The Dakota at Central Park West in New York City is one of the most prestigious residential addresses in the world with a long history of some of the world's most powerful business, sports and movie star owners. The building’s design is a mix match of French Renaissance, German Gothic and English Victorian steep-pitched roofs, dormers, moldings, balconies, pavilions and a Dakota Indian figure watching over the main entrance. The legend is that it was named "The Dakota" because it was built in 1884 in the boondocks, far away from the most popular areas of Manhattan. The idea and construction of the building was from Edward Clark, co-founder of the Singer Sewing Company, who did real estate on the side. The Dakota has been the home for dozens of celebrities including Leonard Bernstein, John Madden, Rosemary Clooney, Judy Garland, and Roberta Flack. John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved into the building in 1973 and lived there until John was murdered outside the building's 72nd Street entry in 1980 by a deranged fan; Yoko still has a home there. The building's exterior was filmed as the home of Mia Farrow's character in Rosemary's Baby. Stephen Birmingham’s best-selling 1996 book, Life at the Dakota: New York’s Most Unusual Address, chronicles the building's history and cast of the rich and famous who have lived there.
One of the most famous long-time residents of The Dakota was the sultry, contralto-voiced Lauren Bacall. She began her long career as a model doing covers for Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue before getting her first acting job at age 19 in To Have and Have Not. Her sultry voice and the Bacall “look”, the two qualities that made her stand out, came about in interesting ways. When she was first discovered, she had a high nasal pitch that required a two-week session with a voice coach to correct, and unless she looked down first before looking up, she shook so hard from nervousness, it was the only way she could control the shaking. Much to her surprise, Lauren was an immediate star, usually cast as the movie’s independent and mysterious beauty. Her most famous films including Key Largo and The Big Sleep were with co-star Humphrey Bogart who she married in 1945 and stayed together until his death in 1957. Lauren’s last movie was The Forger in 2012 spanning a film career of 68 years. She was also a Broadway actress winning Tony Awards for Applause in 1970 and Woman of the Year in 1981 and received an Honorary Academy Award in 2009.
Lauren passed away at age 89 in 2014 at her home in The Dakota where she lived for 53 years. Her nine-room, three-bedroom, four-bath apartment with almost 100 feet facing Central Park is now for sale. The large apartment retains the exceptional 19th century Dakota features such as 13-foot ceilings, foyer fireplace, 11-foot pocket doors, wainscoting, original butler’s pantry, plaster moldings, shutter-framed windows and hardwood flooring. The 70-foot long gallery opens to the major public rooms including the library, great room, and formal dining room. There is also a Juliette balcony that opens over treetop Central Park views. For more information.
Stage and screen star Lauren Bacall’s home of 53 years in The Dakota in Manhattan is for sale, priced at $26 million.