At a table near the stage, celebrants wrote messages to Ms. Ono on cardboard tags and picked up white carnations and button-size hand mirrors that said “Morning Piece for Yoko Ono” on one side. After the event, Mr. Ward and Ms. Barton delivered a white bag filled with the messages to the service entrance of the Dakota, the grand apartment house overlooking Central Park that has been Ms. Ono’s main residence since 1973.
In his birthday message to the artist, Pascal Perich, a 51-year-old photographer, said he wrote “We are all dancing in the stars” in French, his native language. Asked to explain what he meant by that, he said, “It was just the first thing that came to my mind.”
“I just love Yoko and Yoko’s work,” Mr. Perich continued. “She’s like the hummingbird that takes the little drop of water to the giant forest fire. And the animal tells him, ‘What you are doing is for nothing.’ And the hummingbird says, ‘No, I am just doing my part.’”
The writer and musician Jesse Paris Smith, who is the daughter of the singer, songwriter and author Patti Smith and her late husband, the musician Fred “Sonic” Smith, also wrote a message. “I said, ‘Yoko is a true warrior of hope, peace and love for us all,’” Ms. Smith, 35, said. “When I think of her, I think of these wonderful universal truths. It might seem corny or cheesy, but it’s so deeply needed, and she embodies all of those things.”
The artist Jack Waters, 68, said that “Grapefruit,” Ms. Ono’s 1964 collection of instructional poems, was a “seminal piece for me,” despite the fact that he didn’t really understand it when he first came across it as a teenager. “I think Yoko made her biggest impression on Beatles fans, but I grew up in a family where there was a lot of art and culture, so we knew her for her artwork,” he said.