Lauren Bacall defined an era. The actress and singer, who was known for her sultry looks, distinctive voice, and timeless style was named the 20th greatest female star of Classic Hollywood Cinema by the American Film Institute.
You may recognize her as the face of film noir, with roles in To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Dark Passage and Key Largo alongside her husband Humphrey Bogart. Throughout her career, Bacall has won Tony Awards, Golden Globe Awards and Academy Award nominations.
Lauren Bacall’s $26 Million Central Park Apartment
It’s no surprise that with all of her success, the actress had an amazing home. In 2015, just a month shy of her 90th birthday, the legendary icon passed away and left behind her amazing Central Park apartment.
With the home on the market, we finally got a glimpse inside the $26 million stunner where she lived for the last 53 years of her life. Read on to see the lavish apartment.
The Most Coveted Real Estate In New York City
The apartments directly across from New York City’s Central Park are some of Manhattan’s most expensive real estate. Lauren Bacall’s mansion, which she called home for 53 years, went to auction last week at the price of $26 million. So, what the heck are you getting for $26 million?
Doesn’t that cost more than Taylor Swift’s mansion in Rhode Island? Yes; however, Bacall’s digs are located in the historical Dakota Building on the Upper West Side. With nine entire rooms, this apartment hardly feels like an apartment at all, but rather an entire house placed inside of the Dakota Building’s gorgeous architecture.
Nine Massive Rooms
Lauren Bacall’s apartment inside the Dakota Building (one of the most famous properties in NYC history) was gigantic, and the floor plan shows the sheer size of the rooms within. The master bedroom is a massive 22 feet wide and opens into a private study, bathroom and walk-in closet.
It also has a gorgeous balcony looking over Central Park. The kitchen is not your average NYC apartment kitchen. It’s not shoved into a corner. It’s actually an eat-in kitchen which opens up into a 24 foot by 19 foot dining room and a family room. Bacall’s home also includes a guest bedroom, a library and a gallery.
Bacall’s Dining Room, With French-Inspired Design
Bacall was a fan of French-inspired design. This is evident in her furniture choices, many of which are in the style of Louis XIII (you’ll see what just a pair of Louis XIII-style chairs sold for later).
Bacall’s dining room brings these French elements together. The color pallet is flawless, opting for rusty reds and deep blues which can be seen accented in the chair upholstery, rug and wall hanging. The wall hanging is actually the star of the dining room. The Bell Époque French poster by Jules Cheret sold for a whopping $7,000.
French Posters And Fine China In The Formal Dining Room
Like most of the rooms in her massive, nine-bedroom apartment, Lauren Bacall had an overall French theme to her formal dining room. In addition to the Bell Époque French poster which sold for $7,000 in auction, the actress had a number of French posters hanging on the dining room’s walls.
She paired these posters with expensive, highly collectible china, that instead of using she hung as art pieces next to the framed posters. This corner of Bacall’s dining room shows just how much of a collector she truly was, with decorative lamps and art-pieces topping the surface of every piece of furniture.
Unique George III Style Dresser Sold For $6,875
Though Bacall favored French design, she also included pieces from other countries and periods. Her antique George III oak Welsh dresser, which displayed her collection of fine china, was from the late 18th century.
Though the style is straight from the United Kingdom, George III pieces are actually an English interpretation of Rococo (in other words, they’re based on that classic, French style Bacall loves). Bacall’s dresser, which sold for $6,875, was made from oak, a unique choice for pieces from that time. George III style furniture typically uses Mahogany. Sometimes painted satinwood and giltwood would be used, but rarely oak.
The Pretty Pink Master Bedroom
Like the rest of her apartment, Bacall’s bedroom is dripping in prized pieces of artwork. Behind her bed is another gallery wall, undoubtedly worth a pretty penny. The master bedroom isn’t just something because of its furnishings; it also has a highly-coveted, unobstructed view of Central Park. Could this be the most expensive room in NYC real-estate? Maybe. Imagine a life where you sit in the bay windows of your mansion-sized apartment and look out on the peaceful, green Central Park. Imagine!
