It was one of the first apartment houses in the city, a Gothic, Victorian, French Renaissance–inspired mix of lovely gables, dormers, railings, and moldings.
And if you were lucky enough to be able to afford a flat in the Dakota around 1884, the year the building opened, here’s what the view outside your window would have be like.
This 1890 photograph, published in New York: An Illustrated History, looks south from Central Park West and 72nd Street.
It’s an amazing contrast: the Dakota, an example of Gilded Age opulence, vs. the shacks and shanties of the surrounding blocks.
It wouldn’t look this way for much longer. The Upper West Side was fast transitioning from a collection of villages such as Harsenville and Bloomingdale into a neighborhood of brownstones and apartment houses.