Saturday, June 12, 2010


I just finished this 23 x 30 pen and ink drawing of New York City's
most legendary apartment building, the Dakota.

With an impressive, arched entrance on 72nd Street with sentry box flanked by large planters, the buff-colored building is surrounded by a dramatic low cast-iron fence in front of a "dry moat." The four corners of the courtyard, which has a fountain, lead to separate lobbies and passenger elevators.
When it was built in 1884, it towered over the Upper West Side and was an immediate success with all its apartments rented on opening day. Its developer, Edward Severin Clark, an heir to a sewing machine fortune, died two years before it opened. The building's name allegedly reflected the fact that the building was so far removed from the city's established luxury residential areas that it might as well be in the Dakota territory. Its 72nd Street façade, indeed, has an image of a Native American carved on its façade.
Designed by Henry J. Hardenbergh, who would later design the Plaza Hotel, this fortress-like building had tennis courts and a croquet field on the adjoining 175-foot-long lot on West 72nd Street that was later developed after World War II as a separate apartment building.
The 93-unit building's Victorian and Gothic architectural details and ambiance were featured in the popular spooky movie, "Rosemary's Baby," but it is famed more now for its spectacular apartments and famous residents. There is a subway stop at the corner.