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Watch as Roberta Flack Interacts with Central Park Musicians

The Grammy Award-winning singer lives in The Dakota and frequents the park at her doorstep

Hardly needing an introduction, Roberta Flack is a Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and musician whose oeuvre spans across jazz, soul, R&B and folk music. She and U2 are the only two artists to ever win Grammy Award in two consecutive years: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face won the Record of the Year in 1973, and Killing Me Softly with His Song won the same award the following year.

Born in North Carolina in the late 1930s, Flack was introduced to music at an early age when she heard Mahalia Jackson and Sam Cooke singing in a Baptist church. In 1975, she moved into The Dakota apartment building, joining fellow new residents John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who became her close friends and lived just across the hall.

In addition to serving as a spokesperson for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Flack gives back to her community in innumerable ways. Most notable to New Yorkers is the Hyde Leadership Chart School’s after-school music program, called The Roberta Flack School of Music, which was founded by Flack and provides free music education to underprivileged students in the Bronx. She continues to play regularly around the world — including in New York City — and is working on an interpretive album of Beatles classics (with Yoko’s blessings, of course). Meanwhile, you’ll find her strolling about Central Park, stopping to listen to musicians in Strawberry Fields while remembering many New York years gone by.

Our New York Moment series is a film journey that explores the unexpected moments that add up to the world’s greatest city. From the first man to illustrate a New Yorker magazine cover on an iPad to a musician who turns Times Square into his stage every day, see what makes the city tick through the eyes of the fascinating folks who live here. Click to see more.

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