The Dakota

Posted on November 1, 2019

The Dakota is also known as apartment buildings. It is known as the Dakota Apartments. It is located in New York on the northwest corner of Central Park West and 72nd Street. It is located on the West Side of Manhattan. The building was first completed in 1881. Fun fact, these apartments were home to a former member of the Beatles, John Lennon. He lived here from 1973 until the day of his murder.


These buildings were started on October 25 of 1880. They were not finished until October 27th of 1884. Edward Cabot Clark had the design made by Henry Janeway Hardenburgh. Henry had an architectural firm. Edward was head of the Singer Manufacturing Company. The name of the building was due to the time of the construction. The area at the time was not inhabited as it is today. It did not have many people. The Dakota Territory was also considered remote. However, the apartments appeared in the paper in 1933 with an interview from the manager of the apartments. The building was considered a landmark of New York City in the year 1969. In 1972, the building was added to the register of historic places. However, it wasn’t until 1976 that the building was considered a historic landmark.


There are deep roofs with high gables. There are many balconies and other reasons it looks like it came from the German Renaissance. The floor plan, as well as the layout, were influenced strongly by the architectural trends going on in France. These trends were becoming well-known in New York. The Dakota apartments are a square building. This is built around the central courtyard. There is a main entrance that features an arch. This arch is large enough for horse-drawn carriages. These carriages were once entering this archway to allow the passengers to avoid the weather. There was a stable that would house these carriages. It was a very large stable with multiple stories. The stable was built in two sections. The stables were then used as a garage until the year 2007. After this, it was transformed into a condominium. To this day the condominium occupies the spot of the stables.

All the major rooms are connected to each other. Plus, all these rooms are accessible from either a corridor or a hall. This allows guest to naturally go from one room to another. This was designed this way essentially for festive occasions. However, the principal rooms would face the street. This would include master bedrooms and parlors. Other rooms such as the dining room or kitchen would face the courtyard. The apartments were aired from two different sides. This was a novelty at this time. The floors of the building are made of cheery, oak, or mahogany while the ceilings are fourteen feet high!

When the building was constructed, there were sixty-five apartments. Each apartment had four to twenty rooms. Each apartment was different and not a single one was like the other. The apartments could be accessed via an elevator or staircase. There are separate stairs for the kitchens and elevators. This building was catered to those who were well off. There are many amenities that had been exceptional for the time period. There was a large dining hall and meals would be sent to the individual apartments with dumbwaiters. The electricity used in the apartment was made in the apartments. There was central heating which was very rare at the time. Not to mention, a playroom and gymnasium in the building. These spaces were on the tenth floor; however, they were later converted to more apartments. There was a private lawn for the tenants. They would have a garden, tennis courts, and private croquet lawns.

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Notable Residents and Issues

The Dakota is home to many artistic and creative legends. However, with that being said, in 2005 the building was criticized. It was criticized by Albert Maysles. Albert had attempted to sell the ownership to actors Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith. However, the two were rejected by the board. Albert had told the New York Times that he was disappointed with the way the building had seemed to be changing. He also stated that the building was losing touch with interesting people and they are not allowing creative people to live there. He stated that they are just going for those who have money.

Before this incident occurred, Billy Joel, Carly Simon, and Gene Simmons were all denied by the board. They would not be allowed to live there. They even denied Dennis Mehiel in 2002.

The most notable residents and occurrences have to deal with John Lennon. He was a former member of the Beatles. The Dakota is where he was murdered. Lennon was murdered in 1980. It was a cold night on December 8th when he was killed. Lennon was murdered by Mark David Chapman. Mark had shot Lennon four times in the shoulder and back. Lennon died almost instantly. He only took a few steps before he collapsed on the ground.

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The Paranormal

There have been many reports of paranormal activity taking place on the grounds of the Dakota Apartments. In the 60s a construction worker who was working near the apartments stated he saw something. He stated he saw a figure. This figure had the body of a man with the face of a young boy. This incident happened after the death of the resident Judy Holliday. They also felt like they were being watched closely as well.  Residents today are claiming to see a little girl who is dressed in period clothing. The little girl will greet them by waving and smiling.

Then there is John Lennon. He was murdered in the archway of the southern entrance. It is said that his spirit lives on in the apartments today. One person reported that Lennon was playing the piano in their apartment.

When Lennon was murdered, people were continuing to see his ghost around the Dakota Apartments. A few years after his murder people claimed to see him standing in the archway where he died. It was said that he was surrounded by what people call an eerie light. Other people have witnessed the man in the apartments as well. As stated, people have claimed he has played their instruments. One person even claims that Lennon spoke to her. She stated that Lennon said Do not be afraid. I am still here with you.

Lennon wasn’t the first ghost of these apartments. Lennon himself had reported strange occurrences. One occurrence was that he saw a UFO from the window of his Dakota apartment. He also stated that he saw a ghost. He called this ghost the crying lady ghost. She was said to be in the hallways of the older building.

There have been many different residences stating that objects in their apartments move on their own. People report hearing footsteps and many different and odd noises in their apartments. Some people state that large furniture and rugs were moved all on their own as well. Frederick Weinstein reported seeing the lights of a chandelier in his living room. He saw this through the window; however, he did not have a chandelier. Plus, when he entered the apartment, the lights were gone. However, upon further inspection, he noticed bolts in the ceiling where there was once a chandelier.

The most well-known and sinister stories come from the basement. A porter had once brought a tenant down to the basement to show the tenant that there were objects moving on their own. The two men were down in the basement investigating the claims and a heavy metal bar had flown across the room. The metal bar had almost hit the porter. The bar landed at the porter’s feet. The porter had gone to pick it up only to realize it was way too heavy to lift. Many people have reported seeing a man who fits the description of Edward Clark in the basement. However, he never lived here. With that being said, maybe he is the one in the basement keeping an eye on the fate of the apartments he had built.