Bacall’s choice of color in her bedroom is also interesting considering most of her other rooms are blue, brown and white. Here she chose very feminine lavender and pink tones, which aren’t seen anywhere else in her apartment.
The Master Suite
Bacall liked to fill every inch of a room with antique furniture, art and collectibles. The master suite is the only place where something seemingly new is placed. Adjacent to the working fireplace, which is adorned by a number of collectible metal plates and figurines, is what appears to be a very modern lounge.
The lounge actually ties the room together quite nicely, making this room appear more cozy than cluttered (which is a fine line when you’re a longtime collector like Bacall). Behind the lounge is a bookshelf, filled again with knickknacks and books. Guests who are enjoying the fireplace can also relax with some reading.
More Gallery Walls In The Master Suite
The fireplace by the master suite is the perfect display case for Bacall’s collection of decorative metal plates and candle sticks. Next to the fireplace is yet another gallery wall with framed portraits of ships and floral designs. Bacall is not afraid to use accents of color.
Next to what appear to be two clown figurines is a bright blue decorative piece that really stands out among the wash of browns. The reason Bacall’s apartment can have so much art is because the walls are a whopping 13 feet high. This place is definitely catered to an art collector because there’s a lot of picture frame real estate.
Yellow Walls In The Guest Bedroom
Lauren Bacall went for an interesting choice in her guest bedroom – bright, cheerful, yellow walls. The pattern screams opulence whilst the color screams whimsical fun. Above the bed hangs a very expensive piece of artwork dating back to Spain in the 1920s. This piece, which depicts a woman holding a basket of fruit, was painted by Andrew Segovia and sold for a whopping $18,750 at auction.
Bacall kept her themes of robin’s egg blue in the guest bedroom. Though the walls are a cheerful shade of yellow, the bedspread and rug match her living room couches and walls. She also has a unique, tiered shelving piece resting in the room’s right corner and adding an interesting touch to the overall look.
A Palette Of Natural Blue And Robin’s Egg Blue
Bacall’s living room was quite formal, but she was known for her style. This is probably why she chose to paint the space a refreshing shade of robin’s egg blue, which brightens up the entire room and works wonderfully with the space’s natural light.
Throughout the room, there are blue accents that really tie her collection of vintage knick knacks together – everything from the statues on the fireplace mantle to the pattern on the comfy-looking couches. Bacall also collected animal accent pieces and had two Indian-inspired elephant statues set alongside a camel and crane statue.
A Baby Grand With Framed Figure Drawings
What’s a luxe New York City apartment without a baby grand piano? We don’t even want to think about how difficult it was to get that thing in there, but it’s absolutely gorgeous. The piano is by Mason & Hamlin, a premier New England-based piano company that was founded in 1854.
The piano sold for $6,875, just above the starting price for a new piano of that caliber. The original value was likely much, much more. Though Bacall was a great supporter of the arts, it didn’t look like she did much playing in her old age. The piano appears to be a more of a table for displaying her old family photos.
Carved Fireplaces, Crown Moldings, and Not Your Average Grandmother’s Couches
These couches look comfortable, but they’re not your average grandmother’s sofa. They’re Lauren Bacall’s and chosen to perfectly accent her living room’s wall color. Patterned couches are sometimes hard to pull off, but these actually ground the room. Since they’re white, they offset the dark wood of her gorgeously-carved fireplace and coffee table.
Bacall’s grand apartment actually has a whopping five working fireplaces – an increasingly rare sight, especially for a New York City apartment. Each is mantle is detailed with gorgeous ornate carvings. This particular fireplace is accented with a deer head above the mantle, a nod to her overall theme of wildlife.
Ornate French Style Mirrors And Antique Dressers In The Master Suite
It’s not just that Bacall’s apartment had nine whole rooms, it’s that the rooms are actually gigantic allowing her to have tons and tons of gorgeous antique furniture. In this room, an ornate French-style mirror rests on a Regence Provincial Walnut Commode. This mid-18th-century piece sold for $3,750.
