IN LIVELY MEMORY Deadheads defy ban on Garcia rites in Central Park


NEW YORK -- Hundreds of Grateful Dead followers, many in tie-dyed shirts and dresses, played cat-and-mouse with police across Central Park yesterday in defiance of a ban on a gathering in memory of the band's leader, Jerry Garcia.

The fans, denied a permit for the observance, converged on the Great Lawn near the Metropolitan Museum of Art but were confronted by parks enforcement officers who told them they would not be allowed to play the bongos, drums and guitars they carried unless they moved to another part of the park.

That led to an impromptu psychedelic parade past curious sunbathers, bicyclists and skaters that ended near the band shell, where the faithful pitched camp.

On the ground in front of the stage, they built a shrine of candles, flowers, fruit, incense, empty beer and liquor bottles, and a poster-sized painting of Mr. Garcia.

Most of the material had collected on the Imagine mosaic at the Strawberry Fields section of the park since his death Aug. 9, when more than 1,000 people gathered to reminisce, sing Dead tunes and dance. Small notes were included in the altar.

A formal memorial gathering in Central Park was scheduled by the Parks Department after Mr. Garcia's death but was postponed at the request of the Grateful Dead until after his funeral. The observance was rescheduled for yesterday, but on Thursday, the mayor's office canceled the event, saying organizers had failed to come up with the $100,000 the city estimated would be needed for extra police officers and trash cleanup.

The fans were undeterred.

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