The Dakota in New York

Sunday, 1 July 2018 - 12:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Architecture, General, House of the Month, New York City

© Ingfbruno/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Ingfbruno/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Dakota, also known as Dakota Apartments, is a cooperative apartment building located on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City. It was built in 1884 and is considered to be one of Manhattan’s most prestigious and exclusive cooperative residential buildings. The Dakota is famous as the home of former Beatle John Lennon from 1973 to his murder in the archway of the building in 1980. The Dakota was constructed between October 25, 1880, and October 27, 1884. The architectural firm of Henry Janeway Hardenbergh was commissioned to create the design for Edward Clark, head of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. The firm also designed the Plaza Hotel.

The Dakota was purportedly so named because at the time of construction, the area was sparsely inhabited and considered as remote in relation to the inhabited area of Manhattan as the Dakota Territory was. However, the earliest recorded appearance of this account is in a 1933 newspaper interview with the Dakota’s long-time manager, quoted in Christopher Gray’s book New York Streetscapes: “Probably it was called ‘Dakota’ because it was so far west and so far north”. According to Gray, 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. The Dakota was designated a New York City Landmark in 1969. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1976. The Dakota’s façade was renovated in 2015. The address of the Dakota is: 1 West 72nd Street. Immediately opposite the main entrance is the subway station 72nd Street. The inside of the building can not be visited and the entrance is constantly guarded.

The building’s high gables and deep roofs with a profusion of dormers, terracotta spandrels and panels, niches, balconies, and balustrades give it a German Renaissance character, an echo of a Hanseatic town hall. 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. High above the 72nd Street entrance, the face of a Dakota Indian keeps watch.

© Vidor © Andrevruas/cc-by-sa-3.0 © David Shankbone/cc-by-sa-3.0 © Elisa Rolle/cc-by-sa-3.0 © flickr.com - Half Sigma/cc-by-2.0 © Ingfbruno/cc-by-sa-3.0
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© flickr.com - Half Sigma/cc-by-2.0
The Dakota is square building, built around a central courtyard. The arched main entrance is a porte-cochère large enough for the horse-drawn carriages that once entered and allowed passengers to disembark sheltered from the weather. Many of these carriages were housed in a multi-story stable building built in two sections, 1891–94, at the southwest corner of 77th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, where elevators lifted them to the upper floors. The “Dakota Stables” building was in operation as a garage until February 2007, when it was slated to be transformed by the Related Companies into a condominium residence. Since then, the large condominium building The Harrison occupies its spot.

The general layout of the apartments is in the French style of the period, with all major rooms connected to each other, in enfilade, and also accessible from a hall or corridor. The arrangement allows a natural migration for guests from one room to another, especially on festive occasions, yet gives service staff discreet separate circulation patterns that offer 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 toward the courtyard. Apartments thus are aired from two sides, which was a relative novelty in Manhattan at the time. Some of the drawing rooms are 49 ft (15 m) long, and many of the ceilings are 14 ft (4.3 m) high; the floors are inlaid with mahogany, oak, and cherry.

Originally, the Dakota had 65 apartments with 4 to 20 rooms, no two being 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 to 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 also could be sent up to the apartments by dumbwaiters. Electricity was generated by an in-house power plant, and the building has central heating. Beside servant quarters, there was a playroom and a gymnasium under the roof. In later years, these spaces on the tenth floor were converted into apartments. The Dakota property also contained a garden, private croquet lawns, and a tennis court behind the building between 72nd and 73rd Streets.

All apartments were let before the building opened, but it was a long-term drain on the fortune of Clark, who died before it was completed, and his heirs. For the high society of Manhattan, it became fashionable to live in the building, or at least to rent an apartment there as a secondary city residence, and the Dakota’s success prompted the construction of many other luxury apartment buildings in Manhattan.

Read more on Wikipedia The Dakota. Learn more about the use of photos. To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facebook pages/Twitter accounts. In addition more and more destinations, tourist organizations and cultural institutions offer Apps for your Smart Phone or Tablet, to provide you with a mobile tourist guide (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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