The room also has an antique secretary desk which was crafted with French style. The Louis XV provincial bureau was crafted from walnut in the mid-to-late 18th century and sold for $5,000. Both of these pieces complement the wood floor.
Bacall Was A Collector
Bacall lived at the Dakota from when she was about 36 years old until she was 89. A lot happens when literally your entire life goes by, and throughout her many years, Bacall collected art and antiques. Bacall’s home is practically an art museum with gallery walls enclosing the main living space.
Nearly every spare inch of wall space in her living room was covered in framed art – from expensive paintings (some more modern than others) to photographs and prints. Not to mention, Bacall’s nine-room stunner also had a working fireplace, a rare sight for a New York City apartment.
Bacall’s Pelican Painting Sold For $173,000
Bacall’s art collection was worth even more than her furniture. This original print of American White Pelican by James Audubon sold for $173,000. Audubon was an ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He gravitated towards painting birds in their natural habitats and American White Pelican truly showcases his niche.
Audubon’s most major work is a color-plate book called The Birds of America (1827-1839) which is one of the first ornithological works ever completed. His goal was to paint one page each day and he massively succeeded. Audubon identified 25 new species of birds in his anthology – who says art and science can’t be one?
Ultra-Chic Louis Vuitton Luggage
Louis Vuitton luggage is a must-have for celebrities today and even celebrities of yesteryear. The company founded in 1854 and has been purveyors of luxury style since then. With Lauren Bacall’s classic, timeless style, it’s no surprise that she had a set of monogrammed Louis Vuitton luggage.
In modern times, you may see celebs like Kim Kardashian (and the whole Kardashian-clan) toting around the canvas suitcases. A single duffle can set you back nearly two grand, but Bacall’s is vintage, which means it’s exceedingly rare and uber-expensive. Bacall’s collection of Louis Vuitton luggage sold for a very steep $37,500.
Lauren Bacall’s Director’s Chair
Lauren Bacall’s apartment isn’t just filled with art and antiques; it also has pieces of Hollywood history. This chair is the actress’ personal director’s chair, which many would consider priceless, though it sold for $4,750 in the auction.
Before the actress was Lauren Bacall, she was Betty Joan Perske. The second she changed her name and debuted in To Have and Have Not, she began a long legacy of Hollywood stardom. From acting alongside Marilyn Monroe to her final role as a voice actress in the 12th season of Family Guy, Bacall was a star and a hard worker. The actress worked up until the very last year of her life when she tragically died from a stroke.
Lauren Bacall filled her home with amazing works of art, including three bronze sculptures that reportedly fetched more than $30,000 when they were auctioned after her death.
The three sculptures pictured above were created by sculptor Robert Graham, who was famous for designing the entrance gates for the 1984 Olympics. The sculptor was also married to actress Anjelica Houston, which is how he and Bacall met. the two remained friends for many years, and Bacall fell in love with his portrayal of the female form. Bacall purchased the three bronze sculptures from Graham which depicted naked women in natural poses. The art remained in Bacall’s foyer for years and she playing referred to them as “her girls.”
Raw Sketches Beautifully Framed
In one of her last interviews, Lauren Bacall sat down with Vanity Fair and discussed her impressive career and how her New York City apartment had become a “map of memories” of times passed.
Lauren Bacall owned artwork by numerous renowned artists, painters, sculptors and more. Amongst her personal collection included works by John James Audubon, Max Ernst, David Hockney, Jim Dine, Henry Moore and many more.
Divine Wood Furnishings
The unique wood furnishings in her apartment, both decorative and functional, are one of the themes throughout the rooms. The interior of the New York City apartment wasn’t flashy and glamorous, as many might expect of a Hollywood star.
Instead, the hand-carved wooden benches, dressers, and bureaus provide a sense of coziness and the feeling that the apartment is lived in and loved, not just staged and to be admired from afar.
