Ah, the Dakota. Of all the lovely/over-the-top apartment buildings in New York, it definitely ranks at number one.
Bloomberg published an inside look at the new book The Dakota: A History of the World’s Best-Known Apartment Building (complete with some amazing photos and historic renderings) by architectural historian Andrew Alpern and we seriously cannot get over how awesome it is.
Apparently, it used to be hard to get rich people to come uptown (and you thought it was just your obnoxious hipster friends!), so Edward Clark, the unnamed co-founder of the Singer Sewing company, invested in the Dakota in 1884 to try to lure them. Rents ranged from $1,000 to $5,600 per year and Clark never really raised them much until the building went co-op in the 1960s.
It was at the point that the celebrities started moving in, and famous former residents of the building include Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolph Nureyev, Judy Garland, and, of course, John Lennon and Yoko Ono (who still lives there).
As beautiful as the building is, it is perhaps better known for all the weird happenings that have gone down there: Yoko wrote some music that sounds like she was being tortured (now on exhibit at MoMa); Roman Polanski used the exterior of the building for his 1968 film Rosemary’s Baby; Leonard Bernstein had that Black Panther party over; and, of course, John Lennon was shot outside of it in 1980.
So living in the Dakota may not always be safe, but it’s sure never been boring.