The Dakota

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with The Dakotas.
The Dakota
The Dakota May 2005.jpg
The Dakota in May 2005
The Dakota is located in New York City
The Dakota
The Dakota is located in New York
The Dakota
The Dakota is located in the US
The Dakota
Location 1 West 72nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
Coordinates Coordinates: 40°46′35.74″N 73°58′35.44″W / 40.7765944°N 73.9765111°W / 40.7765944; -73.9765111
Built 1884
Architect Henry J. Hardenbergh
Architectural style Renaissance, English Victorian
NRHP Reference # 72000869
Significant dates
Added to NRHP April 26, 1972[1]
Designated NHL December 8, 1976[2]
Designated NYCL February 11, 1969

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, United States. It was built in 1884 and is considered to be one of Manhattan's most prestigious and exclusive cooperative residential buildings.

The Dakota is famous as the home of former Beatle John Lennon from 1973 to his death outside the building in 1980.


The Dakota from Central Park, c. 1890
South entrance, where John Lennon was shot

The Dakota was constructed between October 25, 1880, and October 27, 1884.[3][4] 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.[5]

The Dakota was purportedly so named because at the time of construction, the Upper West Side 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.[6]

The Dakota was designated a New York City Landmark in 1969.[7] The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972,[1] and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.[2][8]

Beginning in 2013, the Dakota's façade was being renovated.[9]


The Dakota c. 1890; at the time, this area of Manhattan was only sparsely developed, and remote from the core of the city's population
Elevation (south, the front of the building)

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 town hall. 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.[10][11]

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.[12] Since then, the large condominium building The Harrison occupies its spot.[10][11]

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.[10][11]

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.[10][11]

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.[10][11]

An entrance to the 72nd Street station of the New York City Subway's A B C trains is outside the building.[13][14]

Notable residents[edit]

Notable residents of the Dakota have included:

Archival photograph of the South entrance

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, who 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."[38] Even prior to this, Gene Simmons,[39] Billy Joel,[40] and Carly Simon[41] were denied residency by the board. In 2002 the board rejected corrugated-cardboard magnate and Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of New York, Dennis Mehiel.[42]

In popular culture[edit]

  • 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 the home of Hunter Rose, from the graphic novel series Grendel.[43]
  • 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 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 home of Special Agent Pendergast, in the series written by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.
  • It is the home of the Angel family in the book "Confessions of a Murder Suspect" by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro.
  • It is prominently featured in Jack Finney's 1970 illustrated novel Time and Again as a portal for time travel.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2006-03-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b "Dakota Apartments". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. September 11, 2007. 
  3. ^ Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS), "The Dakota, HSBS No. NY-5467", pp. 1-11; retrieved July 3, 2013.
  4. ^ Brockmann, Jorg et al. (2002), One Thousand New York Buildings, pp. 342–343., p. 342, at Google Books
  5. ^ 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."
  6. ^ Gray, Christopher. New York Streetscapes. Harry N. Abrams, Inc. pp. 326–328. ISBN 0-8109-4441-3. 
  7. ^ Birmingham, Stephen. (1996). Life at the Dakota: New York's Most Unusual Address, pp. 130-131.
  8. ^ Carolyn Pitts (August 10, 1976). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory: Dakota Apartments" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved June 21, 2009.  and Accompanying photos, exterior, undated (1.65 MB)
  9. ^ "The Iconic Dakota, Built in 1884, Is Getting Some Work Done". Curbed NY. 
  10. ^ a b c d e "New York Architecture Photos: Dakota Apartments". NewYorkitecture. 
  11. ^ a b c d e NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission designation report
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Google (May 12, 2015). "Street view of The Dakota" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved May 12, 2015. 
  14. ^ "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Upper West Side" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  15. ^ a b Bellafante, Ginia (February 24, 2005). "At Home With Lauren Bacall". The New York Times. Retrieved April 7, 2015. 
  16. ^ New York Observer June 29, 1992.
  17. ^ "Ward Bennett, 85, Dies; Designed With American Style", The New York Times August 16, 2003.
  18. ^ "Buy Leonard Bernstein's Dakota Apartment for Only 25.5 Million" November 5, 2006.
  19. ^ a b c d Appleton, Kate. "Landmarks: The Dakota". New York Magazine website. Retrieved December 30, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Life at the Dakota", Stephen Birmingham, 1979.
  21. ^ "Thriller at the Dakota! Harlan Coben's Discounted Duplex", The New York Observer, April 21, 2010.
  22. ^ Elder, Roberta Flack interview, The Sydney Mordning Herald, January 28, 2009 accessed January 20, 2010.
  23. ^ a b "Upper West Side Butler Inherits Two Apartments in the Dakota". DNAinfo New York. 
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ a b "Here at the Dakota," "New York Magazine", June 18, 1979, page 44.
  26. ^ Haughney, Christine (December 6, 2010). "Sharing the Dakota With John Lennon". The New York Times. 
  27. ^ "John Madden's Dakota Co-op Returns to Market for $3.9M". Curbed NY. 
  28. ^ 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. 
  29. ^ Rosenblum, Constance (August 2, 2009). "A Life in Pictures: Albert Maysles". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  30. ^ 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).
  31. ^ "Joe Namath Looses Some Of His Padding", New York Daily News February 21, 2000.
  32. ^ Stephen Birmingham, Life at the Dakota: New York's most unusual address 1996:85.
  33. ^ "A Morning at the Dakota", The Washington Post February 19, 2008.
  34. ^ "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).
  35. ^ A Morning at the Dakota", "The Washington Post" February 19, 2008.
  36. ^ "Who's Killing Betsey?", "New York Magazine" May 13, 1996.
  37. ^ "The Actor's Letter". Chicago Reader. 
  38. ^ Neuman, William (June 19, 2005). "New Co-op for Soup Executive". The New York Times. Retrieved May 25, 2010. 
  39. ^ 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.
  40. ^ Albin Krebs. "Notes on People: Dakota Blocks Billy Joel's Bid to Buy Apartment." The New York Times, June 28, 1980.
  41. ^ "Carly Simon Sues For Flat Deposit", BBC News, September 29, 2003.
  42. ^ Max Abelson. "Dakota-Spurned Cardboard Magnate Mehiel Asking $35 M. for Carhart Mansion Duplex." The New York Observer, August 12, 2008.
  43. ^ Schutz, Diana. "Sample Scripts > Grendel: Devil Child #1, pp. 1-5". Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. 


The Dakota in the snow
  • Cardinal.: "The Dakota Apartments: Vintage Articles of the World's Most Famous Apartment Building", Campfire Publishing, 2013
  • Cardinal.: "The Dakota Scrapbook, Campfire Publishing, 2014
  • Cardinal.: "The Dakota Apartments: A Pictorial History of New York's Legendary Landmark, Campfire Publishing, 2015
  • Cardinal.: "A Grand Tour of the Dakota Apartments: A Journey Through Time of the Interior & Exterior of New York's Legendary Landmark, Campfire Publishing, 2015
  • 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. ISBN 9781579122379; OCLC 48619292
  • 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.

External links[edit]