Park
This stretch of the park, between 71st and 74th streets close to Central Park West, is near where John Lennon was shot and killed on his way back to the apartment he shared with Yoko Ono. With the help of City Council members, artists, and $1 million donated by Ono, the area was dedicated to Lennon. A beautiful tile homage with the word “Imagine” was built on the site of his death. Every year on the anniversary of the murder, Dec. 8, hundreds of fans gather to pay tribute to the artist.
Similar to Hard Rock Café, Rockography, at 504 Sixth Ave., serves American comfort food in a rock ’n’ roll-themed setting, which includes a Kiss pinball machine. The restaurant serves a “Brunch with the Beatles” every weekend with classic video footage and music accompanying the meal.
Ed Sullivan Theater
The current site of “Late Show With David Letterman” once hosted “The Ed Sullivan Show.” It was Sullivan himself who brought the Beatles to the U.S. after seeing them in London. The 700-seat theater received 50,000 requests for tickets, and 45 percent of all televisions in the country and 40 percent of the entire population were tuned in to watch the band’s first performance in the country.
As was becoming increasingly usual, the audience had a hard time remaining quiet or respectable, forcing Ed Sullivan to threaten his viewers, “If you don’t keep quiet, I’m going to send for a barber.”
Well, this one may not be directly related to the Beatles. However, the New York Public Library has collected a great amount of memorabilia, photos, records, and artifacts related to the band’s earlier years in America for the library’s upcoming exhibit “Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!”
“Ladies and Gentlemen…The Beatles!” will open Feb. 6 (the day before the anniversary of the band’s arrival) and will run through May 10, 2014. It will be on display in the Donald and Mary Oenslager Gallery of the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, located at 40 Lincoln Center Plaza.