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Dakota Building

Dakota Building (107)

When this famous building opened in 1884, it was so far from the city that people referred to it by saying that it was as far as Dakota, the state that is located up north in the United States, more than 900 miles away. But, on the other hand, its founder's interest in getting to know the different territories of the new west was known; thus, he may have chosen Dakota. In fact, above the entrance on 72nd Street you can see the figure of a Dakota Indian, whereas the building is decorated with arrowheads and ears of corn.

The truth is that, at first, the building did not enjoy a good reputation. Moreover, in the late 19th century, the power supply did not even reach this place. But the fast advance of the metropolis soon integrated it into the city, whereas its location, its architecture, its community and its history turned it into one of the most expensive hotels in all of New York.

The building was designed by Henry Hardenbergh, also known for having built the Plaza Hotel, and he made for Edward Clark, who was then the owner of Singer, the famous sewing machine. Its steep roofs, balconies and balustrades, its different facade levels and its characteristic colour make the Dakota Building one of a kind. In fact, "Rosemary's Baby" by Roman Polanski, an exciting horror film from 1968, was filmed here.

It surely is an imposing as well as curious structure, which reminds us of the architecture of German Renaissance, like the old town hall in Bremen, and enjoys the benefits of the design of French residences, in which all rooms are connected with one another and are also accessible from the hallway, a system which was widely used in the New York of the late 19th century.

At its inception, the Dakota Building had 65 apartments, which were all different. So much so that some had 4 rooms and the largest ones 20. To access them, lifts were installed in the corners of the building, whereas the lifts in the middle were used for service. Other special lifts were also designed to send food to the apartments from a large communal dining room, and even a small power station was created to meet the needs of the building. And if, to top it off, we tell you that it had a gym on the tenth floor, as well as a tennis court and a garden behind the building, you can easily imagine its luxurious indoor spaces.

Perhaps for this reason, its apartments have always been chosen by great personalities, such as actress Judy Garland, actor Boris Karloff, dancer Rudolf Nureyev, singer and songwriter Paul Simon and composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, among others.

As very important people have always lived and still live here, the community is pretty tight, and it is known that, if someone puts their apartment for sale, the new resident must not only pay a huge sum, but also get the community's approval to be able to live here. As an anecdote, we can tell you that, for example, they denied residency to Gene Simmons, Kiss' bassist and singer.

Without any doubt, the saddest episode the Dakota has experienced happened on 8 December 1980. That day, John Lennon was returning to his residence in the Dakota Building with Yoko Ono and was killed with multiple shots. Right here, in front of the main entrance. Therefore, next to it, in Central Park, you will find the Strawberry Fields Memorial with a mosaic on the floor with the word "Imagine." A word that certainly provides much sense to this place. You just need to remember the song lyrics.

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