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The Dakota (also known as Dakota Apartments) is a cooperative apartment building located on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City. It was built between 1880 and 1884, and is famous as the home of former Beatle John Lennon from 1973 to 1980, as well as the location of his murder. The Dakota is considered to be one of Manhattan's most prestigious and exclusive cooperative residential buildings, with apartments generally selling for between $4 million and $30 million.
The Dakota was constructed between October 25, 1880 and October 27, 1884. The architectural firm of Henry Janeway Hardenbergh was commissioned to create the design for Edward Clark, head of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. The firm also designed the Plaza Hotel.
The Dakota was purportedly so named because at the time of construction, the Upper West Side of Manhattan was sparsely inhabited and considered as remote in relation to the inhabited area of Manhattan as the Dakota Territory was. However, the earliest recorded appearance of this account is in a 1933 newspaper interview with the Dakota's long-time manager, quoted in Christopher Gray's book New York Streetscapes: "Probably it was called 'Dakota' because it was so far west and so far north". According to Gray, it is more likely that the building was named the Dakota because of Clark's fondness for the names of the new western states and territories.
The Dakota was designated a New York City Landmark in 1969. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
The Dakota was the home of former Beatle John Lennon from 1973 until his murder. On the night of December 8, 1980, Mark David Chapman shot Lennon in the Dakota's 72nd Street entryway as the singer was returning home from a recording session. Lennon was pronounced dead upon arrival at nearby Roosevelt Hospital. As of 2010[update], Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, still has several apartments in the building. The Strawberry Fields memorial was laid out in memory of Lennon in Central Park directly across Central Park West.
The building's high gables and deep roofs with a profusion of dormers, terracotta spandrels and panels, niches, balconies, and balustrades give it a North German Renaissance character, an echo of a Hanseatic townhall. Nevertheless, its layout and floor plan betray a strong influence of French architectural trends in housing design that had become known in New York in the 1870s. High above the 72nd Street entrance, the figure of a Dakota Indian keeps watch.
The Dakota is square, built around a central courtyard. The arched main entrance is a porte cochère large enough for the horse-drawn carriages that once entered and allowed passengers to disembark sheltered from the weather. Many of these carriages were housed in a multi-story stable building built in two sections, 1891–94, at the southwest corner of 77th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, where elevators lifted them to the upper floors. The "Dakota Stables" building was in operation as a garage until February 2007, when it was slated to be transformed by the Related Companies into a condominium residence. Since then, the large condominium building The Harrison occupies its spot.
The general layout of the apartments is in the French style of the period, with all major rooms not only connected to each other, in enfilade, in the traditional way, but also accessible from a hall or corridor, an arrangement that allows a natural migration for guests from one room to another, especially on festive occasions, yet gives service staff discreet separate circulation patterns that offer service access to the main rooms. The principal rooms, such as parlors or the master bedroom, face the street, while the dining room, kitchen, and other auxiliary rooms are oriented toward the courtyard. Apartments thus are aired from two sides, which was a relative novelty in Manhattan at the time.Some of the drawing rooms are 49 ft (15 m) long, and many of the ceilings are 14 ft (4.3 m) high; the floors are inlaid with mahogany, oak, and cherry
Originally, the Dakota had 65 apartments with four to 20 rooms, no two being alike. These apartments are accessed by staircases and elevators placed in the four corners of the courtyard. Separate service stairs and elevators serving the kitchens are located in mid-block. Built to cater for the well-to-do, the Dakota featured many amenities and a modern infrastructure that was exceptional for the time. The building has a large dining hall; meals also could be sent up to the apartments by dumbwaiters. Electricity was generated by an in-house power plant and the building has central heating. Beside servant quarters, there was a playroom and a gymnasium under the roof. In later years, these spaces on the tenth floor were converted into apartments for economic reasons. The Dakota property also contained a garden, private croquet lawns, and a tennis court behind the building between 72nd and 73rd Streets.
All apartments were let before the building opened, but it was a long-term drain on the fortune of Clark, who died before it was completed, and his heirs. For the high society of Manhattan, it became fashionable to live in the building, or at least to rent an apartment there as a secondary city residence, and the Dakota's success prompted the construction of many other luxury apartment buildings in Manhattan.
