Providing the shade, which protects the
black and white tiled mosaic from the
direct glare of the sun, are a cathedral of
American Elms. A gift of Naples, Italy it is
a reproduction of a Pompeii mosaic. Inscribed
At its center is the word "IMAGINE."
If we could imagine a peaceful place in Central
Park it would be Strawberry Fields, a small
2.5-acre stretch of hilly landscape directly
adjacent to the Dakota where John Lennon
(1940-1980) lived with his wife Yoko and
his son Sean when his tragic and untimely
death turned this area into a shrine to his
One can easily imagine John and his family
visiting this area of the Park since he often
strolled here feeling the same reflected
sentiments as others who might take the
same route through this spiritually enveloping
atmosphere. Hardly a day passes when visitors
do not leave tributes of flowers and photographs
or candles on the mosaic to honor his memory.
In 1981, this parcel of land was named after
the Beatles song "Strawberry Fields" and for
an orphanage in Liverpool, England where as
a child Lennon played with the children who
lived there. It was restored with a $1 million
dollar endowment from Yoko Ono.
Inviting nations to send plants and trees to
replace the ones that were
diseased Yoko inspired tremendous worldwide
interest in the project and under the direction
of Bruce Kelly (1948-1993), a renowned
landscape architect and Park scholar,
proceeded to transform a shabby terrain
into a true "Garden of Peace" as it is now
On October 9, 1985, John Lennon's birthday,
Strawberry Fields was dedicated in his honor.
A bronze plaque on the hill behind the mosaic
lists 121 countries that have endorsed it as
a Garden of Peace.
There are over 161 plant
species introduced into this area representing
the various nations of the United Nations.
Behind the mosaic is a hill named Rose Hill, for
the roses that grow out of its rocky crevices.
It is in fact a loop which circles back around to
the site of the tiled shrine. Directly behind the
foot of the loop is the Woodland Wildflower
Meadow, a favorite spot for bird watchers and
To the north of the mosaic is the Upper Meadow.
With its gently rolling hills and a wide variety of
shrubs and trees including Sweet Pepper Bush,
Black Locust, Horsechestnut, Holly and three
Bald Cypresses that border its far northern
edge, it is an ideal spot for those seeking
The northeastern slope of the hill is a woodland
popular with bird watchers and naturalists. It is
traversed by Woodland Walk, a narrow path
filled with rhododendron and jetbead that winds
its way down the wooded slope through ferns
and snakeroot until it reaches the West Drive
at 74th Street.