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Hundreds gather in the cold for Lou Reed's memorial in New York City

by Caitlin Carter   Nov 14, 2013 18:27 PM EST

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On a chilly November afternoon a few hundred people got together and listened to Lou Reed's music outside under the sun. Most of them were strangers, but all were connected in on way or another by the songs that echoed through the terrace.

When 1 p.m. struck, a roaring guitar riff screamed its way through the speaker system set up for the ceremony. About 100 people were gathered at this point to honor the life of alternative rock icon Lou Reed, starting with the song "Blue Mask" off his 1982 album of the same name and following with The Velvet Underground's "Rock & Roll."

With each new song played, more people arrived. The Paul Milstein Pool and Terrace at the Lincoln Center became a sea of black leather, fitting for a memorial of an alternative rock pioneer.

Some people danced, some people embraced, some cried and some just stood staring at nothing in particular, just soaking in the words and sounds that Lou Reed had created.

His service was truly a celebration of his life. Having no speeches and no performances, just letting his music speak was a very powerful thing to witness. Those attendance ranged in age, with some parents and grandparents explaining the legacy of Reed to their children and grandchildren who were likely hearing his music for the first time.

After each song, people applauded as if it were a live concert. They sang along with "I'm So Free" off his iconic 1972 album Transformer and danced to "Sally Can't Dance" and "Lady Day." A man in dressed in a business suit, appearing to be taking a quick break from his day for the ceremony, closed his eyes and tapped his feet to "I'm Waiting for the Man."

Laurie Anderson, Reed's widow, showed up in the crowd at about 2 p.m., and everyone began to crowd around her as she spoke with friends.

The ceremony continued on with "Warrior King," "Caroline Says," "Heroin," "Waves of Fear," among other songs, until it ended at 4 p.m., and people dispersed.

It was simple ceremony, but one that proved that his music will continue to bring people together even after he's gone.

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