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 Clarke 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 Clarke 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.