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On this day in history, Dec. 8, 1980, Beatles founder and music icon John Lennon murdered in NYC

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John Lennon, songwriting genius and founding member of The Beatles — a man who gifted the world with beautiful music that still rouses the human spirit long after his death — was murdered in New York City on this day in history, Dec. 8, 1980. 

He was 40 years old. 

“An unspeakable tragedy,” legendary sports host Howard Cosell blurted in shock to the nation near midnight, interrupting the dramatic final seconds of a Monday Night Football broadcast

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“John Lennon, outside of his apartment building on the West Side of New York, the most famous perhaps of all the Beatles, shot twice in the back. Rushed to Roosevelt Hospital. Dead on arrival.”

Cosell’s dramatic words spoken on national television, decades before the internet spread news instantly, were the first that many Americans heard of the celebrated musician’s death. The world learned soon after initial reports that Lennon was actually shot four times.

John Lennon on a rooftop in New York City, August 29, 1974.

John Lennon on a rooftop in New York City, August 29, 1974.
(Photo courtesy of Bob Gruen   )

Lennon ignited pop-culture mania with The Beatles in the 1960s. 

He went on to a hugely successful career as solo artist and peace activist in the 1970s. 

He was murdered outside his residence, The Dakota, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side at 10:50 p.m. and pronounced dead at the hospital 25 minutes later. 

“His music made people happy.” — 12-year-old fan Ethan Doyle

Gunman Mark David Chapman, a deranged fan who received an autograph from the musician hours earlier, pleaded guilty to Lennon’s murder in 1981.  

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An estimated 100,000 Beatles fans flooded The Dakota and Central Park in the hours after the tragedy for a tear-filled vigil that shut down auto traffic across several blocks of Manhattan. 

The John Lennon vigil has never ended.

December 1980: Fans of John Lennon hold a vigil after he was shot dead by a fan on December 8th at his home in New York City.  

December 1980: Fans of John Lennon hold a vigil after he was shot dead by a fan on December 8th at his home in New York City.  
(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Dakota’s gracious vaulted entrance, the spot where Lennon was killed, is a daily global pilgrimage site today. 

So, too, is a corner of Central Park across the street from the residence, dubbed Strawberry Fields in Lennon’s honor after a popular Beatles tune. 

Both sites elicit emotion and reflection for visitors from all over the world, many of them born long after Lennon was killed.

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“His music made people happy,” Ethan Doyle, 12, of Philadelphia, told Fox News Digital on Wednesday outside the stately residence, accompanied by his mother, Monique, and brother Brodie, 9. 

“This place radiates importance.”

The entrance to The Dakota in Manhattan, where John Lennon was murdered in 1980. It's a pilgrimage site to this day.

The entrance to The Dakota in Manhattan, where John Lennon was murdered in 1980. It’s a pilgrimage site to this day. “This place radiates importance,” Ethan Doyle, right, 12, of Philadelphia, told Fox News Digital this week. He’s pictured with brother Brodie and mom Monique Doyle.
(Kerry J. Byrne/FoxNews Digital)

Strawberry Fields is highlighted by a black-and-white tile mosaic on a Central Park pathway with the word “Imagine,” a reference to one of Lennon’s best-known solo tunes. 

The sounds of Lennon and the other Beatles — Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — as well as the quiet murmur of a parade of fans fill Strawberry Fields throughout the day, every day. 

It’s a testament to the power of Lennon’s music that it still attracts and resonates with the souls of strangers 42 years after the artist last walked the earth.

John Lennon played his prized 1958 Rickenbacker 325 when The Beatles first appeared on

John Lennon played his prized 1958 Rickenbacker 325 when The Beatles first appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on Sunday, February 9, 1964, from CBS’s Studio 50 in New York City. 
(Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)

“I play here four to five times a week and you see people silently crying to themselves,” New York City musician Jules Avalon told Fox News Digital on Wednesday, between beautiful acoustic versions of Beatles’ hits “All My Loving,” “Blackbird” and “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

“You see people silently crying to themselves.” — NYC musician Jules Avalon

The 72nd Street subway station, directly beneath The Dakota, boasts sky-blue tiles in Lennon’s honor, also with the word “Imagine” in cloud white on one of the walls.

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Lennon, a native of Liverpool, England, placed no. 8 on a 2002 BBC reader poll list of the 100 Greatest Britons of all time, between Queen Elizabeth I, who ruled England for 45 years in the 16th century, and Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson, the naval hero who saved the island nation at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. 

