John Lennon’s…

Michael Gerber
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John and Yoko at Cafe La Fortuna

Back when smoking was a thing people did in cafes.

This morning, as I tried to get over not being able to afford Kenwood, I found a couple of videos to share. From WNYC, here’s “John Lennon’s NYC”—a great little video showing the Lennons’ local pharmacy, Cafe La Fortuna, 105 Bank Street (just around the corner from where I used to live!), and Madison Square Garden.

For some reason, I love the idea of John Lennon chatting with his pharmacist. “Do you have any natural alternatives to Pepto-Bismol?”

What other NYC venues should they have investigated? Smith’s Bar? Do any of you recall the health food stores John used to frequent? (“Do you have any natural alternatives to Red Zinger tea?”)

Magickal Childe bookstore, NYC

I don’t think I ever stumbled in here, but I might’ve. “Do you carry bootlegs?”

I must admit I was looking forward to seeing at least one thing a little racy—a shot of “The Magickal Childe” perhaps, or maybe even that notorious Korean brothel on 23rd Street. John Lennon’s New York City was for sure quite a bit less tame than what we’ve led to believe, especially when he and Yoko lived down on Bank Street.

And if you don’t like that, here’s a squib about “John Lennon’s Camera”—a Pentax which he may or may not have used to snap the cover of Two Virgins.

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  1. Avatar Velvet Hand wrote:

    I keep wondering what John & May’s “penthouse apartment” on 434 East 52nd Street was like. It’s the only New York place apart from Bank Street and the Dakota that John lived in (or is it?), and for quite a while too (before he was hypnotized into making a baby or something), but it’s hardly ever mentioned, and there don’t seem to be any pictures of the couple at their abode. Wonder why that is, huh huh huh.

    Oh, and Kenwood was “named for previous owner Ken Wood”? Really?

  2. Avatar kenwoodlennon wrote:

    Thanks Michael. I’m a long-time lurker round these parts – always interesting.
    Speaking of which, do you have any more on John’s connection with The Magickal Childe?

    • Glad you like it. I was just reading your post about Lionel Bart’s home full of secret passages. (Funny thing, I just watched “From Russia With Love” prepping for my next book, and Bart wrote the theme.)

      Somewhere in my couple years’ research for Life After Death For Beginners, I read that Lennon frequented The Magickal Childe, but I don’t recall which source. I’d start with “Dakota Days” by John Green, for obvious reasons; then try Goldman. But of course that makes perfect sense: TMC was apparently the most well-respected occult bookshop in NYC in the 70s and 80s, so if John were buying such things, he’d be going there. FWIW, my instinct was confirmed quickly by this book review (read down).

      People forget how common these types of beliefs were then—and may be, today, depending on where you live. The Magickal Childe seems to have been more occult rather than occult/alternative/Eastern philosophy, but my jokey caption aside, I don’t think I ever went in.

  3. Avatar kenwoodlennon wrote:

    Hmmm. I feel a post coming on (or, at least, one joining the queue).

    Re. 434 East 52nd Street, here’s the link to a post I did on it a few years back, if Velvet Hand is interested:

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