early New York City history - resources needed

Started by Erica "the Disconnectrix" Howton on Saturday, October 16, 2010


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Showing 1-30 of 31 posts
10/16/2010 at 11:02 PM

Private User

I have a specific request for you, if you will accept the mission.

I would like to find history, building schematics, maps, etc. for a famous New York apartment building named "The Dakota." It is where John Lennon lived.

NYPL is one resource but there should also be history on line of the building, which has had (and continues to have) many interesting people living there. You might even be able to find a list of some of those people and it would make an interesting "building / people" project.

10/16/2010 at 11:06 PM

Here is the site for NYC tax maps, past and present. I think it's not Mac friendly though: I'm having trouble getting into the FAQ.


If anyone wants to give this a shot, see what they got?

Private User
10/17/2010 at 4:12 AM

Erica, I will see what I can find.

<private> Baldwin
10/17/2010 at 4:29 AM


Suggest you research the architect..

Are you casing the joint??

<private> Baldwin
10/17/2010 at 4:41 AM
Private User
10/17/2010 at 5:14 AM

Rather than copy the 25+ references, I will direct you to them on Wikipedia for The Dakota.. Some of the books mentioned are on Google Books.

I checked the NY maps link you sent and I was able to open it. It has both current and historical tax maps. When I opened an old tax map and entered a block number (a number on the deed of my husband';s grandfather's farm which didn't lead to that property), I got a block number on a rectangle with street names around it. If you have more specific information, I can see what I can find for a particular property.

Private User
10/17/2010 at 5:17 AM

Fay found the same Wikipedia reference that I did.

10/17/2010 at 5:34 AM

Keep it coming, people!

My mother went to parties in the 1960s in this building hosted by a Countess Pina (?) something. She met all kinds of people there -- Eurotrash, film people, stage people ... never met John Lennon and Yoko Ono, though.

I'm also pretty sure there's a book (at least one) about the Dakota. Did anyone check google books or http://worldcat.org ?

10/17/2010 at 5:36 AM

Ah, the architect should definitely be in the Project! Also the building owners in the past (I believe it's cooperative now and has been for a long time).

Also, the original farm it was built on!

10/17/2010 at 5:40 AM


Oh - I had forgotten that "Rosemary's Baby" was filmed there.

Here are some names to find profiles on geni that I can make MPs and load to the Project I'll start:

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.

10/17/2010 at 5:43 AM

Here's the book I was thinking of, the writer is really great:


10/17/2010 at 6:33 AM

Amazon had the book for a penny plus shipping, so I treated myself. I'm excited.

10/17/2010 at 10:21 AM

The Dakota? I thought you were talking early New York City history. One of my immigrant relatives was a constable type on Staten Island, both when it was New York and New Amsterdam. If they are still cutting down trees and farming on Manhattan Island, that's early New York City to me.

Gedeon "La Plante" Merlet

Private User
10/17/2010 at 10:40 AM
Private User
10/17/2010 at 10:44 AM

Lol, oops sorry. I see you wanted specific info about the Dakota. I was skimming.

10/17/2010 at 11:12 AM

Just created a profile for Henry Janeway Hardenbergh.

Henry Janeway Hardenbergh

10/17/2010 at 12:05 PM

Just created a profile for devloper of the Dakota, and co-founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, Edward Cabot Clark

Private User
10/17/2010 at 12:20 PM

My husband's great uncle Robert A. Slattery Jr. was NYPD who enlisted in WWI. He was the first NYC policeman killed in the war, in the Battle of Meheil, France. Slattery Park in the Bronx is named in his honor. Anyone familiar with the park and its location? (I live in Texas).
My father-in-law was also NYPD. He used to work in Fort Apache the Bronx, if you have ever seen the Paul Newman? movie. My husband wears his ring with badge number.
His great-grandfather was a stone cutter who helped carve those beautiful decorations on the buildings of NYC. He was an immigrant from Germany.

10/18/2010 at 12:07 AM

Nice work, Peter!

Sounds like you're up for a Dakota Project? I just think it would be nice to work in a little more current time for once :)

10/18/2010 at 12:13 AM

Not to mention the 1980 historical event ...

Yoko Ono
John Lennon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_David_Chapman doesn't seem to have a Geni profile ....

10/18/2010 at 11:15 AM

This is very interesting! What's up with John and Yoko, though--they should definitely be made Master Profiles so they can go up in the Celebrities section!

10/18/2010 at 11:29 AM

I haven't encroached on "celebrity dom" yet myself. But I can feel it coming on thru a Dakota Building project .... they had some wild parties there I've been too ...

10/18/2010 at 11:30 AM

Someone should go make a Mark David Chapman profile. :)

10/18/2010 at 11:37 AM

I think I read the other day that Lauren Bacall was living in the building in 1980 and heard the four gunshots, although she thought it was a motorcycle backfiring. I will put aside my strong feelings on the matter and see about making a profile for Chapman.


10/18/2010 at 11:49 AM

LOL. And to feel better, how about Lauren Bacall? Post her URL and see if there's an MP to be stolen I mean made there. I adore Lauren.

10/18/2010 at 1:47 PM

Here's Chapman's profile: Mark David Chapman
According to the research I found (which may be sketchy but is at least somewhat sourced, here: http://www.wargs.com/other/chapman.html) he can be traced back to fairly prominent Connecticut lines, including some Mayflower relatives. Needs a lot more research, though.
Here's Lauren Bacall (AKA Betty Perske)'s profile. Lauren Bacall
There are only a couple of duplicates which I will see about merging. I adore her (and Humphrey!) too!

10/18/2010 at 1:51 PM

Wait a minute -- Chapman ties to the Mayflowers??? That is kind of hilarious, isn't it.

Well done and keep going. I just put my curatorial mark on him and Betty. You did grab Jason Robards and the sublime Humphrey too, right?

10/18/2010 at 1:54 PM

Who hoo I stole some movie stars! heh. The Dakota rocks.

10/18/2010 at 1:57 PM

Did the Dakota pass through various ownership, or has it been one owner? When did it turn cooperative and through what kind of process (contentious or business like)? Is there a list of former presidents of the coop board?

For instance, Mary Tyler Moore is in a famous building, her husband was president, and they got into a big battle about the falcons that nested on the bldg (they objected to the mess the birds made: the rest of the residents thought they had bird brains when such a wonderful thing had happened to their building ...)

Showing 1-30 of 31 posts

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