New Yorkers danced and cried in the streets as the shocking news that Michael Jackson died at the age of 51spread through the city and the shocking reality took hold. An impromtu dance party erupted in Chelsea last night as MJ's hits blared out of a car. Hundreds of New Yorkers have pilgramaged to the Apollo to remember the time.
The mourning of Jackson's death and celebration of his life looked as if would last all weekend if not longer as New Yorkers planned tributes to the King of Pop. Q-Tip and Rich Medina will host a memorial party tonight at Santos Party House in Chinatown.
Rev. Al Sharpton held a tribute outside the Apollo last night to honor his friend as mourners left notes, paid tribute, shared remembrances of the King of Pop.
“I call on people around the world to pray for him and his family,” Sharpton said underneath an Apollo marquee that read "In Memory of Michael Jackson: A True Apollo Legend." “I have known Michael since we were both teens, worked with him, marched for him, hosted him at our House of Justice headquarters in New York, and we joined together to eulogize our mutual idol, James Brown.”
One mourner, Ruby Towns recalled seeing Michael at the Apollo forty years ago and said that "God told me to walk over here" this morning.
"It was fabulous. I will never forget it," Towns said. "He was dancing up and down the stage... I feel like he was a member of my family. I love Michael Jackson. He was wonderful person."
Donald Trump called Jackson the greatest talent he had "ever seen."
The tributes at the Apollo were being written Friday on pieces of cardboard, and on newspapers bearing his photo. Says one: "Moonwalk 4Eva Michael." Fatimah Smalls was among those paying respects. She says sharing the pain with other fans "makes it a little bit easier."
Jackson’s publicist, Susan Blond, worked with him through the Thriller and Bad year, said “no one on Earth can ever match him” as a performer. Blond said the last time she spoke to him was in 2001. “I adored him,” she said.
In Times Square, fans said they were shocked.
“He was bigger than life,” Sean Kinkaid said. His influence on so many people…I’m at a loss for words.”
David Frank said Jackson’s death was a loss for the music industry. "He was a great talent. I remember when he was in the Jackson Five,” Frank said.
"It was a real tragedy," Alissa Carmona said. "I loved all his moves. I used to copy them as a kid."
Tracie Strahan and Glenn Zimmerman contributed to this report.
Mayor Bloomberg said many people idolized Jackson, and that he will "always be listening" to his music.