The Dakota Highlights | TopView Sightseeing

The Dakota

Location: 1 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023

A few quirky facts about the building:

  • The building has no fire escapes. During construction, mud from Central Park was layered between the bricks to both fireproof and soundproof the building.
  • Don’t throw away that original door or fireplace mantel! If a resident wants to remove something it must be placed in a designated storage area in the building.
  • In the original owner’s former apartment, the floors were made of sterling silver!

The Dakota located on the corner of Central Park West and 72nd Street on Manhattan’s Upper West Side is a cooperative apartment building probably most famous for being the home of former Beatle John Lennon. Lennon lived there from 1973 until his murder in 1980 by Mark David Chapman.

In the 2006 film “The Killing of John Lennon” by Andrew Piddington, the building is featured prominently although for exterior shots only. In the very successful 1968 film “Rosemary’s Baby” by Roman Polanski, the exterior of the Dakota was used as “The Bramford” the building where certain characters in the film lived.

Over the years, the Dakota NYC has been home to many well know people in the creative and performing arts. In 2005, former resident Albert Maysles, a well-known documentary film maker, complained about the buildings board of directors who had rejected the sale of his apartment to actors Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith. He had expressed his disappointment that the building was changing and losing touch with interesting people. He accused the board of only being interested in people who have money and not in creative people as the building had attracted in the past. Other celebrities who were not approved by the board include: Carly Simon, Gene Simmons and Billy Joel. The Dakota New York has been home to many, many famous residents including: Judy Garland, Boris Karloff, Joe Namath, Gilda Radner, Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, Connie Chung, Rosemary Clooney and Roberta Flack to name but a few.

The Dakota was commissioned by Edward Cabot Clark who was head of the Singer Manufacturing. The building was constructed between 1880 and 1884 by the architectural firm of Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, the same firm that designed the Plaza Hotel. The building was supposedly called The Dakota because when it was constructed, the area was not well populated and was considered remote from the well inhabited area of Manhattan, as remote as the Dakota Territory!

The Dakota Apartments architectural features included high gables and deep roofs with balconies, niches and balustrades giving it a German Renaissance feel reminiscent of a Hanseatic town hall. The design was very much influenced by French trends of the time that had become popular in New York during the 1870’s. The Dakota is designed in a square with a courtyard in the center and there is a face of a Dakota Indian over the 72nd Street entrance keeping watch. The main entrance features a porte-cochere that was large enough for horse drawn carriages to disembark passengers and be sheltered from inclement weather.

To see The Dakota, use the Uptown & Harlem Tour and hop off at Stop 19: Dakota Building

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This page was edited by Steven Thomas