Bacall’s Antique Louis XIII Walnut Fauteuils Sold For $1,875
We don’t often think about dropping nearly two grand on a couple of chairs unless you’re in the world of antiques. Lauren Bacall’s antique Louis XIII-style chairs were in excellent condition, and they really made a great addition to her already stunning home. The little bits of blue stitching on the upholstery really complimented her Robin’s egg walls.
The pair of these chairs sold for $1,875, and are what some consider the top tier of French design. Louis XIII furniture featured veneer turned wood and moldings. It always leaned towards the architectural and walnut was a commonly used wood (along with ebony, oak, pear wood and pine).
Sweeping Views Of Central Park
In New York City, real estate is drastically increased if you have an enviable view. And there are few views more coveted than beautiful Central Park. Lauren Bacall’s apartment has approximately 100 feet of Central Park frontage. This means nearly half of the apartment has a breathtaking view of the serene park.
In a 1978 issue of French Vogue, Lauren Bacall said of her apartment, “Outside that window lies Central Park; my relief from the city, an important reason to live there.”
The exterior of Bacall’s apartment building stood tall on the corner of Central Park West and West 72nd Street. While traffic flows by the grand building, it stands in place, holding its history, preserved and poignant.
Overlooking Central Park, this building is one of the beautiful things about New York City, as it’s full of history, icons, and the essence of possibility and fulfilling dreams. The value of the building has grown to enormous proportions, and it’s easy to see why.
Roses Adorned Her Gate A Day After She Passed
Lauren Bacall passed away on August 12, 2014 at her Dakota apartment where she lived for more than 50 years. According to her son, Bacall passed away after suffering a massive stroke. She was just five weeks shy of her 90th birthday. Upon hearing of her passing, fans decorated the iron gate outside of her apartment with roses to pay their respects.
Over the weeks following her death, fans from all over the country visit her former apartment, leaving gifts and paying respect to one of the last actresses from the Golden Age.
Lauren Bacall Hollywood Walk Of Fame
On February 8, 1960, Lauren Bacall was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame. Her star can be found at 1724 Vine Street. When she passed away in August of 2014, fans adorned her star with flowers, stuffed animals, and even unlit cigarettes.
The grieving fans of one of Hollywood’s Golden Era actresses were completely saddened to hear the news of her passing and flocked to her star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame to honor her.
Lauren Bacall’s Interview With Vanity Fair
In 2011, Matt Trynauer interviewed Lauren Bacall for Vanity Fair. It was one of the last interviews she would ever give and she did so in her Dakota apartment. Bacall revealed intimate details of her life as one of the last-remaining actresses of The Golden Age.
In her honest interview, she spoke candidly about the effect Humphrey Bogart’s fame had on her and their children. She also revealed other little-known secrets about her personal life. Pictured are Bacall and Bogard in 1951.
Lauren Was Almost Engaged To Frank Sinatra
In recent interviews, Lauren Bacall spoke candidly about her almost-engagement to Frank Sinatra. After Humphrey Bogart passed away, Bacall quickly got into a relationship with famous singer and actor. Their whirlwind romance led to Sinatra proposing to Bacall, but when rumors of the engagement were leaked to the press, the singer became distressed and called off the engagement.
In Bacall’s memoir, she detailed the heartbreaking event, saying, “It began just weeks after the death of my husband, Humphrey Bogart, in 1957. At such an awful time for me, there was no way I could be thinking straight. Even then it might have worked if Frank has been more sure of himself…but he wasn’t.”
Lauren Bacall And Jason Robards Were Denied A Marriage License
Following her relationship with Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall began dating American stage, film and television actor Jason Robards…but the two encountered numerous issues when they tried to get married. The couple originally traveled to Austria to wed but were refused a marriage license.
They set out to Las Vegas to tie the knot, but again, were refused a marriage license. The couple was finally able to marry after traveling to Ensenada, Mexico in 1961. They had one child together before divorcing in 1969.