New York City musician Jules Avalon (right, on bench) performs acoustic versions of Beatles' and John Lennon's songs in Strawberry Fields, Central Park, on Dec. 7, 2022. The Dakota, the luxury residence where Lennon was murdered on Dec. 8, 1980, can be seen in the background.

New York City musician Jules Avalon (right, on bench) performs acoustic versions of Beatles’ and John Lennon’s songs in Strawberry Fields, Central Park, on Dec. 7, 2022. The Dakota, the luxury residence where Lennon was murdered on Dec. 8, 1980, can be seen in the background.
(Kerry J. Byrne/Fox News Digital)

He and the Beatles burst onto the British music scene in 1963 and became a global sensation the following year. 

The Beatles made their dramatic American debut in 1964, just 16 years before Lennon’s murder, at what’s now the Ed Sullivan Theater on Broadway. 

“Abbey Road,” released by The Beatles in 1969, was the 12th best-selling album of the year in 2022.

It’s located a mere 18 blocks south of The Dakota. 

The Beatles broke up in 1970, after writing, recording and releasing scores of hit songs in less than a decade that are still recognized pop-culture standards today. 

Yoko Ono and John Lennon are shown together in 1970.

Yoko Ono and John Lennon are shown together in 1970.
(AP)

It was a profound period of artistic production in a dramatically short period of time — and rarely if ever matched in music history.

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In 2022, thanks to the magic of modern technology, Lennon performed with his former songwriting partner Paul McCartney.

McCartney, in his tour of America this year, sang a duet with Lennon featuring vocals from his late bandmate isolated from The Beatles’ famous 1969 rooftop performance in London. 

The 72nd Street station of the New York City subway system is decorated with John Lennon memorial tiles. The station is located beneath The Dakota, where Lennon lived and was murdered on Dec. 8, 1980. 

The 72nd Street station of the New York City subway system is decorated with John Lennon memorial tiles. The station is located beneath The Dakota, where Lennon lived and was murdered on Dec. 8, 1980. 
(Kerry J. Byrne/Fox News Digital)

One incredible testament to the ongoing appeal of The Beatles comes from Billboard. 

“Abbey Road,” a classic album released by The Beatles in 1969, was the 12th best-selling album of the year — here in 2022. 

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“Like most of us he was often selfish and unpleasant,” influential British entertainment magazine New Musical Express wrote in its obituary of Lennon in December 1980. 

“But he was never miserly with himself or his soul … He gave. He shared. And now [that] he’s gone we, too, seem diminished.”

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/this-day-history-dec-8-1980-beatles-founder-music-icon-john-lennon-murdered-nyc

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On this day in history, Feb. 2, 1913, Grand Central Terminal opens in NYC, world’s largest train station

A reimagined and masterful Grand Central Terminal brought jaw-dropping opulence to the heart of New York City after 10 years of reconstruction when it opened on this day in history, Feb. 2, 1913. 

Its stately Beaux Art design, soaring celestial ceiling, shopping and dining concourses, scores of rail and subway lines, mysterious “whispering walls” and central location in the heart of America’s biggest city make Grand Central a tourist attraction — as well as a vital transportation hub.

“There are a lot of great train stations in the world. There is nothing, nothing like Grand Central,” Greg Young, co-host and producer of “The Bowery Boys” podcast, a popular chronicle of New York City history, told Fox News Digital. 

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“It took everyone’s breath away when it opened.”

It still does. An estimated 150,000 gawkers walked through Grand Central for its opening in 1913 — a mere fraction of the nearly 400,000 people, about the population of New Orleans, who now use the terminal each day. 

Excavation for Grand Central Terminal, New York City, USA, Detroit Publishing Company, 1908. 

Excavation for Grand Central Terminal, New York City, USA, Detroit Publishing Company, 1908. 
(Photo by: GHI/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Grand Central is, among many other claims to fame befitting its boisterous name, the largest train station in the world by area (49 acres) and by train services (40 platforms, 67 tracks), according to numerous sources. 

The terminal handles 768 commuter train arrivals and departures each day, while subway trains make 2,400 stops at Grand Central each day, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). 

“Grand Central took everyone’s breath away when it opened.” — Greg Young, “The Bowery Boys” podcast

And yet it continues to grow to serve the city, and by proxy serve the nation. 

