The Dakota: A History of the World's Best-Known Apartment Building

The Dakota: A History of the World's Best-Known Apartment Building


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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 Clark 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 Clark 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 New York City.

This internationally renowned building is now accessible to us all—at least in print, if not in its ultraprivate and well-guarded reality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781616894375
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Publication date: 10/13/2015
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 498,789
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 11.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Andrew Alpern is an architectural historian, architect, and attorney who has known the Dakota since his childhood in the neighborhood. He is the preëminent expert on historic apartment houses in New York, with nine prior books, five of which tell stories of New York's architectural assets and the people behind them. Alpern has also written scores of articles about historical architecture and particular buildings.

He has written dozens of book reviews, more than 85 of his Letters to the Editor have been published, and he is regularly quoted in print. His donations of two major collections to the Columbia University Libraries resulted in a block-buster exhibition of his 50-year archive of the work of writer/artist Edward Gorey and the first-ever scholarly catalogue of his collection of over 300 years of architectural drawing instruments, which have been made obsolete by computer drafting. Since 2002 Alpern has served as general counsel and chief compliance officer for an SEC-registered investment adviser firm. He has been a resident of Manhattan since 1938.

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