Posts Tagged ‘the Dakota’

West 72nd Street before the Dakota

October 22, 2010

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.

New York Post reports: “I just shot John Lennon”

September 8, 2010

So screamed the headline on the front page of the New York Post on December 9, 1980. A yearbook-like photo of a baby-faced Mark David Chapman ran next to it.

Everyone knows the story: 25-year-old Chapman shot and killed Lennon in front of the Dakota at around 11 p.m. as he and Yoko walked up to the building.

The Post covers the murder from every angle; it feels like the first example of the saturated celebrity death coverage we’re used to now.

Page after page tells us who Chapman is, what a neighbor saw, how Ringo came to comfort Yoko, what President Reagan said regarding handgun laws, and all the fans who gathered at the Dakota to mourn. 

There’s also a small piece on a sudden run on Beatles and Lennon solo records:

“Last night the Colony—which is open until 2 a.m.—was jammed with requests for Lennon tapes and records,” the Post reported.

“The only remaining copy of Lennon’s ‘Plastic Ono Band’—now out of print—went for $40 within minutes.”

When Manhattan parks featured lovers’ lanes

July 19, 2010

This 1908 postcard, of “Lover’s Lane” in Riverside Park, doesn’t say exactly where it is along the river—and a search for it came up empty. 

But the curvy path sure looks like a sweet place to stroll or sit, as the couple far off on a bench demonstrate.

Central Park also had a Lovers’ Lane, as seen in these circa-1896 photos. 

According to a 1931 New York Times article, this narrow road ran “from east to west, just to the north of the 79th Street Transverse Road and south of the lake site.”

[Photo below from the NYPL digital collection]

Here’s the history of a colonial-era Lovers’ Lane in Brooklyn Heights.

The Dakota of Bedford-Stuyvesant

May 11, 2008

Built in 1889, the Alhambra—on Nostrand Avenue between Halsey and Macon—is a Romanesque Revival beauty: five stories, several turrets, a pointed roof, and 30 apartments (eight room each!). It was designed by Brooklyn’s own Montrose Morris, a starchitect in his day (he’s responsible for the equally stunning Renaissance Apartments and the Bedfordshire Apartments, among others).

This 1902 photo is from a Brooklyn Daily Eagle story, which reported that the building was sold to an investor for $300,000.


Here’s the Alhambra today. It’s still lovely, if a bit weathered, and it fits into a neighborhood loaded with so many other architectural gems.