Spooky, ominous, regal and intimidating – The Dakota Building is one of New York City’s most iconic residential structures.
Located on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, this grand building occupies a prime spot overlooking Central Park.
It was built in 1884 when the Manhattan skyline was sparse and largely undeveloped…
Amazing what a hundred or so years can do!
The Dakota is perhaps most famous for being the site of the murder of John Lennon, not to mention the residence he shared with his wife Yoko Ono.
The Dakota building has been home to many famous people in its time and it has also been the filming location of some notable movies – like the 1968 cult classic Rosemary’s Baby.
I saw Rosemary’s Baby a few years ago and it haunts me to this day. In fact, every time I see a picture of the Dakota building, I get a horrible yucky feeling in my stomach. (Thank you Roman Polanski!)
There is just something eternally creepy about this building. The dramatic spire rooflines, ornate finials, and Gothic styling on its façade – horror movie material at its best!
The complex has a large private courtyard for residents only and is actually a co-operative apartment building. The units range in size from 3 to 10 rooms and most have functioning fireplaces. But real estate here does not come cheap: units in the Dakota typically sell for between $4 million and $30 million, according to Wikipedia.
Rest assured, only the famed and financially elite can set up house here.
Lauren Bacall in her Dakota apartment, 1969
Past residents include: Lauren Bacall, Lillian Gish, Leonard Bernstein, Rosemary Clooney, John Madden, Connie Chung, Maury Povich, Gilda Radner, and many more former and current gliteratti of New York.
Historically, the Dakota had 65 apartments, with no two being alike. The apartments were (and still are) accessed by staircases and elevators in each of the corners of the courtyard.
One of the premier luxury residences of its time, the Dakota originally had amenities like a dining hall, dumbwaiters, a gymnasium, a playroom, and an in-house power plant.
Today, much of those spaces have been reconfigured into additional apartments.
Here’s a few photos of the interior in case you were curious:
Rich in history and city lore, few things about the Dakota have changed over the past 130 years. In fact, it is still manned by a white-gloved full-time doorman. Plus, the original oil-burning entry lights are still in use.
Creepy – in a dreary, old New York City way.
And Yoko Ono still lives there!