She Loved Boxers
Bacall and Bogart received a Boxer as a wedding gift, and they completely fell in love with the breed of dog. Bacall recalls, “We named him Harvey, after the invisible rabbit. He was really smart.
He knew he wasn’t allowed to get on the furniture so he would only put two paws on at a time, and he would sit between us if we had a fight.” While not everyone would be warm to the idea of receiving a dog as a wedding gift, it appeared the Harvey was the perfect fit for their home.
And Then There Were Three…
Soon Lauren had three boxers in the home. All three of the dogs, Harvey, George, and Baby, got along well. Here we see the doting parents reading a book to their son Stephen with Harvey seated at their feet.
When Harvey passed, Lauren was very sad. “I went to see him at the vet’s and said goodbye. Five minutes after I got home, I was told that after I left, Harvey had eaten his dinner and died.” It was good that she had the other two dogs to keep her company.
Her Dogs Were Never Far Away
When Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart were married in 1945, she was just 19 years old while he was 45. This age gap prompted many to wonder what the two could possibly have in common. Their most common response? Dogs.
Both Bacall and Bogart were crazy about dogs, having each grown up with a variety of pups. After marrying, the couple received a Boxer as a wedding gift, named Harvey. After her husband’s passing, Bacall adopted a Cocker Spaniel, who was said to seldom leave the actress’s side.
The estate auction of Lauren Bacall’s belongings was held in March of 2015. A few days prior to the auction, photographers and videographers began documenting all that filled the beautiful apartment.
Anyone who was lucky enough to purchase a possession of the home was certainly happy to have a piece of history. Those visiting were very respectful of the late icon’s property and beloved art and pieces she collected over her lifetime. Stepping into the apartment one could feel a sense of history and sophistication.
Although Bacall had an extensive career in her own right, many people gravitated towards her work with her late husband Humphrey Bogart. So it’s not surprising that amongst Lauren Bacall’s eclectic art collection was this statue of “Bogie.” Created by an unknown artist, the bronze statue depicts Bogart as Rick Blaine from Casablanca, which was released in 1942. In the sculpture, Bogart is standing atop of a film reel. Although there is a small German notation, it is still unclear who created the work of art.
The sculpture was just one of the many pieces auctioned off after Bacall’s death. It sold for an undisclosed amount but was valued at $800.
Aaron Shikler Sketch Of Lauren Bacall
It’s no secret that Lauren Bacall loved art, but in this piece by artist Aaron Shikler, she was the inspiration. Shikler is famously known for his official White House portraits of John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacquline Kennedy, but Shilker was also popular amongst many elite social groups. As a result, he was often commissioned to do portraits of celebrities.
Shikler created the sketch above of Bacall, which was estimated at upwards of $5,000 when it was listed for auction. Shikler also did portraits of Bacall’s children, but her children kept those for their personal collections.
Her Turkish Carpet Sold For $2,250
Lauren Bacall’s collection of vintage home-wares didn’t go cheaply. Despite the very used condition, it was in, her Turkish carpet still sold at auction for $2,250. Turkish carpets are always pretty lux and have a storied history – from featuring dragons and phoenixes as common in Chinese design to ornate, geometric patterns.
There’s no one culture that can claim these carpets (despite the name) as they are actually derived from the multi-ethnic, multi-religious traditions of the former Ottoman Empire, who controlled a geographic region of Asia minor. These carpets have been found everywhere from Siberia to Egypt to Transylvania.
32 Lots Of Bacall’s Jewelry Was Sold For More Than $500,000 At Auction
Bonham’s was responsible for Lauren Bacall’s estate after her death, including the late starlet’s massive jewelry collection. There were reportedly 32 lots of jewelry alone up for bid at the auction, which drew the interest of people from all over the world. The auction lasted a record-breaking 20 hours, over the span of two days and fetched an astounding $503,625 for the jewelry alone—well over the estimated value.
While the jewelry collection did garner more than estimated, Susan Abeles, Bonham director of US Jewelry said, “The estimates were regular market values. It’s impossible to calculate the value of provenance. Single owner high profile sales with glamour always produce unpredictable results—this was no exception.”
