Template:Infobox nrhp Template:About The Dakota, constructed from October 25, 1880 to October 27, 1884,[1] is an apartment building located on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West in New York City.

The architectural firm of Henry Janeway Hardenbergh was commissioned to do the design for Edward Clark, head of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. The firm also designed the Plaza Hotel.[2]

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.

According to popular legend, the Dakota was so named because at the time it was built, the Upper West Side of Manhattan was sparsely inhabited and considered as remote as the Dakota Territory. However, the earliest recorded appearance of this account is in a 1933 newspaper story. 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.[3] High above the 72nd Street entrance, the figure of a Dakota Indian keeps watch. The Dakota was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.[4][5]

Features Edit

File:The Dakota 1880s.jpg

The Dakota is built in a square-shape around a central courtyard, accessible through the arched passage of the main entrance, a porte cochère large enough that horse-drawn carriages could pass through, letting their passengers disembark sheltered from the weather. In the Dakota multi-story stable building at 77th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, elevators lifted carriages to upper floors. The "Dakota Stables" building was still in operation as a garage until February 2007, but it is now slated to be developed by the Related Companies into a multimillion dollar condominium project.

The general layout of the apartments is also in the French style of the period, with all major rooms not only connected to each other en filade in the traditional way, but also accessible from a hall or corridor, an arrangement that allowed a natural migration for guests from one room to another, especially on festive occasions, yet gave service staff discreet separate circulation patterns that offered 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 towards the courtyard. Apartments are thus aired from two sides, which was a relative novelty in New York at the time. (In the Stuyvesant building, which was built in 1869, a mere ten years earlier, and which is considered New York's first apartment building in the French style, many apartments have windows to one side only.) Some of the drawing rooms were 49 ft. (about 15 m) long, and many of the ceilings are Template:Convert high; the floors are inlaid with mahogany, oak, and cherry (although in the apartment of Clark, the building's founder, some floors were famously inlaid with sterling silver).

File:Dakota Elevation.jpg

Originally, the Dakota had 65 apartments with four to twenty rooms, no two 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 could also be sent up to the apartments by dumbwaiters. Electricity was generated by an in-house power plant, and the building has central heating. Besides servants' quarters, there was a playroom and a gymnasium under the roof. (In later years, these spaces on the tenth floor were—for economic reasons—converted into apartments, too.) The lot of the Dakota also comprised a garden and private croquet lawns and a tennis court behind the building between 72nd and 73rd Streets.

The Dakota was a huge social success from the very start (all apartments were rented before the building opened), but a long-term drain on the fortune of Clark (who died before it was completed) and his heirs. For the high society of New York, it became fashionable to live in such a building, or to rent at least an apartment as a secondary city residence, and the Dakota's success prompted the construction of many other luxury apartment buildings in New York City.

Death of John Lennon and memorialEdit

File:1 West 72nd Street (The Dakota) entrance by David Shankbone.jpg

The building is best known as the home of former Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, starting in 1973, and as the location of Lennon's assassination by Mark David Chapman on December 8th, 1980. As of 2008, Ono still has an apartment in the building. The Strawberry Fields memorial was laid out in memory of Lennon in Central Park directly across Central Park West. Every year, Ono marks the anniversary of Lennon's death with a now-public pilgrimage to the memorial.[6]

In popular culture Edit

Several movies, including Rosemary's Baby and Vanilla Sky directed by Roman Polanski and Cameron Crowe respectively, use the exterior of the Dakota. Interiors of the building portrayed in the films had to be shot on a soundstage as the Dakota does not allow filming inside.Template:Fact

The Dakota has also been mentioned specifically in several novels including Time and Again by Jack Finney, The Hard Way by Lee Child, Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child's novels about the character Special Agent Aloysius X. L. Pendergast, Harlan Coben's novels about Horne Lockwood III, and the book series The Baby-Sitters Club.Template:Fact

File:Dakota Building - fence detail 119924pv.jpg

Several bands and artists also mention the Dakota in their songs, most often in reference to John Lennon. Some of those songs are performed by Tim Curry, Nas, Hole, Christine Lavin, Brand New, and O.A.R., along with a reference in the musical The Last Five Years.Template:Fact

Education Edit

The Dakota is zoned to P.S. 87 William Shermanwithin the New York City Department of Education. The Dakota is unzoned for middle school; residents may contact Region 10 to determine the middle school assignments.

Famous residents Edit

File:Dakota Building and Central Park West circa 1880 119925pv.jpg
File:Dakota Building south entrance 119922pv.jpg

Well-known residents of the Dakota building have included:

Although historically home to many creative or artistic people, the building and its board 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 by the board. 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."[7] Even prior to this, both Gene Simmons and Billy Joel were denied residency by the board in the 1970s.Template:Fact In 2002 The Dakota rejected corrugated-cardboard magnate and Democratic nominee for Governor of New York Dennis Mehiel.

References Edit

  1. Historic American Buildings Survey, The Dakota (Apartments), 1 West 72nd Street, Central Park West, New York, New York County, NY, page 2. URL last accessed 2006-10-24.
  2. 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 Sixteeth 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."
  3. Template:Cite book
  4. Template:Cite web
  5. Template:Citation and Template:PDFlink
  6. The Dakota, accessed July 18, 2007.
  7. New Co-op for Soup Executive - New York Times


  • 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.
  • Schoenauer, N.: 6000 Years of Housing, 3rd ed., pp. 335 - 336, W.W. Norton & Co., 2001. ISBN 0-393-73120-0.
  • 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, 1987, c1975. (Avery Reserves and Reference AA 7860 AL 741) Exterior views and sample floor plans as well brief historical synopsis, each with architect, builder, date built, and when applicable, date razed.
  • Van Pelt, D:Leslie's History of the Greater New York, Volume III" New York: Arkell Publishing Company 110 Fifth Avenue, c1898, The L A Williams Publishing and Engraving Company. Volume III Encyclopedia of Biography and Genealogy, pp. 656.


External links Edit

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Template:Registered Historic Placesde:The Dakota fa:ساختمان داکوتا fr:Dakota Building he:הדקוטה it:Dakota (palazzo) lt:The Dakota nl:The Dakota no:Dakota-bygningen sv:Dakota Building