Board approved: The Dakota

Inside the very exclusive co-op, inextricably linked to the death of the beloved Beatle John Lennon

Jan.January 09, 2017 12:00 PM

The fifth installment of LLNYC’s Board Approved series, which looks at the residents of Manhattan’s most prestigious apartment buildings, takes you inside the Dakota, one of the most celebrated and recognizable residential buildings in New York City. The New York Times even went as far as to dub the Dakota, “one of the most perfect apartment houses in the world” in 1884, the year the building was completed.

Unfortunately, today the Renaissance-style building, located at 1 West 72nd Street along Central Park West, is best known as the site of John Lennon’s assassination in 1980. Adding to its lore, the façade of the building was prominently featured in the Roman Polanski psychological horror film “Rosemary’s Baby.”

But its start was anything but macabre. The building’s developer, Edward Clark, and architect, Henry J. Hardenbergh, pioneered a new style of vertical living, a residential rental building for upper-middle-class New Yorkers. It combined hotel amenities with spacious, upscale living quarters for 19th-century lawyers, bankers and merchants. The Dakota was cutting-edge in other ways, too. It contained elevators and a powerful steam heating system that not only warmed the Dakota’s radiators, but also sold heat to buildings in a four-block radius.

In 1961, its tenants converted the rental into a cooperative and since then, numerous celebrities and artists have called it home, including Lauren Bacall, Boris Karloff, John Madden, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolph Nureyev, Judy Garland, Carly Simon and Carroll O’Connor. Co-op board members have been notoriously strict; Cher, Billy Joel, Madonna and Judd Apatow were all rejected.

Here’s a detailed look at the residents of the Dakota at 1 West 72nd Street:

Yoko Ono
Price paid: Undisclosed

Yoko Ono is a performance artist, philanthropist, peace activist and singer-songwriter who was married to John Lennon. The couple moved into the Dakota in 1973. Seven years later, the beloved Beatles musician was shot outside the building. Ono remained there after her husband’s death. In addition to two seventh-floor apartments, Ono and Lennon bought three other apartments.

Roberta Flack
Listing price: $8,900,000

Roberta Flack is a singer-songwriter. Her 1973 cover of “Killing Me Softly with His Song” became a No. 1 hit. Flack won a Grammy for the song, as well as for her 1972 version of
“The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.” Her apartment, a classic six that is currently listed for $7.5 million, is across the hall from Yoko Ono’s.

Maury Povich and Connie Chung
Price paid: Undisclosed

Maury Povich is a talk show host. Since 1991, he has hosted his namesake show, which features a segment in which the paternity of children is revealed on the air. His wife, Connie Chung, is a television news anchor. She was the first woman to co-anchor the “CBS Evening News.” She has also worked at ABC, NBC and CNN.

Alphonse Fletcher Jr. and Ellen Pao
Price paid: $2,630,000

Alphonse Fletcher Jr. is a hedge fund manager, philanthropist and former head of the Dakota’s co-op board. He owns two units there. Ellen Pao is a venture capitalist, and lawyer. In 2015, a jury ruled against Pao in a gender discrimination suit against her former employer, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers.

Sean Goodrich and Leslie Ann Finerman
Price paid: $11,500,000

Sean Goodrich is an investment fund manager. He is the co-founder of Aether Investment Partners, an investment management firm based in Denver. Leslie Ann Finerman’s career includes stints as an analyst at a hedge fund and at Morgan Stanley. Their four-bedroom home is currently on the market for $15 million.

Craig Hatkoff and Jane Rosenthal
Listing price: $39 million

Craig Hatkoff is a real estate financier-turned-philanthropist, children’s book author and video game producer. He co-founded the Tribeca Film Festival with his wife, Jane Rosenthal, a movie producer and fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. Their five-bedroom apartment is listed for $39 million.

Gregor and Cecilia Freund
Price paid: $3,900,000

Gregor Freund is an inventor, engineer, serial entrepreneur and holder of 15 patents. He is the chief executive of San Francisco-based Versal Group, a provider of software for teachers. He and his wife purchased the apartment of ex-NFL coach John Madden in 2013. The apartment has a separate entrance.

Harlan Coben and Anne Armstrong-Coben
Price paid: $2,400,000

Harlan Coben is a best-selling author of mysteries and thrillers that have been translated into over three dozen languages. He is working on his first solo movie script, based on his novel “Fool Me Once,” which will star Julia Roberts. Anne Armstrong-Coben is a pediatrician.

Bettina Caiola
Price paid: $4,600,000

Bettina Caiola is the widow of Benny Caiola, a real estate tycoon and collector of classic Ferraris and Lamborghinis who died in 2010. Benny Caiola started B & L Management, which owned thousands of apartments throughout New York City. Caiola began his career as a plasterer after emigrating from Italy at the age of 17.

Judy Hart Angelo
Price paid: $3,250,000

Judy Hart Angelo is a singer, songwriter and widow of financier John M. Angelo, who co-founded Angelo, Gordon & Co. He died in January 2016. She co-wrote “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” the opening theme song to television show “Cheers.”

Ydessa Hendeles
Price paid: $27,500,000

Ydessa Hendeles is a Canadian art collector, gallerist, philanthropist, artist and heiress to a Toronto-based real estate fortune assembled by her father. Her private gallery on King Street in Toronto showed contemporary art exhibitions from her own collection for over a decade before it closed in 2012.

Jay Goldsmith and Diane Goldsmith
Price paid: Undisclosed

Jay Goldsmith is an investor in distressed debt and the former president of the Dakota’s co-op board. He is the co-founder, with Harry Freund, of Balfour Investors, a merchant bank. Diane Goldsmith is a philanthropist. She co-manages the Goldsmith Family Charitable Foundation.

Rex Reed
Price paid: Undisclosed

Rex Reed is a film critic. He writes the column “On the Town with Rex Reed” for the New York Observer. He has written eight books, including his 1968 collection of celebrity profiles, “Do You Sleep in the Nude?” His profile of Ava Gardner was included in Tom Wolfe’s anthology “The New Journalism.”

Ronald and Cynthia Lewis Beck
Price paid: $21 million

Ronald Beck is the managing director of the hedge fund Oaktree Capital Management. He purchased the late actress Lauren Bacall’s apartment in the building last year with his wife, Cynthia Lewis Beck, an attorney.

Peter and Susan Nitze
Price paid: Undisclosed

Peter Nitze is a financier, heir to part of the Standard Oil fortune and a member of finance committee at the Dakota. His father, Paul Nitze, negotiated nuclear disarmament talks under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. His great-grandfather, Charles Pratt, co-founded Standard Oil and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Susan Nitze is a philanthropist.

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