A Pair Of Earrings Sold For $52,500
One of the most valuable pieces of Lauren Bacall’s jewelry was this pair of gem set and 18-karat gold ear clips designed by Montures Schlumberger in France. Each ear clip was specially designed as a gold latticework plaque and emblazoned with breathtaking emeralds, sapphires, and amethysts.
Lauren Bacall famously wore the ear clips when she accepted her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film, The Mirror Has Two Faces. The ear clips were estimated at $12,000 for the pair but sold for $52,500.
Lauren Bacall’s Personalized Tiffany & Co. Necklace
Amongst Lauren Bacall’s 32 lots of jewelry that was up for bid at auction was a gold Tiffany & Co. necklace. When the auctioneers first found the necklace, they noticed individual letters on each of the hearts, but couldn’t figure out what the necklace said. They handed the piece of jewelry over to Bonham’s jewelry department and were able to crack the code. The necklace reads, “To my own beautiful star from her proud director Ron.”
While it is not confirmed, many believe the necklace was a gift from Ron Field. Field was Bacall’s director in the 1970 musical, “Applause,” which won Field and Bacall Tony Awards. The necklace was estimated to sell for $9,000 but sold for more than $52,500.
Lauren Bacall’s Most Valuable Piece Of Jewelry
Susan Abeles, who heads the jewelry department for Bonhams said, “Ms. Bacall’s style was unmistakably her own—and it continues to influence design and fashion to this day. Her jewelry collection represents a woman who knew her own style—one who wore the jewelry rather than the jewelry wearing her.”
Perhaps the most exquisite piece of jewelry is the bracelet pictured above. Designed by French designer Jean Schlumberger, the 18-karat gold bracelet features a series of blue paillone enamel panels with incredible polished gold bar detail. This bracelet was one of the most anticipated items by collectors, and although it sold for an undisclosed amount, the bracelet was estimated at $30,000.
Aunt to popular actor George Clooney, Rosemary was an American singer and actress. She first became popular in the 1950’s with the song “Come On-a My House” as well as a slew of other successful hits.
Although she had great success in the 1950’s as a jazz singer, her career began to falter in the 1960’s but had a revival in 1977 when her White Christmas co-star Bing Crosby asked him to appear with her at a show to mark his 50th anniversary in show business. After that, she kept recording up until her death in 2002.
José Ferrer was an actor as well as theatre and film director. To grasp the weight of his successes, he was the first Puerto-Rican born actor as well as the first Hispanic actor to win an Academy Award in 1950. On top of winning an Oscar, he won a Tony Award in 1952, as well as the Distinguished Dramatic Actor Award the same year.
He also went on to win the Outstanding Directors Award for his directing skills in numerous plays. In 1981 was he inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame, and in 1985 received the National Medal of Arts from President Ronald Reagan. there has even been a US Postal Service stamp dedicated in his honor. Ferrer is a perfect example of the breed of people that have resided in the Dakota Apartments.
Roberta Flack is a singer that is best known for her classic and timeless singles such as “The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face”, “Killing Me Softly With His Song”, “Feel Like Making Love”, “Where Is the Love” and many others. She was the first and still is the only solo artist to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year two consecutive times.
Flack lived in the Dakota building for about 40 years and first put her apartment up for sale in 2015 for an unrealistic asking price of $9.5 million. However, now, in 2018, she received $5.8 million for her 2,000 square foot space which includes 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms.
Alphonse “Buddy” Fletcher
Buddy Fletcher is the former hedge fund manager and founder of the Fletcher Foundation. Buddy began his career at Bear Streams and later worked at Kidder, Peabody & Co. where he later sued Kidder Peabody for racial discrimination. Although his discrimination claims were dismissed, he eventually won a claim of $1.2 million.