Notable residents of the Dakota building have included:
- Lauren Bacall, actress
- Harley Baldwin, real estate developer and art dealer
- Ward Bennett, architect and designer,
- Leonard Bernstein, composer and conductor
- Connie Chung, newscaster
- Rosemary Clooney singer, actress
- Harlan Coben, author
- Bob Crewe, songwriter, record producer, artist
- José Ferrer, actor
- Roberta Flack, singer. Flack lives next door to Yoko Ono.
- Charles Henri Ford, poet, artist and publisher.
- Ruth Ford, actress.
- Judy Garland, actress
- Lillian Gish, actress
- Paul Goldberger, architecture critic
- William Inge, playwright
- Boris Karloff, actor
- John Lennon, musician and composer. Lennon owned five apartments in the Dakota.
- Sean Lennon, singer
- Warner LeRoy, producer and restaurateur
- John Madden, football coach and commentator. Madden bought his apartment from Gilda Radner.
- Frederick S. Mates, financier
- Albert Maysles, documentary filmmaker
- Rudolf Nureyev, dancer
- Joe Namath, football player
- Yoko Ono, artist
- Jack Palance, actor
- Ruth Porat, investment banker
- Maury Povich, television host
- Gilda Radner, comedian
- Rex Reed, critic
- Jason Robards, actor
- Jane Rosenthal, film producer
- Wilbur Ross, financier
- Robert Ryan, actor
- Cesare Siepi, opera singer
- Robert C. Silich, MD – plastic surgeon
- Michael Wager, actor
Although historically home to many creative or artistic people, the building and its co-op board of directors were criticized in 2005 by former resident Albert Maysles who attempted to sell his ownership to actors Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, but they were rejected. Maysles expressed his "disappointment with the way the building seems to be changing" by telling The New York Times: "What's so shocking is that the building is losing its touch with interesting people. More and more, they're moving away from creative people and going toward people who just have the money." Even prior to this, Gene Simmons, Billy Joel, and Carly Simon were denied residency by the board. In 2002 The Dakota rejected corrugated-cardboard magnate and Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of New York, Dennis Mehiel.
In popular culture
- In the film Rosemary's Baby, the Dakota is used for exterior shots of "The Bramford," the apartment building where several of the characters live.
- In the children's book series The Baby-Sitters Club the character Laine Cummings lives in the Dakota.
- It is an important element in the novel Time and Again.
- The song 20 Years In the Dakota by Hole discusses Yoko Ono's life in the building after John Lennon's death; it was released on their 1997 compilation album, My Body, the Hand Grenade.
- It is the home of Hunter Rose, from the graphic novel series Grendel.
- In the 2001 Cameron Crowe film Vanilla Sky, protagonist David Aames (Tom Cruise) owns two apartments in the building; exterior shots of the actual Dakota were used in the film.
- It is the home of Tsukasa Domyouji, from the 2007 Japanese live-action drama Hana Yori Dango Returns.
- It is one of several New York City residences in which FBI Special Agent Aloysius X.L. Pendergast, a recurring character in novels written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, resides.
- It is the home of Windsor Horne Lockwood III in the Myron Bolitar series written by Harlan Coben.
- It is a main staging point of a Lee Child novel called The Hard Way, which features his renowned hero, Jack Reacher.
- It is the primary setting of James Patterson's 2012 novel, Confessions of a Murder Suspect.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2006-03-15.
- "Dakota Apartments". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. September 11, 2007.
- Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), "The Dakota, HSBS No. NY-5467", pp. 1-11; retrieved July 3, 2013.
- "Crowds in front of the Dakota Apartments the morning after John Lennon was killed". (Photo caption) Museum of the City of New York. December 9, 1980. Retrieved August 31, 2013.
- Brockmann, Jorg et al. (2002), One Thousand New York Buildings, pp. 342–343., p. 342, at Google Books
- The superintendent of the construction of the Dakota Building was George Henry Griebel, born and trained in Berlin, Prussia, and Karl Jacobson, who were hired as architects for the project. "Griebel also designed and supervised buildings for the Clark Estate for a period of eighteen years after building the Dakota Building including the Singer Manufacturing Company Office Building on Third Avenue and Sixteenth Street, fourteen houses on West Eighty-fifth St, a row of houses on West Seventy-fourth Street; both being near Columbus Ave,the Barnett Store, Columbus and Seventy-fourth St and many others."
- Gray, Christopher. New York Streetscapes. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. pp. 326–328. ISBN 0-8109-4441-3.
- Birmingham, Stephen. (1996). Life at the Dakota: New York's Most Unusual Address, pp. 130-131.
