By Carol Tannenhauser
John Lennon died on December 8, 1980 — 40 years ago today — after being shot by a man of questionable sanity in front of his home at the Dakota Apartments, on West 72nd Street and Central Park West. It happened at 10:50 p.m. He was 40 years old. On Tuesday dozens of people met at the Imagine memorial inside Central Park around 72nd Street to remember and play music.
Jason Haber videoed the crowd singing Dear Prudence.
— Jason Haber (@jasonhaber) December 8, 2020
After the shooting in 1980, the streets nearby filled with mourners in the days afterwards, and Melissa Davis took the photos below of a silent vigil for Lennon in Central Park, and signs and flowers honoring him nearby.
Lennon was many things to many people, but to those who lived on the Upper West Side he was a neighbor. He and his wife, Yoko Ono Lennon, could often be seen walking around, eating at their favorite restaurants, doing errands. One frequent trip involved the repair and replenishing of his iconic, eponymous “John Lennon glasses,” which he did at a small shop on Columbus Avenue and 74th Street, where Dr. Gary Tracy then practiced optometry. In 2017, Dr. Tracy described their relationship to WSR.
He liked glasses,” Dr. Tracy said. “I sold him a lot of pairs. I don’t think three months went by without him coming in for some sort of transaction. He didn’t take much time picking stuff out: ‘I want this, I want that.’
He came at closing time on purpose. We’d lock the door and he and Yoko would enjoy just sitting and relaxing and chatting about local things: what’s going on in the neighborhood, the Japanese market where they liked to shop, Café La Fortuna off of 71st Street, where they liked to hang out.”
One thing they never talked about was The Beatles.
Yoko Ono Lennon tweeted a message about missing John on Tuesday morning.
The death of a loved one is a hollowing experience.
After 40 years, Sean, Julian and I still miss him.
'Imagine all the people living life in peace.'
Yoko Ono Lennon#enoughisenough #peace #guncontrolnow #gunviolence #nra #guns #gunsafety #firearms #endgunviolence pic.twitter.com/TsHWuCdu2Y
— Yoko Ono (@yokoono) December 8, 2020
You can read the December 8, 1980 Associated Press account of John Lennon’s murder here.