Yoko Ono lives in the majestic Dakota on West 72nd St. Just a few hundred feet away, in Central Park, she helped to create Strawberry Fields - in tribute to her late husband, John Lennon. Both draw a steady stream of photo-snapping visitors.
And now, what's sure to become another attraction, for tourists, as well as New Yorkers: six mosaics of blue skies and puffy clouds, in the just-reopened subway stop at 72nd and Central Park West.
"I can't imagine anything better than seeing someone who lives close by, who has the ability to speak around the world, to give such respect to the subway by bringing her work into it," says Sandra Bloodworth, director of the public art program with MTA Arts and Design.
The mosaics are marked with Yoko and John-type messages, like "Imagine Peace" and "Remember Love."
"I like the idea very much, first that she got to do this work, and second, what it is: I think it gives you a good feeling to go down into the noisy subway station and you see such a calming image," says one subway rider.
Adds another: "It's gorgeous, it's gorgeous. It's bright. I was excited walking down the stairs just seeing how great the tiles were."
The mosaics are a defining feature of the renovated station, which received brighter lighting, digital displays and new-look entrances during a nearly five-month, $28 million makeover.
Ono was among several artists who applied to MTA Arts & Design to decorate the station when it closed in May.
“She's made everyone mindful of just where they are. That they're on the Upper West Side," Bloodworth says.
Ono titled the installation "Sky," and her name appears on a small marker next to it. The station has been reopened less than a week, but her imprint already is drawing crowds. Still, some riders are still not aware of her involvement.
"I think that's great. Because you're keeping someone who's in the community and actually knows about the community," said one straphanger.
"Sky" joins hundreds of other works of art throughout the transit system.
"We are the most public museum there is, I believe, on earth. We have the collection of work of well-known artists, emerging artists, mid-career artists," Bloodworth says.
And now, Yoko Ono. Imagine that.
Four of the six mosaics in the "Sky" installation have been installed. Two more have yet to be unveiled. Riders should expect to see them on the downtown platform by the end of the month.