Grand Central Madison, a massive expansion that was 16 years in the making, opened on January 25. It adds 16 acres and eight lines of the Long Island Railroad to the Grand Central complex, deep underneath the existing network of rail tracks — about 140 feet below street level. 

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The new concourse will handle an additional 296 daily arrivals and departures at full service. 

“The Grand Central Terminal is not only a station, it is a monument, a civic center, or, if one will, a city,” The New York Times declared on Feb. 3, 1913, the day after it opened.

Grand Central Madison opened at Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Jan. 25, 2023, greatly expanding access to Long Island for the world's largest train station. 

Grand Central Madison opened at Grand Central Terminal in New York City on Jan. 25, 2023, greatly expanding access to Long Island for the world’s largest train station. 
(AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“Without exception, it is not only the greatest station in the United States, but the greatest station, of any type, in the world.”

The media outlet had dubbed the previous Grand Central “a cruel disgrace” in 1899, as momentum grew to give a city bursting at its seams a new world-class transportation hub.

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The original Grand Central Depot was built in 1871 by railroad titan Cornelius Vanderbilt. It was replaced in 1899 by a much larger but widely panned Grand Central Terminal.

Construction began in 1903 on the current landmark. 

A spectacular new city skyline rose around the new Grand Central after it opened in 1913. 

A spectacular new skyline sprouted up around Grand Central Terminal after it opened in 1913, including the Chrysler Building next door in 1930. It was the tallest building in the world at the time.

A spectacular new skyline sprouted up around Grand Central Terminal after it opened in 1913, including the Chrysler Building next door in 1930. It was the tallest building in the world at the time.
(Kerry J. Byrne/Fox News Digital)

The Chrysler Building was the tallest structure in the world when it opened to the immediate east of Grand Central in 1930.

New skyscraper One Vanderbilt, which opened in 2020, towers over the terminal’s west entrance. 

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At 1,401 feet tall, One Vanderbilt is the fourth tallest building in New York City, soaring 150 feet higher than the world-famous Empire State Building. 

Its four-story observatory, a popular new tourist attraction, is accessible through Grand Central.

The majestic terminal also paved the way, quite literally, for one of America’s most lavish thoroughfares. 

Park Avenue sits above what were once open-air tracks that formed “a disgusting little gash” polluted by steam engines in the middle of Manhattan, said Young of “The Bowery Boys” podcast. 

Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan opened in 1913 just 30 years after railroads pioneered the creation of time zones.

Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan opened in 1913 just 30 years after railroads pioneered the creation of time zones.
(Kerry J. Byrne/Fox News Digital)

The advent of electric trains in the late 1800s made it possible to close the gash and put the entire infrastructure of Grand Central underground. 

Park Avenue and its stately high rises for New York City’s nouveau riche covered up the eyesore. 

The terminal occupies a trophy location on the east side of Midtown Manhattan between 42nd and 45th Streets. Park Avenue is actually elevated between those cross streets to wrap around the east and west sides of the terminal. 

“Jackie Kennedy Onassis led an effort to gain landmark status for the terminal in the 1970s – taking the fight all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Grand Central had fallen into filth and disrepair again in the 1970s when a developer proposed knocking down the main concourse and replacing it with a skyscraper. 

Jackie Kennedy Onassis led an effort to gain landmark status for the terminal – taking the fight all the way to the Supreme Court.

Sunlight in Grand Central, 1937. 

Sunlight in Grand Central, 1937. 
(Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

The high court ruled in favor of New York City in 1978, allowing it to restrict development in the name of historical preservation. 

“Grand Central Terminal stands as a universal symbol between New York City’s past and present,” Onassis is often quoted saying.

It is properly known as Grand Central Terminal — not station, as it is commonly called.

Visitors also marvel at the whispering walls beneath the main concourse where visitors can chat with each quietly over great distances, as sound travels up the vaulted ceiling. 

Commuter train routes to upstate New York, Long Island and Connecticut begin and terminate at Grand Central. None pass through.

Grand Central does serve as a station, however, for five New York City subway lines that pass deep beneath it — making for an extraordinary network of tracks on multiple levels, which only grew more complex with the opening last week of Grand Central Madison.  

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One of those subway lines, the S (shuttle) train, stops only at Times Square about four blocks west; then it makes the return trip two minutes away to Grand Central. The shuttle runs back and forth between the two Midtown hubs 18 hours a day.

