Since 1980 the legendary Dakota Apartments has been best-known as being the home of musician John Lennon, and also as the unfortunate location of his tragic death. The building is also typically associated with being the filming location for the horror film “Rosemary's Baby.” What most people do not know, however, is that it has been the home of Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, Rosemary Clooney, Jose Ferrer, Roberta Flack, Judy Garland, Boris Karloff, John Madden, Rudolf Nureyev, Yoko Ono, Gilda Radner, Rex Reed, and other luminaries of business, literature, stage, and screen. What fewer people know is that it was financed by a brilliant and visionary businessman with the vast fortune he acquired as as a result of the invention and marketing of the Singer sewing machine. And there is more. A lot more.
“There is so much to know and see and appreciate about the Dakota and its extraordinary impact on luxury apartment living in New York and the development of Manhattan's Upper West Side,” says Cardinal, an Investigative Historian whose private memorabilia collection was the foundation for the book and an associated forthcoming documentary. “Sadly, all most people know is that John Lennon lived and died there. As a result it has become a macabre tourist attraction. We'd like to change that with these books and our documentary. The Dakota is a place that deserves to be admired and celebrated.”
Among the interesting trivia in the book is that the Dakota had its own underground power plant which provided electricity to the building itself and also to the surrounding neighborhood. That was essentially unheard of in the 1880s. Also, at a time when passenger elevators were a relatively new invention, the Dakota had a grand total of eight – four for residents and four for servants. On the SE corner of the 1st floor was a private restaurant for the exclusive use of residents and their guests. The young architect - Henry Janeway Hardenbergh - wanted the building to be fireproof, so in some places the walls are 3 - 4 feet thick. Following the Dakota's success, he went on to design the Plaza Hotel and the original Waldorf-Astoria. The Dakota was designated a New York City Landmark in 1969. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
Volume I of “The Dakota Scrapbook” focuses on the Exterior of the building. That includes the north, south and west facades, as well as the east facade that directly faces Central Park. Within the pages are rarely-seen images and floor plans of the gabled roof and the interior courtyard that few people besides Dakota residents, their guests, and fortunate folks who have been invited in through the ornate iron security gates have ever seen.
“It is our sincere desire to encourage people to stop looking at the building as the location of a horrific crime scene and to start glancing up and around so they can be truly amazed by the fabulous history and architecture,”
The Dakota Scrapbooks were researched, written and designed by a team of Investigative Historians, writers, and photographers known as “The Cardinals.” They are presently in production on several other scrapbook-style books that showcase buildings of architectural significance around the world. Coming soon are scrapbook-style books on other Upper West Side buildings. Anyone who wishes to share any rare images, facts, trivia, audio or video is encouraged to contact the Cardinals. Next to be published will be “The Friar Park Scrapbook” which will celebrate the 120-room Victorian-era, neo-Gothic mansion in Henley-on-Thames that was purchased in January 1970 by John Lennon's fellow Beatle George Harrison.
The book is currently available in various digital formats exclusively through Kindle & CampfireNetwork.com.
Visit DakotaDocumentary.com or CampfireNetwork.com for more information.