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Life at the Dakota

New York's Most Unusual Address
Narrated by: LJ Ganser
Length: 9 hrs and 15 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A history of the Manhattan building and its famous tenants, from Lauren Bacall to John Lennon, by the New York Times best-selling author of Our Crowd.  

When Singer sewing machine tycoon Edward Clark built a luxury apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in the late 1800s, it was derisively dubbed “the Dakota” for being as far from the center of the downtown action as its namesake territory on the nation’s western frontier. Despite its remote location, the quirky German Renaissance-style castle, with its intricate façade, peculiar interior design, and gargoyle guardians peering down on Central Park, was an immediate hit, particularly among the city’s well-heeled intellectuals and artists.   

Over the next century it would become home to an eclectic cast of celebrity residents - including Boris Karloff, Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, singer Roberta Flack (the Dakota’s first African-American resident), and John Lennon and Yoko Ono - who were charmed by its labyrinthine interior and secret passageways, its mysterious past, and its ghosts. Stephen Birmingham, author of the New York society classic Our Crowd, has written an engrossing history of the first hundred years of one of the most storied residential addresses in Manhattan and the legendary lives lived within its walls.

©1979 Stephen Birmingham (P)2019 Audible, Inc.

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Written 40 years ago

Interesting history of an iconic NYC building and it’s inhabitants from conception until the late 70s. Unfortunately, it ends just a couple of years before the Lennon assassination, an event most closely associated with the building by modern readers.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating Story - Social and Dwelling History

I lived a few blocks from this building in N.Y. and remember the night John Lennon was shot. I walked by this building almost every day and could not even remember what it looked like when I bought this book. An in-depth look into the early history of N.Y. dwellings and viewpoints of the neighborhoods. If you are involved with Real Estate at all this will be a very interesting book for you. If you enjoy lots of stories about real people you will take a lot of pleasure from this book. Mast story telling. No matter what your interests are if you enjoy good stories you will like this book a lot. I will definitely be moving on to read his other books.