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The Dakota

1 West 72nd Street (at Central Park West)

Now considered one of Manhattan’s most prestigious coop buildings with a prime Upper West Side address, when it was built in 1884, the Dakota was in such a desolate location that it might as well have been in… well… the Dakotas. The high-gabled building with dormers, balconies, niches, and balustrades was designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh architect of the Plaza Hotel, for Edward Clark, head of the Singer Sewing Machine Company.

The Dakota was one of the pioneering high rises in the Upper West Side which was largely undeveloped throughout the nineteenth century. With the relocation of Columbia University from the East Side to Morningside Heights, a wave of intellectuals, artists, and immigrants began moving into the area. Unlike the Upper East Side, which has always been associated with wealth and prestige, the Upper West Side retains its reputation for being more bohemian despite the surge in housing prices and influx of celebrities into the area in recent decades.

Many UWS celebrities resided in the Dakota, including John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Lauren Bacall, Roberta Flack, Joe Namath, Judy Garland, and Maury Povich and Connie Chung. Notably, it has not been home to Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas, Billy Joel, Carly Simon, and Gene Simmons all of whom were rejected by its iron-clad board.

The Dakota has become a star in its own right. Many may recognize the building as “The Bramford” from Roman Polanski’s chilling 1968 film Rosemary’s Baby. Tom Cruise’s character lived there in Vanilla Sky. It is the setting of numerous novels and boasts its own documentary, Dreaming of the Dakota (2013).

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