UWS Encounters: Stevie Wonder and Two Beatles; ‘A Very Happy Day’

Stevie Wonder. Photograph by Kingkongphoto.

“A very happy day”

Back in the 70’s, on a beautiful summer day, I lived on West 106 street. Stevie Wonder was a guest of a youth summer program. I was seven years old and held Stevie’s hand for most of the day. A most unforgettable encounter. A very happy day…..

— Jaime Rosa

“Uhhhh. Uhhhh. Uhhhh.”

It was September 1975. My daughter and I were walking on Columbus Avenue and 76th street, just passing the time. Along came John Lennon and Yoko Ono. He stopped, bent down and said “What’s your name, pretty little girl?” She smiled and giggled. He stood up and looked at me. I said something to the effect of “Uhhhh. Uhhhh. Uhhhh.” He bent down again and smiled at my 14-month-old ‘pretty little girl’ and said “And how old are you, luv?” She gave him another big smile and continued to giggle. Again, he stood up and looked at me, where upon I repeated, “Uhhhh. Uhhhh. Uhhhh.” He smiled and said, “It’s been nice talking with you,” waved at my daughter and walked off with Yoko. Everyone on the street came over and asked me, “What did he say to you? What did you say to him?” I still couldn’t speak! To this day, my daughter remains proud of her interaction with John Lennon; while I am still embarrassed!

— Sari Anthony

“…our most amazing encounter!!”

My husband and I lived on 83rd Street by Columbus Avenue. We decided to take out the dog for a walk in Riverside Park. We stopped to look over the beautiful Hudson River and I heard someone speaking in a very distinctive English accent. I turned around and to our surprise, sitting on a bench was Paul McCartney and his girlfriend (at the time.) We sat on a bench nearby and I thought of all the hours I had stood outside the Plaza hotel just to get a glimpse of my favorite Beatle Paul, and now I am only 20 feet away! Unfortunately, in a few minutes, other people started to notice his presence; the bikers and walkers stopped and the cell phones came out. Paul whispered to his girl and they got up and walked towards the park exit. We wished he would stay longer, but it still was our most amazing encounter!!

— Ema Bosi

Maggie and a mug.

You can win the mug (not the dog) if you send an encounter (it doesn’t have to involve a celebrity!!) and we post it. Send to westsiderag@gmail.com — subject: Encounters Submission. Keep it to 175 words or less, and include your real name for a byline, and your address. We won’t print the address; we need it to deliver your mug.

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COLUMNS | 2 comments | permalink
    1. EdNY says:

      One of the things that makes me proud to be a NYer is our tendency to treat celebrities who are out in public just like anyone else and not bother them (other than, maybe, a smile or nod of recognition). There are exceptions, of course, for the handful of iconic ones like McCartney, where the temptation is just too great. I remember walking up Lexington Avenue back in the mid-sixties and seeing then-Senator Robert Kennedy with his family out for a stroll. Of course, he was gracious (politicians generally have to be) when I stopped to shake his hand. Little did I know…..

    2. Nicholas M Archer says:

      In the 1980s, Hunan Park was a popular Chinese Restaurant on Columbus Avenue between 71st and 70th Street. A friend and I went in one night and, after we were seated at one of the small tables for two, separated by about foot or so, I realized the table next to us was hosting Mick Jagger and drummer Charlie Watts. They left before we did and Jagger, who is quite tall, wore a full length grey top coat and he and Watts enjoyed complete anonymity.