- Carolyn Pitts (August 10, 1976). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory: Dakota Apartments" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved June 21, 2009. and PDF (1.65 MB)
- Christopher Gray: "Streetscapes: The Dakota Stables; A 'Soft-Site' Garage on the Booming West Side", The New York Times, May 24, 1987 accessed December 7, 2010.
- "At Home With Lauren Bacall" The New York Times Home & Garden section, February 24, 2005
- "New York Observer" June 29, 1992
- "Ward Bennett, 85, Dies; Designed With American Style", "The New York Times" August 16, 2003
- "Buy Leonard Bernstein's Dakota Apartment for Only 25.5 Million" November 5, 2006
- Appleton, Kate. "Landmarks: The Dakota". New York Magazine website. Retrieved December 30, 2009.
- "Life at the Dakota", Stephen Birmingham, 1979.
- "Thriller at the Dakota! Harlan Coben's Discounted Duplex", The New York Observer, April 21, 2010
- Kane, Larry (2005). Lennon Revealed. Running Press. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-7624-2364-4.
- Elder, Roberta Flack interview, The Sydney Mordning Herald, January 28, 2009 accessed January 20, 2010
- Haughney, Christine (December 6, 2010). "Sharing the Dakota With John Lennon". The New York Times.
- "Homesteading at the Dakota," The New York Times. July 27, 2010, p. R–2; Ruth P. Smith's apartment was once the home of Lillian Gish.
- "Here at the Dakota," "New York Magazine", June 18, 1979, page 44
- Birmingham, Stephen (1 April 1996). Life at the Dakota: New York's Most Unusual Address. Syracuse University Press. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-8156-0338-2.
- Rosenblum, Constance (August 2, 2009). "A Life in Pictures: Albert Maysles". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
- The contents of Rudolf Nureyev's Dakota apartment fetched almost $8 million in a two-day sale at Christie's ("Nureyev Auction Tops Estimates", The New York Times, January 15, 1995)
- "Joe Namath Looses Some Of His Padding", "New York Daily News" February 21, 2000
- Stephen Birmingham, Life at the Dakota: New York's most unusual address 1996:85.
- "A Morning at the Dakota", "The Washington Post" February 19, 2008
- "We lived in the legendary Dakota apartment building and held each other tight on the night John Lennon was killed." (Radner, It's Always Something)
- A Morning at the Dakota", "The Washington Post" February 19, 2008
- "Who's Killing Betsey?", "New York Magazine" May 13, 1996
- Neuman, William (June 19, 2005). "New Co-op for Soup Executive". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010.
- Tony Schwartz. "Plan by Nixon to Buy Co-op in City Is Opposed by Some Other Owners:Board Vote Called Favorable." The New York Times, August 1, 1979.
- Albin Krebs. "Notes on People: Dakota Blocks Billy Joel's Bid to Buy Apartment." The New York Times, June 28, 1980
- "Carly Simon Sues For Flat Deposit", BBC News, September 29, 2003
- Max Abelson. "Dakota-Spurned Cardboard Magnate Mehiel Asking $35 M. for Carhart Mansion Duplex." The New York Observer, August 12, 2008
- Grendel: Devil Child No. 1, pp. 1–5
- Alpern, A.: New York's fabulous luxury apartments: with original floor plans from the Dakota, River House, Olympic Tower, and other great buildings. New York: Dover Publications, 1975, 1987, Exterior views and sample floor plans as well as brief historical synopsis, each with architect, builder, date built, and when applicable, date razed.
- Birmingham, S.: Life at the Dakota, Syracuse University Press. Reprint edition, 1996. ISBN 0-8156-0338-X. Originally published by Random House, 1979, ISBN 0-394-41079-3.
- Brockmann, Jorg and Bill Harris. (2002). One Thousand New York Buildings. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal. 10-ISBN 157912237X/13-ISBN 9781579122379; OCLC 48619292
- Cardinal.: "The Dakota Scrapbook. Vol 1. Exterior", Campfire Network, 2014
- Schoenauer, N.: 6000 Years of Housing, 3rd ed., pp. 335 – 336, W.W. Norton & Co., 2001. ISBN 0-393-73120-0.
- Van Pelt, D. Leslie's History of the Greater New York, Volume III New York: Arkell Publishing Company 110 Fifth Avenue, 1898,
- L. A. Williams Publishing and Engraving Company. Encyclopedia of Biography and Genealogy, vol. III pp. 656.
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