The Dakota is arguably the best-known residential address in the world. It is home to dozens of New York's most famous artists, performers and successful businessmen, and is even seen as a shrine by thousands of tourists annually, who visit it as the site of John Lennon's murder in 1980. The rare sale of an apartment there, usually at jaw-dropping prices, is a news-worthy event, as is the financial and architectural health of the building itself, a landmark in every sense of the word. The Dakota is also the first building built in New York as a true luxury apartment house, and, more than 130 years later, is still the gold standard against which all other apartment buildings are weighed. Noted architectural historian Andrew Alpern tells here, for the first time, the fascinating story of how the Dakota came to be, how Singer Sewing machine magnate Edward Clarke dared to build an apartment building on what was then the swamplands of the Upper West Side luxurious enough that he could coax the city's well-heeled to leave their mansions and townhouses for what was then seen as ultra-modern living.
Alpern has meticulously researched and redrawn plans of the entire building, published here for the first time, that show how Clarke created apartments luxurious enough that they made living under a shared roof as acceptable in Manhattan as it already was in Europe's grand capitals. In addition to rare historical photographs that show the Dakota under construction, transcribed newspaper reports of the time offer a contemporaneous view of the building. More-recent illustrated magazine articles are reprinted in their entirety to provide a virtual reference library on the Dakota and some of its most famous residents. This iconic building enjoys international renown and is now accessible to us all for the first time--at least in print if not in its ultra-private and well-guarded reality.
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 1225 g
Dimensions: 254 x 203 x 25 mm
"Andrew Alpern, a lawyer turned architectural historian, has written a book for the outsider who longs to gain access to the marble halls of the inside...its pages are consecrated to details that allow the reader to reconstruct the Dakota from its foundation to its roof terrace in his or her imagination." - The New Republic
"The list of features included in historian Andrew Alpern's book, 'The Dakota: A History of the Worlds Best-Known Apartment Building, would make the average New Yorker weep: tennis courts, marble staircases, oak- and mahogany-paneled dining rooms, 14-foot ceilings, ornate fireplaces, and, of course, those Central Park views. The book is loaded with original floor plans, historic images of the interiors, and profiles of the building's many notable residents through the years." - Bloomberg
"The Dakota: A History of the World's Best-Known Apartment Building is a historical and architectural history, deliberately eschewing the gossip that could easily fill the pages of a book with such a name." - Untapped Cities
"The Dakota is a serious, but equally compelling, book that chronicles all about the nuts and bolts of how the building at 1 West 72nd Street came about: its construction; how it changed the face of Manhattan's Upper West Side and its renovations over the years." - Brick Underground