“The Concise John Lennon’s New York”: A Magical History Tour of Lennon’s Big Apple

By on September 8, 2017

If you’ve never been to New York City, and would like to see some of the Big Apple’s sights that will be forever associated with John Lennon and the Beatles, have a look at The Concise John Lennon’s New York: A Magical History Tour, streaming over on Night Flight Plus.

Trina Yannicos and Susan Ryan — who for several years now have been escorting fans around New York City and showing them some of the places that have strong links to John Lennon and the Beatles — give us a walking grand tour of the Big Apple.

They show us the apartment buildings where Lennon lived, the recording studios where he worked, some of the concert venues where Lennon performed, the hotels where the Beatles stayed, and some of the venues and studios where together John, Paul, George and Ringo made some of the most memorable music of the 20th Century.

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Yoko Ono and John Lennon in front of The Dakota (photo by Allan Tannenbaum in 1978)

The tour includes the Ed Sullivan Theater (where they played to a record-breaking viewing audience on February 9, 1964); the Plaza Hotel, where the Beatles stayed; The Dakota, at 1 West 72nd Street & Central Park West on Manhattan’s Upper West Side (where John Lennon last lived, and where he died); Strawberry Fields, where you’ll see the tribute to Lennon across the street in Central Park, including the famous “Imagine Circle”; and the Statue of Liberty.

You’ll also get to see Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, NBC Studios, the former U.S. offices of the Beatles record company, Apple Records, and much more!

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Photographer Bob Gruen and John Lennon

Read more about John Lennon and New York City below.

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The iconic photo of John Lennon by photographer and friend Bob Gruen, taken on August 29, 1974, at Lennon’s rented New York penthouse apartment at 434 East 52nd Street, NYC; Gruen asked Lennon to put on a T-shirt he’d bought on the sidewalk for $5. He’d given it to Lennon about a year earlier.

After the Beatles broke up, Lennon lived in New York City for the rest of his life, from 1971 to 1980, where he and wife Yoko Ono chose to settle down and focus on their family and private lives, offering them an oasis of personal and creative freedom.

They were beloved fixtures in local neighborhood restaurants, at Central Park, and at various sports events and political demonstrations, encountering activists in Greenwich Village.

They also saw the FBI monitoring of Lennon’s every move after he remained active in the anti-war movement.

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This documentary film also traces Lennon’s struggle to remain in the U.S. after the Nixon administration sought to deport them.

Speaking of which, immigration attorney Leon Wildes recently told VICE News in late August that “The DACA program is really a tribute to John Lennon.”

Just this week President Trump decided to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a.k.a. DACA, which had protected nearly 800,000 so-called “dreamers” who immigrated as children (without documentation) with their parents to the U.S.

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In the 1970s, Lennon was indeed a “dreamer” (“You may say I’m a dreamer / But I’m not the only one” ). Lennon’s Imagine album was released almost exactly 46 years ago, on September 9, 1971.

He chose to fight rather than flee, hiring NYC-based immigration attorney Leon Wildes to help him stay in the U.S. after his tourist visa had expired (he was helping Yoko with her custody battle over her daughter from a previous marriage).

Wildes knew it was going to be difficult, as Lennon had been convicted for possession of cannabis resin, and President Richard Nixon was so anti-drugs that he used Lennon as an example of the type of immigrant he wanted to kick out.

Wildes got Lennon’s visa extended, but immigration officials gave Lennon just over month before he would have to leave the country. Wildes also tried to get Lennon a green card, which was denied.

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Yoko Ono, John Lennon and their immigration attorney, Michael Wildes (right), leave the Immigration and Naturalization Service in New York City on March 16, 1972 (photo by Anthony Camerano/AP)

Wildes ended up having to successfully use the Freedom of Information Act to prove that courts of law had previously labeled some immigrants as a “non-priority” for deportation and allowed them to stay in the U.S.

He later co-wrote a book called John Lennon vs. The U.S.A.: The Inside Story of the Most Bitterly Contested and Influential Deportation Case in United States History.

Trump has now called on Congress to replace the policy before it expires on March 5, 2018.

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John Lennon’s New York: A Magical History Tour was released on DVD on August 28, 2007.

Yannicos is a freelance music journalist and tour guide showing Beatles and John Lennon sights in NYC. She has also hosted Bob Dylan’s New York, which was — like the The Concise John Lennon’s New York — produced by ArtsMagic Films.

She is also the Editor-in-Chief of DayTrippin, and has written for the Greek Hollywood Reporter. She blogs at Rock and Roll Traveler and hosts a music interview podcast.

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Trina Yannicos and Susan Ryan

Yannicos is accompanied here by co-host Susan Ryan, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Rooftop Sessions, a successful Beatles fan fiction webzine.

She’s been a Beatle-ologist since 1975, and a former moderator of discussion panels on fan fiction at the New York, Chicago and Boston Fests for Beatles Fans. Read more here.

There is also a 2-DVD Collectors’ Edition available (with three hours of footage) which includes Yannicos’ in-depth interviews with photographers Bob Gruen and Allan Tannenbaum, musician David Peel, playwright Mark St. Germain, and for the first time ever, Lennon’s Japanese instructor at Berlitz, Tamiko Steinberg.

Watch The Concise John Lennon’s New York: A Magical History Tour, streaming over on Night Flight Plus.

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About Bryan Thomas

Bryan Thomas has been a freelancing writer/critic for All Music Guide, assistant editor for the When You Awake blog, and a contributor to Launch, Music Connection, Big Takeover and numerous other publications and entertainment websites, blogs and zines, most of them long gone. He's written more than sixty sets of liner notes. He’s also worked for over twenty years at mostly reissue record labels -- prior to that he worked in bookstores and record stores, going all the way back to the original vinyl daze. He lives in the Miracle Mile neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.