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Life at the Dakota: New York's Most Unusual…
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Life at the Dakota: New York's Most Unusual Address

by Stephen Birmingham

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This was an entertaining social history of the Dakota apartment building in New York. The early parts of the book discusses the early history of the building, its first tenants, & its place in the history of the city & this is where the book is at its most interesting. Who knew that early apartment buildings & hotels were frowned upon because they were so much like the tenements of the day?

The last bit of the book is a bit gossipy, but that's also delicious in its own way, although somewhat disconcerting after the earlier historical writing. There are some cool photographs, as well, but I would've liked to have seen more photos of the interior of the building - maybe not the insides of people's apartments, but surely there's a picture of the lobby somewhere!

I love the notion of this building going up on the west side of Central Park & being called the Dakota because at the time it was so far out west. Its original budget was a million dollars & it took four years to build - from 1880 to 1884.

This, of course, is where John Lennon lived & where he was shot. The exterior of the building has been used in a couple of movies, Rosemary's Baby most notably, but they don't allow filming inside.

This is an enjoyable, if not terribly scholarly, book. ( )
  kraaivrouw | Oct 19, 2009 |
Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of the Dakota. Since then, I see it everywhere! I wonder how I remained ignorant of it so long. The building is architecturally fascinating and its inhabitants not one scintilla less so. It's not great, but it's a good, gossipy page-turner. ( )
  AlexTheHunn | Aug 14, 2007 |
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