NEW YORK - John Lennon's fans celebrated his life yesterday by visiting Strawberry Fields, the Central Park garden dedicated in his honor, while a newly released interview he gave shortly before his death showed that he was optimistic about his future.

On the 30th anniversary of Lennon's murder outside his Manhattan apartment building, admirers played his music nearby at Strawberry Fields and placed flowers on a mosaic named for his song "Imagine."

Father-daughter pair Paul DeLuca, 50, and Marissa DeLuca, 17, came from Boston to mark the day.

"I grew up with his voice," said Marissa DeLuca.

"The Beatles are the soundtrack to my childhood," she said. "His voice is just kind of like home."

Her father said, "Nothing is timeless like the stuff John and Paul [McCartney] wrote."

In Liverpool, where Lennon was from, hundreds gathered around the Peace and Harmony sculpture, recently unveiled by Lennon's former wife, Cynthia, and their son, Julian, in Chavasse Park.

In the newly released interview, conducted just three days before he was gunned down, John Lennon complained about his critics - saying that they were just interested in "dead heroes"- and mused that he had "plenty of time" to accomplish some of his life goals.

Rolling Stone magazine will run the whole interview tomorrow.