By Kelly Wakefield
In a recent AAG Smartbrief email, Jack Eichenbaum wrote about growing up in New York City after World War II and being convinced he was living in the greatest city in the world. As the AAG annual confference meeting in 2012 is going to held in New York, it would seem appropriate to write a Directions blog on an aspect of the city, so good they named it twice New York, New York. Eichenbaum talks about how those with aspirations in the performing arts, visual arts and communications came to Manhattan to fulfill their dreams prior to the 1960s and so thinking about this led me to look for articles on New York and those that represent these dreams.
Kruse (2003) writes about the secular pilgrimage of those that travel to Central Park to visit Strawberry Fields, the memorial to John Lennon. Geography as a discipline has long been concerned with the character of place, among the factors that create a sense of place are the production and consumption of popular music (p155). Strawberry Fields, like several other sites such as Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion that memorialise popular music figures, can be understood as a pilgrimage (p156). Kruse discusses the actual site of Strawberry Fields and its context within the history of Lennon’s life in Liverpool as well as contributing to the geographical understanding of pilgrimage by employing a postmodern theoretical framework as such an approach permits the inclusion of places not associated with traditional religions, but which are the focus of spatial behaviours characteristic of pilgrimages (p161). I am sure that for the many thousands of AAG members that are attending the annual conference in 2012, there will be many discourses offered to describe, explain and add insight to the Central Park memorial.
Kruse, R. J. (2003), Imagining Strawberry Fields as a place of pilgrimage. Area, 35: 154–162.
Eichenbaum, J (2011) The Fall and Rise of New York City. News Detail, AAG.