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Classical Notes: December 8, 2010 Archive

A Very New York Story

Posted at 1:47 PM on December 8, 2010 by Rex Levang
Filed under: Musician stories

As the world remembers John Lennon today, I thought I'd pass on an anecdote I read online.

It's from the blog of radio host Christopher Purdy, and "Mr. Downes" is Edward Downes, who for decades had been the host of the Metropolitan Opera Quiz.

I want to tell you a story about the Dakota, where Mr. Downes lives at the very top, just above Yoko Ono, who can look from her window down on the strawberry fields she planted in memory of her husband, John Lennon, in Central Park.

When the Lennons wanted to move into the Dakota, the management told them that they first had to have a recommendation from someone already in residence. So the world famous Beatle phoned Mr. Downes and said, "We're musicians, too. Do you think you could recommend us?"

Mr. Downes explained, "Well, I'm not really acquainted with your work. But why don't you come over next Tuesday? We can meet, have tea, and perhaps then I can recommend you."

The Lennons said they would, and Mr. Downes promptly phoned his niece, of the newer generation, and said, "Dear, there are two young musicians coming to see me, and I'd feel much more comfortable with them if you were here and poured tea."

"Of course, Uncle Edward" came the reply. "Who are they?"
" I think he said his name was Lennon."

All the niece could say was, with some disappointment at her uncle's innocence, "Oh, Uncle Edward!"