Currently, he is now in a lawsuit with The Dakota Apartments where he lived since 1992. in 2011, he filed a lawsuit against The Dakota for defamation and unlawful discrimination. He was rejected from buying another apartment in 2010 due to his financial circumstances so he filed a lawsuit. The fight continues today.
Charles Henri Ford
Charles Ford was a poet, novelist, diarist, photographer, and collage artist. he has dozens of collections of poetry, as well as has had his art exhibited all over the world. He was also an editor of the Surrealist magazine View and director of experimental films.
He was associated with artists and visionaries such as Gertrude Stein, Salvador Dali, Orson Wells, E.E Cummings, and more. His work on the View attracted artists such as Pablo Picasso, Albert Camus, Alexander Calder and more to contribute their skills, professions, and art to the magazine. In his final years, he lived with his sister Ruth Ford in The Dakota although in separate apartments.
Judy Garland was an American actress and singer. originally known for her contralto vocals, she layer began to perform in vaudeville with her two sisters. She went on to make over a dozen movies with MGM and her most well-known being The Wizard of Oz. She won numerous throughout her career and in 1999, the American Film Institute placed her among the 10 greatest female stars in American cinema.
Recently, a Dakota apartment listed for $10 million sold after nearly two years on the market. Although it was known to be home to numerous famous residents over the decades, it has been rumored to be the exact apartment that Judy Garland once called home.
Probably one of the most well-known residents of the building was John Lennon. he was a singer, songwriter, activist, and co-founder of the iconic band the Beatles. He has been regarded as one of the greatest musicians of all time and during the Nixon administration, some of his songs were adopted by the anti-war movement and the counterculture for the Vietnam War.
He has twice been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While living at The Dakota in December 1980, he was shot and killed in the archway of the building. The Dakota has since become a tourist attraction for people to come and pay their respects to the memory and legacy of John Lennon.
John Madden is a former broadcaster and coach for the NFL. He won a Superbowl as coach of the Oakland Raiders. After he retired from coaching, he became a well-known color commentator for NFL telecasts and in 2006 was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
What most people know him now is his long-running series of Madden NFL video games that have been in production from 1988 until present. He lived in The Dakota starting 1985 after buying it from Gilda Radner. He purchased the 2 bedrooms and 2.5 baths with a private entrance to the courtyard for $625,000 and sold it in 2013 for $3.9 million.
Albert Maysles was a documentary filmmaker best known for working with his brother David as a team. They are recognized mostly for making documentaries in a direct cinema style. Their best-known works include Salesman, Gimme Shelter, and Grey Gardens. Albert Maysles and his wife Gillian lived in the Dakota for 35 years.
However, back in 2005, he sold his property there when he decided to buy a pair of Harlem brownstones. he was getting disappointed that the creative energy and class of the building was fading away and sold the apartment for $3.5 million to a guy who made some renovations and put it back on the market for $7.6 million.
Rosie O’Donnell is a plethora of different things. She’s an actress, an author, a television personality, editor, blogger, LGBT activist, and definitely a household name. She hosted the Rosie O’Donnell show which went on to win numerous Emmy’s, she’s established foundations, and even did the voice of Terk in Disney’s Tarzan.
She is also known for coming out regarding her sexual orientation to the public in a very brash yet confident way which spurred her attention toward gay adoption issues. She’s had an incredibly successful and now lives with her daughter Dakota after her ex-husband’s death.
Yoko Ono is John Lennon’s wife that moved in with him into the Dakota Apartments in 1973. Aside from being Lennon’s wife, she was a multimedia artist, singer, songwriter, and peace activist as well. She has continued to honor Lennon’s legacy by funding the construction and maintenance of the Strawberry Fields memorial in Central Park, directly across from the Dakota Apartments.
She has even continued to stay and live in the building even after Lennon’s death. According to the New York Post’s Page Six, she once saw her husband’s ghost sitting at his white piano in their apartment and told her, “It’s okay, I’m still with you”.
