Manhattan fashion set ask: Where the hell is Liverpool?

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The Independent Online
ARE NEW Yorkers ready to get excited about Liverpool? Anything is possible with a little clever marketing. Who would have thought that 1999 would be the year of Belgian gastronomy in Manhattan? Never mind that the mainstay of the mussels-and-mayonnaise fad is the London-based Belgo chain.

Liverpool hardly looms over New York culture. Scan the business pages of the city's telephone directory and you will find only two Liverpools.

One is a rubbish haulage company. Dial the number for something called Liverpool Mod Inc, and you will mysteriously be connected to Christie's auction house. There are no Mersey-themed pubs or restaurants in the Apple. Or not yet anyway.

But speaking of Apple, what people do know about Liverpool here is that it is where the Beatles originated. Apple was the name of their record label.

News last weekend that the surviving Beatles are to reunite next month for a live television performance of "Yellow Submarine" in Liverpool, warranted some front-page treatment here. "The Beatles, that's the only thing I know," said a New York fashion editor, Tricia Digirolamo, when asked yesterday about her image of Liverpool. Had she ever thought about visiting the city? "Not unless I had done everything else first. What the hell's in Liverpool, anyway?"

But stirring nostalgia for all things from Liverpool may not be so hard a task, even here.

The Sixties psychedelia of Austin Powers, who still gapes at us from every bus shelter in the tie-in promotions between his new film and Virgin Atlantic, might have laid some of the groundwork. The Sixties? Yeah, Baby.

Nor will it escape the marketing folk that Liverpool is where the ships used to sail from to America. They may not know it, but a large number of New York citizens can probably trace their ancestors' journey to the land of opportunity on a ship leaving the docks on the Mersey.

And finally, there is always that part of Beatles' history that is already part of New York lore - the shooting of John Lennon outside his Central Park West apartment building in 1980.