Details of the facade of Grand Central Terminal on June 15, 2012, in New York City. 

Details of the facade of Grand Central Terminal on June 15, 2012, in New York City. 
(Victor Fraile/Corbis via Getty Images)

Grand Central’s decorative highlights include its elaborate celestial ceiling of with more than 2,500 stars, with astrological constellations such as Aquarius and Cancer, set in gold against a turquoise backdrop. 

Visitors also marvel at the whispering walls beneath the main concourse where visitors can chat with each quietly over great distances as sound travels up the vaulted ceiling; and at Grand Central’s signature 14-foot central Tiffany clock. 

It was the world’s largest Tiffany clock in 1914 when it was installed.  

“Grand Central Terminal is a story of great engineering, survival and rebirth,” says the Grand Central Terminal website, operated by Metro-North Railroad, which serves New York and Connecticut. 

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Adds “Bowery Boys” co-host Young, “Grand Central symbolized New York City coming out of the Gilded Age as this global supercity of incredible wealth, and the capital city in many ways of the United States.”

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World’s largest, rarest ocean stingrays spotted and tagged in Mozambique

For the first time in scientific history, the wild smalleye stingray has been located and tagged by researchers.

The smalleye species is known for being the world’s largest and rarest marine stingray — and was finally spotted in Mozambique.

National Geographic explorer and ray expert Andrea Marshall set out off the coast of the Bazaruto Archipelago in search of the rare stingray.

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After weeks of looking, Marshall spotted a smalleye in some shallow water, National Geographic (NatGeo) reported.

She was able to dive in after it and touched it with a six-foot-long pole to extract a small skin sample from its underside.

Shown above, a smalleye stingray visits a cleaning station on a coral reef, where fish and other invertebrates clean bigger animals of parasites.

Shown above, a smalleye stingray visits a cleaning station on a coral reef, where fish and other invertebrates clean bigger animals of parasites.
(Andrea Marshall)

The stingray stayed calm, which was good news for Marshall.

Smalleyes have a lethal stinging spine the length of a human forearm.

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One wrong move “would put us in mortal danger,” Marshall told NatGeo.

Marshall is also the founder of the Mozambique-based Marine Megafauna Foundation.

The fish, native to the Pacific Ocean, can grow up to 10 feet long and eight feet wide.

Smalleye stingrays, also known as Megatrygon microps, can measure 10 feet in length and over 8 feet in width, according to NatGeo.

Smalleye stingrays, also known as Megatrygon microps, can measure 10 feet in length and over 8 feet in width, according to NatGeo.
(Ben Scott/National Geographic)

The species earned the name “smalleyes” for their little raisin-sized eyes, said NatGeo.

Since they’re so rarely spotted, smalleyes are likely a critically endangered species, that publication also said.

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Marshall and her colleagues spent the following months diving at dawn for other smalleyes along the Mozambican coast.

The team tagged 11 smalleyes using both acoustic and satellite tags, in order to track long-distance travel and fine-scale movements.

Smalleye stingers can reach the size of a human forearm, said NatGeo.

Smalleye stingers can reach the size of a human forearm, said NatGeo.
(Andrea Marshall)

Although the mission was a success, Marshall shared with NatGeo that she and her team encountered a few close calls.

This includes learning how the massive stingray can raise its stinger over its back and swing it around, much like a scorpion.

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Preliminary data shows that the stingray can dive more than 650 feet deep and swim hundreds of miles in a day, according to Marshall.

Researchers hope that tagging these stingrays will provide an answer to why they travel as far as they do.

Smalleye stingrays may look intimidating, but they're not aggressive and will only sting if provoked, Marshall said, as NatGeo reported.

Smalleye stingrays may look intimidating, but they’re not aggressive and will only sting if provoked, Marshall said, as NatGeo reported.
(Andrea Marshall)

The stingray’s diving depth could explain its extremely small eyes, since vision isn’t as crucial down in the darkness, Marshall said.

The tags reportedly revealed that the stingrays hang out near the reefs at night, which could mean they feed at dawn and dusk.

Many questions remain regarding the behavior of smalleye stingrays; the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the species as “data deficient.”

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Marshall’s goal is to gather enough information to lead to better protections for smalleyes, NatGeo notes.

Anyone wanting more detail can visit nationalgeographic.com.

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