1 West 72nd Street, New York City
The Dakota in the Upper West Side of Manhattan
|Architect||Henry Janeway Hardenbergh|
|Management Company||Douglas Elliman Property Management|
|Number of Units||93|
|Number of Floors||9|
|1 West 72nd Street, New York City|
|Distance to Public Transit||Nearly 30 nearby routes|
|Region||New York City|
|Municipality||New York City|
|Title of Land||Cooperative|
New York City is home to many famous buildings, but when it comes to residential buildings, The Dakota is arguably the most famous in New York. For nearly 130 years, The Dakota has been home to celebrities, prominent members of society, and the wealthy elite of the city. The building’s co-op board is known as one of the most exclusive and secretive in all of Manhattan.
On December 8th, 1980, The Dakota secured its place in historical infamy when former Beatles member John Lennon was shot to death outside of the building by Mark David Chapman. To this day, The Dakota remains one of the most well known buildings in New York City and is a destination for both tourists and Beatles fans the world over.
The Dakota is located in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. At the time of its construction, the area was so sparsely populated that the nine story building towered over all of its neighbors. The Upper West Side has historically been primarily a residential neighborhood, but at the time of The Dakota’s opening, the luxury residential buildings that the neighborhood was known for stood over 10 blocks south from The Dakota’s location. Combined with the fact that at the time of its opening The Dakota was the largest apartment building in the whole of New York City, the building found fame right from the start and has held a level of prestige since its opening day.
Today, The Dakota is no longer remote as it now finds itself in the heart of the Upper West Side. Standing on the northwest corner of West 72nd Street and Central Park West, the building is surrounded by restaurants, shops, and other residential buildings. To the North is the American Museum of Natural History, and to the South is the cultural complex of Lincoln Center. Looking out over Central Park, residents of The Dakota are steps away from this famous urban garden, and just inside the 72nd Street entrance to Central Park is the John Lennon memorial in Strawberry Fields.
With a walk score of 98 out of 100 and a transit score of 100 out of 100, residents of The Dakota do not require a car to complete their daily errands.
Construction of The Dakota began on October 25th, 1880, and was completed almost exactly four years later on October 27th, 1884. Developer Edward Clark commissioned architect Henry Janeway Hardenbergh to build the larger apartment building in New York City, and by the building’s opening, its prestige had grown so substantially that every apartment unit was rented prior to the building’s official opening.
One of the lone buildings standing along Central Park West at the time of its construction, The Dakota’s design was influenced by the Victorian and Gothic architectural styles, complete with turrets, high gables, Terra-cotta spandrels, arches, oriel windows, and oil burning lamps lighting the exterior block front of the building. Many of the building’s exterior ornamentation has become iconic in the years since its construction. In 1969, The Dakota was named a New York City Landmark, followed by the inclusion into the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and the designation of being a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
Layout and Features
The Dakota is a nine-story square building, built with an inner central courtyard that is large enough for residents to drive into and up to the front entrances. The residential entrances are in the four corners of the building, with some apartment units having their own private entrances, and service elevators located in the middle of the building. The lower walls of the building are 28 inches thick, built with light yellow bricks that contrast nicely with the darker brown masonry on the exterior facade of the building.
Inside, the building holds 93 cooperative apartments, ranging in size from three to ten rooms units. The apartments are noted for their wood burning fireplaces, high ceilings, wooden floors, spacious and expansive layouts, and luxuriously decorated finishes and ornamentation. Famously the floors of developer Edward Clark were inlaid with sterling silver.
A selection of floor plans is presented.
The Dakota is known for its:
- White gloved staff
- 24 hour doorman
- Inner central courtyard and the porte cochere entrance for residents
- Security guards at the inner courtyard’s entrance to keep the tourists and John Lennon fans at bay
- This building is pet friendly
- It has previously allowed sublets and rentals
Dakota is managed by Douglas Elliman Property Management: (212) 350-2800.
The Dakota was built in 1884 long before the idea of sustainability living was even an issue.
Individual residents can contribute to the building’s sustainability by updating their appliances and window paneling to today’s energy efficient machines and materials and by Participating in New York City's recycling programs.
- The Dakota got its name from the fact that at the time of its construction, it was so far removed in distance from the prominent luxury neighborhoods of New York City, that it was considered as far away as the Dakota Territory. An homage to this can be found on the 72nd Street facade, which features a carving of a Native American image.
- The top floors of the building were originally used as storage and laundry facilities, as well as servant residences. This was before apartment living became popular among wealthy citizens, and the top floor views were not prized at the time.
- The Dakota was the setting for Roman Polanski’s classic film, Rosemary’s Baby, and Cameron Crowe’s film Vanilla Sky.
- The Dakota has been home to many celebrities and prominent individuals over the years, including Lauren Becall, William Inge, Jo Mielziner, Judy Garland, Gilda Radner, Boris Karloff, Leonard Bernstein, Ward Bennett, Connie Chung, Rosemary Clooney, Lillian Gish, Sean Lennon, Jack Palance, Maury Povich, Robert Ryan, Rudolph Nureyev, Hunter Rose, Warner LeRoy, John Madden, and Rex Reed.
- The most famous of the Dakota’s residents was John Lennon, who was shot to death by Mark David Chapman outside the building on December 8th, 1980 as Lennon returned home from a recording session at the Record Plant Studio with his wife Yoko Ono. This infamous event has made the Dakota a tourist attraction for John Lennon fans the world over. Yoko Ono has continued to reside in the building to this day. 
- The co-op board of directors have famously rejected applicants such as Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith, Billy Joel, Carly Simon, Dennis Mehiel, and Gene Simmons. In a lawsuit filed by resident Alphonse Fletcher Jr., the co-op board was accused of discriminatory behavior towards minority residents of the building, and rejected prospective buyers on the basis of their religion and ethnicity.  In a 2005 interview with the New York Times, former resident Albert Maysles accused the co-op board of accepting buyers based solely on their wealth, instead of their personal attributes that would add to the collective of the building.
- Former resident Ruth Ford left her two Dakota apartments to Indra B. Tamang, an immigrant from Nepal who served as Ford’s caretaker, cook, and butler for over 30 years. Tamang put one of the apartments up for sale, intending to live in the smaller of the two, but it was speculated that the co-op board might deny him permission to become a resident of the building.
- The Dakota has an aesthetics committee to oversee renovations, and a storage room to hold any original doors, frames, and mantle pieces that the residents may remove from their apartments, because it is against the rules to throw these pieces out.
- Annie Leibovitz’s famous Rolling Stone cover of a naked John Lennon embracing Yoko Ono was shot in Lennon and Ono’s apartment in The Dakota on December 8th, 1980, just hours before Lennon’s murder.
- The developer of The Dakota, Edward Clark, died two years prior to the building’s opening, and therefore never got to see the success his building enjoyed.
- Walk Score
- City Realty
- Wikipedia - The Dakota
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- Wikipedia - The Dakota
- NY Bits
- Street Easy
- City Realty - Review
- Wikipedia - The Dakota
- New york Times - Real Estate
- Curbed NY
- Wikipedia - John Lennon
- City Realty
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