Perhaps the most contemplated slab of pavement in New York City lies just off Central Park West at 72nd Street, on the northwest corner of which looms the majestic Dakota Hotel where John Lennon lived the last years of his life, and in front of which he was shot to death in a fanfare of affection more than two decades prior to the day in question. Yet the sidewalk onto which he fell, while subject to gobs of prurient scrutiny, receives not nearly as much attention as a certain slab across the street, sixty yards or so inside Central Park, which speaks silently to each visitor the single word IMAGINE, having been eponymously inlaid after the great Lennon song to form the sole-level centerpiece of Strawberry Fields, that section of the Park dedicated to the memory of the four-eyed Beatle and the better world of which he sang. On the dawn of the day in question, as on every morning in recent memory, the sun rose upon a cluster of white lilies placed lovingly next to the word IMAGINE by an unknown mourner in the small hours.
It was Barnabus's custom, during his short walk to work each morning, to duck into Strawberry Fields and stand before the word IMAGINE, and imagine. He considered this practice essential nourishment for his visionary directorship of the American Museum of Natural History, which stood just five blocks north on the west flank of Central Park.
It was also the habit of Dangerous Dave, infamous hair-raising consciousness-raiser of yesteryear, to stop at the word IMAGINE each evening on his way home from the shoe store, and stand before the word and try to recall what it once meant to him. There rarely seemed to be enough time to do this fully, however, as he was expected home for dinner by six sharp.