The Dakota is arguably the best-known residential address in the world, home to dozens of New York City's most famous artists, performers, and successful executives. The rare sale of an apartment there, usually at jaw- dropping prices, is newsworthy, as is the financial and architectural health of the building itself, a landmark in every sense of the word. The first true luxury apartment house built in New York City, more than 130 years ago, the Dakota is still the gold standard against which all other apartment buildings are weighed. Historian Andrew Alpern tells the fascinating story of how the Dakota came to be, how Singer sewing magnate Edward Clarke dared to build an apartment building luxurious enough to coax the city's wealthy from their mansions downtown for ultra-modern living on what was then the swamplands of the Upper West Side. Redrawn plans of the entire building, published here for the first time, show how Clarke created apartments glamorous enough that they made living under a shared roof as acceptable in Manhattan as it already was in Europe's grand capitals, forever revolutionizing apartment life in NewYork City.
- The first full-length history of this internationally iconic building, replete with historical construction photographs and transcribed newspaper reports from its time of building.
- More recent illustrated articles are reprinted in their entirety to provide a virtual reference library on the Dakota and some of its most famous residents, including Judy Garland, Leonard Bernstein, Joe Namath, Boris Karloff, Gilda Radner, Yoko Ono, and Lauren Bacall.
- Includes reprints of several lifestyle magazine pieces showing the interiors of the apartments of dancer Rudolf Nureyev, artist Giora Novack, and designer Ward Bennett.
- Alpern is the author of nine previous books on Manhattan's architecture.
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.
The New Republic
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 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.
The list of features included in historian Andrew Alpern's book, The Dakota: A History of the World's 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.