As the celebrity tributes and musical homages reached a fever pitch on the West Coast during Tuesday's Michael Jackson memorial in Los Angeles, New York fans watched from afar, deep in their own memories.

In Harlem, fans gathered outside the Adam Clayton Powell Jr. State Office Building, in front of a giant inflatable television screen measuring 16 feet by 9 feet that broadcast NBC's coverage of the memorial.

>>Photos: Michael Jackson's memorial

Valerie Linabury, 49, of Briarwood, Queens, was on her lunch break. She grew up at the same time as Jackson and watched his career as a kid in Buffalo.

"I always really liked him. I thought he was one of the quintessential performers of the 20th century," Linabury said.

Michael Jackson's death certificate, issued Tuesday, July 7, 2009. Photo Credit: Los Angeles County Department of Health Services

Kelly Smith, 20, of Harlem, had the day off from her job at a sports club and showed up for the viewing with a friend and a bag of White Castle burgers.

"I love Mike Jackson. I just came to pay my respects. I grew up on him," Smith said. "My mother loved him. She used to play his music and videos. She's watching at home in Pennsylvania."

Though she was too young to remember the details, Renee Harrison, 45, of Harlem, said she went with her family to the Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater, where the Jackson 5 began their rise to stardom. "He was like family to me," she said.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Yvette Russell, 38, of Harlem, sobbed and wiped her eyes during a Stevie Wonder performance. Russell, an after-school program director on her lunch break, considered Jackson's death among the pivotal moments in recent African-American history.

"I came out for [the election of President] Obama, I came out for James Brown [who died in 2006]. There was no way I was going to miss Michael Jackson," Russell said.

$imageCaption

She treasures her "Thriller" album. "I got it for Christmas and I never opened it. I planned on opening it for my birthday and time just passed by and days turned into months and then years," she said.

In Times Square, hundreds of viewers quietly watched the memorial on huge screens surrounding the pedestrian area, as others did on large screens elsewhere in the city.

With Pervaiz Shallwani, Maria Alvarez and Marissa Bholan

>>Photos: Michael Jackson's memorial

>>Photos: Michael Jackson fans around the world

Moses Harper shows off her Michael Jackson dance moves in front of the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. Photo Credit: AP Photo

>>Photos: Michael Jackson through the years

advertisement | advertise on newsday

>>Photos: Celebs on what Michael meant to them

>>More: Michael Jackson photos, videos and stories