It's not a monument. It's not a public landmark. It's a private apartment building just steps from Central Park with one of the most desirable addresses in town. For some, the Dakota is the creepy apartment building in Roman Polanski's chilling film Rosemary’s Baby. Polanski envisioned a Dakota where residents were all members of a devil-worshipping cult trying to get a young Mia Farrow pregnant with Satan's child. For others, the Dakota is the place where John Lennon lived and died. In a chilling real-life turn of events, Lennon was shot and killed across the street from his home at the Dakota on December 8, 1980. Candle-bearing fans gather yearly round the Imagine mosaic in nearby Strawberry Fields in Central Park to commemorate his death. The Dakota is also famous for being the home at one point or another of many other celebrities—Judy Garland, Yoko Ono, Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, Rex Reed, William Inge, and Connie Chung. When it was completed in 1884, this grand apartment building was located in an unfashionable and desolate district, which prompted New Yorkers to quip that it was as distant as the Dakota Territory. The name stuck even as the building’s fame and success spurred the area’s subsequent transformation into the populous Upper West Side. Designed by architect Henry J. Hardenbergh of Plaza Hotel fame, the nine-story Dakota still stands out among its posh neighbors. Detailed stonework, reliefs, balconies, gables, and even a Native American figure adorn the outer walls. Choice apartments offer to-die-for views of Central Park and encompass a central courtyard.
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