The Dakota Apartments
1 West 72nd Street
Henry Janeway Hardenbergh (who also designed the Plaza Hotel) was commissioned to create the design for Edward Clark, head of the Singer Sewing Machine Company and the building was constructed from 1880 to 1884. It is believed that the Dakota was so named because the Upper West Side seemed, at that time, as remote as the Dakota Territory.
The Dakota is square, built around a central courtyard that has a fountain. The arched main entrance, fronted by a sentry box and cast-iron fence, is large enough for the horse-drawn carriages that once entered and allowed passengers to disembark sheltered from the weather. The four corners of the courtyard lead to separate lobbies and passenger elevators. Service elevators run up the middle of each side of the building. The bottom walls are 28 inches thick. Architectural elements including high gables, oriel windows, dormers, finials, balustrades, terracotta spandrels and panels, and other ornamentations make The Dakota a magnificent showcase of original pre-war glory.
The general layout of the 103 apartments that spread out over 10 floors has an influence of the French architectural style in housing design that was popular in New York City in the 1870’s. The apartments range from 4 to 20 rooms. None of the residences are the same. All major rooms are connected in enfilade. Parlors and master bedrooms are located in the front while other rooms overlook the courtyard. Some rooms are as long as 50 feet, ceilings in a number of apartments are 14 feet high, and the floors are covered with woods, including mahogany, oak, and cherry.
The Dakota was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
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