Maurice Richard “Maury” Povich
Maury Povich is a television personality best known for his tabloid talk show Maury. Since 1991, he has hosted his own show which features individuals suffering from domestic issues that Maury attempts to settle on the show. The show has been in syndication for years.
He currently lives in the Dakota Apartments with his wife Connie Chung who is a television news anchor. She was the first-ever woman to co-anchor the CBS evening news. He is one of the few that has managed to hold onto his property in the building since he first moved in.
Gilda Radner is a comedian, actress, as well as one of the seven original cast members of the hit NBC sketch comedy Saturday Night Live. She was best known for her overly-aggressive and obnoxious parodies of television advice specialists and news anchors.
She moved to the Dakota Apartments in 1979 and paid $150,000. She lived there until she eventually sold her apartment to John Madden for $625,000 which he then sold for $3.9 million. Unfortunately, in 1989, she passed away from ovarian cancer, yet has been immortalized by the still running SNL.
Recently Denying Celebrities
In recent years, numerous celebrities have been turned away from purchasing a residency at the Dakota Apartments. So far, Billy Joel, Gene Simmons, Madonna, Alex Rodriguez, Carly Simon, Antonio Banderas, and Cher have all been denied. As of recent, the co-op board has been particularly picky about whose applications are accepted which is now an incredibly long and detailed process.
This is also one of the issues that led to Buddy Fletcher filing a lawsuit against the co-op board in 2011. There are numerous reasons why this has been occurring. Partially it is because of some applicants’ financial situations and another is because current residents don’t want the image of the building to change. Keep reading to learn about some cool history and secrets about the Dakota Apartments!
Origin Of The Name
The famous Dakota Apartments got its unusual name not because “it’s far out in the Dakotas” in regard to its distance from some parts of Manhattan. In a meeting of a neighborhood group in 1880, before construction started, the building developer Edward Clark had proposed that the surrounding streets should be named after state names.
However, his idea was shot down by the rest of those attending the meeting, so he named his building based off of his original idea. And if you look close, on the southern facade, there is a carving of what could be understood as a Dakota Indian.
Introduction Of Elevators
For the debut building’s debut in 1884, the developer Clark and architect Hardenbergh made sure that the Dakota had all of the new and cutting-edge technology which included electricity and elevators.
This was then one of the very first buildings to have elevators. The elevators were worked by women in black dresses with white lace trim well into the 20th century. Although today the mere thought of no elevators horrifies the building’s current residents, at its opening, the introduction of elevators was a big deal.
From Sewing Machines To Development
Edward Clark, who was the developer and visionary behind what would become the Dakota Apartments as we know it today was originally a lawyer. During his time as a lawyer, he met and became partners with Isaac Merritt Singer, a small-time inventor. So, in exchange for ownership of a few of Singer’s various inventions, Clark helped him out with legal advice and helped him achieve patents on some of his products.
One of these was Singer’s sewing machine and he eventually became the co-founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. He then used the skills he learned in business to help open the Dakota years later.
Not Everyone Was Thrilled With The Idea
When Clark first started discussing his dreams and visions for his new apartment building, his ideas weren’t seen as revolutionary. The idea of apartment-style living was a relatively new concept in New York City, so people were suspicious of the idea.
This is so because apartments sounded a lot like a hotel which is described in the book The Dakota: A History of the World’s Best-Known Apartment Building as “rather disreputable places, often connected with a tavern or in…They served a useful purpose in the 18th and early 19th Centuries, but ‘nice’ people wouldn’t choose to live in such places.” Turns out Clark was just ahead of his time.
The Unknown Portraits
Although there is a lot of ornamentation and decoration on the exterior of the building, there is some mystery behind it. On the south facade, there is the date 1881 which is assumed to be the date construction began as well as the possibly Dakota Indian. However, there are two circular portraits over the entrance at 72nd Street and another two above an arch on the Central Park West Side.
There is no evidence as to whom these individuals may be and none of them look like either Clark the developer or Hardenberg the architect. It is possible that the two above the main entrance may very well be Merritt Singer and his wife, but there other two are totally unknown.