When the Upper West Side's storied co-op The Dakota was built in 1884, it was just an apartment building on the far reaches of town. It wasbelieve it or notbuilt as housing for the aspirational upper middle class, as opposed to the monied elite who are welcomed in (or barred) by the building's notoriously fussy co-op board these days. At the time, before it converted into a co-op in the 1960s, rents ranged from $1,000 to $5,600 a year (or roughly, Bloomberg says, $24,000 today.) In his new book The Dakota: A History of the World's Best-Known Apartment Building (h/t Bloomberg), author Andrew Alpern digs deep into the legendary building's past and its rise in status to become one of the city's, or as the book's title suggests, the world's, most well-known apartments buildings.
More coverage of The Dakota
Truly Bizarre Dakota Pad Won't Give Up, Returns For $14.5M
These Scathing Reviews Decimate 7 of NYC's 'Best' Buildings
First Look Inside Lauren Bacall's Dakota Apartment of 53 Years
"In a sense," Bloomberg writes, "the Dakota's history as told through Alpern's book is the same story as New York's." They elaborate:
As the city grew around the Dakota, its once relatively arbitrary parkside location became one of its main draws. (Although the origins of the building's name are unknown, it's suggested that it's so named because it was so far west and north in Manhattan, like Dakota territory.) Ambitious bohemians flocked to the building in droves, which manifested in famous tenants like John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Lauren Bacall, Judy Garland, and later, Roberta Flack. The building gained international recognition when Lennon was infamously gunned down under its archway on December 8, 1980.
These days, apartments in the building regularly sell in the eight digits. Lauren Bacall's nine-room apartment of 53 years sold less than a month ago for $23.5 million. Another of the building's apartments has been on the market for nearly a decade seeking $14.5 million. The least expensive apartment in the building is a tight two-bedroom, two-bathroom pad seeking $3.6 million. By the Bureau of Labor Statistics' inflation counter, that $3.6 million ask whittles down to just $149,348 1913 dollars, likely an insurmountable sum to the building's erstwhile occupants. The times, within the walls of The Dakota and in New York City at large, sure have changed.
· A New Look Inside the Most Extravagant Apartment Building in New York [Bloomberg]
· The Dakota: A History of the World's Best-Known Apartment Building [Amazon]
· First Look Inside Lauren Bacall's Dakota Apartment of 53 Years [Curbed]
· Buyer Sues After Being Barred From Dakota Pad For 16 Years [Curbed]
· All coverage of The Dakota [Curbed]