The Dakota Building


The Dakota Building in New York City is home to some of the most interesting and saddest tales. Marking the last moments of John Lennon’s life, and obtaining large numbers of well-known names, The Dakota has stood for almost 130 years now. First constructed in 1884, The Dakota was and still is used as an apartment building for patrons of Manhattan. It is unknown exactly why the name Dakota was chosen, but many believe it was related to designer Edward Clark’s fascination with names of the new western states and territories.

Besides it’s tragic relation to Lennon’s death, The Dakota has had many other a-list names as tenants. Even though The Dakota is located in the Upper West Side of today’s Manhattan, it was once considered to be part of a lower-end neighborhood in the 1800s. In fact, The Dakota was built to retain more prominent tenants. Some remarkable tenant names include, Judy Garland, James Madden, Connie Chung, John Lennon and Leonard Bernstein.

The Dakota is also known for its grand floor plan and architectural features. So well-known for these things, the building is often referred to in many stories and films for locational purposes. One of the best known viewings of The Dakota building in any film is its role in Roman Polanski’s Rosemary’s Baby in 1968. It served as the location for the main character’s dwelling within the film. A year later, in 1969, The Dakota was designated as a New York City Landmark.

It was in 1980 that the Dakota Building stood as the location of a very dark moment in history. December 8th, 1980, Mark David Chapman murdered John Lennon at the entrance to the building across Central Park West. Since his demise, his wife and widow, Yoko Ono, has remained a tenant of several apartments and designated a memorial in Central Park known as Strawberry Fields and holds a candle vigil in Lennon’s honor every year from her apartment window.

While walking through Manhattan with your Licensed Tour Guide, be sure to pay tribute to some of the legends that have risen through the Dakota as well as those who have fallen. You can locate the Dakota on the New York See It All! Premium Tour and The New York See It All Tour! Book yours today!