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The Dakota from Central Park West (Sotheby's International Realty) The Dakota from Central Park West (Sotheby's International Realty)

There are many prestigious buildings in New York -- from the River House and its notoriously strict co-op board, to the relative newcomer 15 Central Park West and its bevy of stars and business tycoons. But only one New York building occupies an almost mythical presence, steeped in old-world glamour mixed with real-life tragedy, and a dash of Hollywood pizazz for good measure.

Built between 1880 and 1884, The Dakota, at 1 West 72nd Street, is best known as the place where John Lennon was tragically killed as he returned home with wife Yoko Ono. This, coupled with the Dakota's starring role in Roman Polanski's acclaimed horror film, "Rosemary's Baby," has conferred upon the building an elite stature that transcends its brick-and-mortar attributes.

From the very beginning, the Dakota attracted a large number of residents in the arts world. The piano-making Steinways were among the Dakota's first residents, followed by the likes of composer Peter Tchaikovsky and poet/writer Charles Henri Ford. Hollywood's Golden Age brought many new famous faces to Upper West Side landmark, with actors such as Boris Karloff, Lillian Gish, Judy Garland and Lauren Bacall taking up residence.

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The Dakota, 1 West 72nd Street
The Dakota, 1 West 72nd Street Central Park West

Nowadays, Hollywood stardom alone won't guarantee entry into this elite club, as singer and actress Cher discovered when she failed to pass muster with the Dakota's co-op board. At the very least, Griffith and Banderas are in good company. Other famous Dakota rejects include: Madonna, Carly Simon, Billy Joel, Cher, Judd Apatow, Alex Rodriguez and Tea Leoni.

The-Dakota-043 The Dakota #66 is a 4-bedroom listed for $12.5M (Sotheby's International Realty)
The Dakota Floorplan of The Dakota #66

So, what has kept the celebrities flocking to the Dakota for more than a century?

Designed by Henry Janeway Hardenbergh, who would later design the Plaza Hotel, the nine-story Dakota strikes an imposing, fortress-like presence even among Central Park West's other grand and opulent buildings. From its distinctive exterior features, including high gables, terracotta spandrels, and balconies, to its spacious courtyard, and interior layouts -- no two alike -- the Dakota is a marvel on many levels. In fact, when the Dakota opened in 1884, it became a modern icon, with luxurious and pioneering amenities such as in-house power plant; hand-carved oak ceilings and flooring inlaid with marble, mahogany, oak and cherry; lower-level dining hall with dumbwaiters leading to apartment kitchens, 2-to 3-1/2-foot thick walls; and hand-carved marble mantels -- a different one in each apartment.

a view of the dakota still under construction A historic view of The Dakota still under construction as seen from Central Park
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The-Dakota-0004 Vintage photo of ice skaters on the Lake at Central Park with The Dakota behind
The passage of time has only increased The Dakota's star power. Later-day Dakota residents have included luminaries from the arts, business, and publishing -- including Leonard Bernstein, Roberta Flack, Jason Robards, Jack Palance, Harlan Coben, Connie Chung and Maury Povich. Over the years, several apartments have even moved from celebrity to celebrity. Among them, a two-bedroom apartment owned by football coach and commentator John Madden, who bought his apartment from the late "Saturday Night Live" star Gilda Radner. And when John Lennon and Yoko Ono first arrived at the Dakota, they sublet and, later, purchased an apartment from "Dirty Dozen" actor Robert Ryan. The building's most famous couple went on to purchase four additional units in the building.


1-West-72nd-Street-06 The Dakota, #32 is a three-bedroom listed for $12.5 million (Stribling)
Central-park-043 The view of Central Park from the available unit #32 (Stribling)

It's not just The Dakota's roster of accomplished residents that sets it apart from other exclusive Upper West Side addresses. The building consistently commands some of the highest sales along this coveted thoroughfare. Since 2008, among the trophy co-op buildings located along Central Park West, the Dakota holds the sixth-highest per-unit average -- $7,187,431 -- with only 22 sales within that 10-year span.

For the whole of the Central Park West neighborhood, the average sale price of a co-op apartment in 2017 was $2,474,795.

Turnover at the 103-unit Dakota is also somewhat unusual, with only four deals completed in the last three years. Currently, there are four apartments available in the building ranging from a 730 square foot one bedroom priced at $1.295M up to a gracious (and colorful) four-bedroom priced at $12.5M.

The-Dakota-03 The Dakota #15 for $5.5M (Corcoran)
The-Dakota-99954 Google Earth aerial showing location of The Dakota with Central Park at its doorstep (CityRealty)
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