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central park memorials

New York City Memorials & Ash Scatterings

In the heart of Manhattan, there is a place people travel to see from all over the world. It isn’t the spectacle of Times Square, nor the grandeur of the Empire State building. In a unique part of the bustling city filled with high rises and dense urban traffic, is the sprawling meadows and serene glens of Central Park.

History of Central Park

central park memorial

Central Park was created in 1858 to offer urban dwellers an experience of the countryside, a place to escape from the stresses of urban life and to commune with nature and fellow New Yorkers. Over 150 years later, the park still provides this essential purpose. Central  Park is world renowned and holds special meaning to millions of people. Even those who have never visited can envision the park from popular news, tv shows and movies. Most people can recall scenes from blockbuster prominent films: Serendipity, Enchanted, When Harry Met Sally, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Elf, and Home Alone 2, to name a few. If you visit the park today it is host to numerous tours, activities, recreation, concerts and more.

John Lennon’s Memorial

John Lennon Memorial

John Lennon of the Beatles, often thought of as the band’s senior spokesman, had a special relationship with New York City. Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono lived in the Dakota Apartments located near the southwest corner of the park. It was here that he was shot and killed on December 8th, 1980. John was cremated and Yoko scattered his ashes across the street from their home in Central Park. To commemorate his life, talents and memory, on March 26, 1981, City Council Member Henry J. Stern designated this area, the couple's favorite in Central Park, as Strawberry Fields. Named after the title of the Beatles' song "Strawberry Fields Forever," the teardrop shaped region was re-landscaped by the Central Park Conservancy with the help of landscape architect Bruce Kelley and a generous $1 million donation from Yoko Ono.

In the center of the area, a team of artists from the Italian city of Naples composed a mosaic of black and white tile with the inscription “Imagine”. It was inscribed with this word after another famous song by John Lennon, "Imagine" evokes a vision and hope for a world without strife, war and conflict. Additionally, there is a bronze plaque that lists the more than 120 countries that planted flowers and donated money for the maintenance of the area.

Ash Scattering in Central Park

Many people have a special connection to the park. Even those that don’t live nearby often have visited the park for a special occasion such as a birthday, date, anniversary, engagement, or get-together with family and friends. It also includes memorials and ash scatterings, however, this may not come to mind immediately due to the discreet and private nature of such events. NYC Parks Department has established rules and guidelines to follow for memorials, and sometimes permits are necessary. Groups of 20 or more must apply and comply with the Park’s Special Events Permit. Scattering of ashes is prohibited on playgrounds, athletic fields, bodies of water, restricted areas, developed facilities, hard surfaces, or heavily trafficked areas within the park.  Leaving markers, monuments, plaques, photos, flowers, etc. is also prohibited. 

Ecorial Ash Scattering Services is the only company that offers a way to eliminate the hassle and logistics of conducting a memorial in the park.  Along with a custom box to securely ship a loved one’s cremains, they also provide an environmentally friendly urn, obtain necessary permits and authorizations, take photos and video of the scattering, and provide a certificate of scattering. Click here to learn more. They also have the only app and website for creating a permanent digital recording of a memorial with exact GPS coordinates, date and time stamp.  The app gives family and friends of the deceased the ability to quickly and easily add memories, photos and stories that they can then share digitally via email or social media. 

Immigration and the City

There are many other reasons why so many people have a connection to New York. The area is arguably the strongest connection to immigration in America - hundreds of millions of Americans can trace their immigrant ancestors to the port of New York, which has been a destination of immigrants for over four centuries. In the 1800s, rising political instability, economic distress, and religious persecution plagued Europe, fueling the largest mass human migration in the history of the world. This was also the first and longest era of immigration which lasted until the American Revolution in 1775. Most of these first settlers were of British, German, and Dutch dissent. However, today people from all over the world from nearly every background and nationality can be found in New York. 

Sometimes called the capital of the world; New York City attracts visitors year-round to see its iconic landmarks, historic museums and endless array of bars and restaurants. From the empire state building, to the statue of liberty, to broadway.. there’s an emblematic location for just about anyone. This time of the year ice skating in one of the city’s many skating rinks is a popular activity. Though due to COVID restrictions many rinks have had to alter their availability and events. 

Memorials Off New York Harbor and Long Island

memorials new york harbor

Those who have a special connection to the sea or their heritage might be interested in having a memorial off Long Island. This option offers an opportunity for family and friends to get together on a boat at sea and celebrate the life of a loved one in a memorable way. Set sail with an experienced memorial-at-sea captain who knows how to work with you to make the event special. City skyline views on the horizon and crisp ocean air make for a breathtaking atmosphere that embodies this type of ceremony. You can personalize the event with flowers, poems, songs and much more depending on how creative you would like to be!

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