On New Year’s day 2011 I was in New York City, waking in the Chelsea Hotel (I was actually resident there, it’s not just where I happened to have fallen asleep…) Nice work if you can get it and you can get it if your girlfriend tries…
I recently wrote about John Lennon in Edinburgh and the vibrations that can hit you around my home town. So of course I was going to go to the Dakota building when in NYC.
I was on several tour buses in New York and when I go back, the rule of thumb will be to look for the gayest tour guide, because they will be the most interesting. The guy this particular morning pointed out the site of Studio 54, umpteen defunct theatres, loads of movie references, the Leonard Bernstein centre…anyway, you know what I’m saying.
As we approached the area around Central Park where the Dakota building is, he pointed out a pub called Malachy’s, which was unusual because a) it was a pub in a upper-dupper class residential area and b) it looked like a cowp. He claimed that this was where John Lennon would go for a drink of an evening after he’d got Sean down.
The tour bus drops you off outside Central Park near the Strawberry Fields memorial park, which is pretty disappointing. On this day, someone had formed a banana mandala on the memorial itself, which was puzzling, as I did not know John was a particular fan of the fruit…there are signs enjoining visitors to be silent and respectful, but that hadn’t put off the busker playing Sting songs (Sting has an apartment in the area…) A bit of a dump really.
Walking over to the Dakota was emotional. I thought of John’s last walk home – what was he thinking, was he going to nick out for a pint later that night?
The Dakota building is tourist central (I raise my hand,) a roundabout of people posing for pictures, as I of course did. Must be a bit annoying for actual residents (Lauren Bacall still lives there) but there’s no way round that; the psychic pull will be there for the next few hundred years.
We walked down to the pub pointed out by the tour guide. Although I was still jangly from the previous night’s celebration, it seemed mandatory that we should have a drink in John Lennon’s local (I had already bought the story.)
But it was shut. We looked longingly at the frontage, with its Bass sign and realised that it was only about 11 in the morning. Our diligence at rising early to make the most of our few days in the city that never sleeps had beaten us…