The Dakota Sure Cleans Up Nice

The Dakota on 72nd Street and Central Park West has had extensive work done on its roof, and the results were recently revealed when the scaffolding came down.

Steven Weiss sent us the before and after photos above, from the west-facing side of the building..

See folks, this is why you have to pay $12,243 in maintenance.

HISTORY, REAL ESTATE | 44 comments | permalink
    1. Millicent Broderick says:

      …a month?

    2. Sherman says:

      The Dakota was built in 1884 and it’s still a beautiful building that enhances the neighborhood.

      The renovation at The Dakota proves simple economics. When the owner of a building has to keep his tenants happy – and has the cash flow to keep them happy – he will pay for proper renovations and upkeep of the building.

      Contrast The Dakota to the many grimy and decrepit buildings on the UWS that are stuffed with rent regulated tenants. As such the landlord has virtually zero economic incentive to properly maintain his building beyond the bare minimum. Furthermore, even if he wanted to fix them up he will likely lack the cash flow to do so as the rent collected is so low.

      These old and dingy buildings then become an eyesore and a quality of life issue (and arguably a safety and environmental problem).

      You get what you pay for.

      • Sarah says:

        Uh…the Dakota is a co-op. Do you genuinely not know that???

        • Sherman says:

          Of course I know The Dakota is not a rental (whether it’s a coop or condo I’m not sure).

          My point is that when a building can raise necessary funds to properly maintain itself – whether thru rental income or maintenance fees – the building will likely not fall into disrepair.

          When the amount of funds a building can collect is artificially capped by law then proper building maintenance will likely suffer.

          • Jonathan says:

            With your extensive knowledge of the dynamics of the Real Estate business in NYC. With your wide ranging view of what is wrong with NYC. With your amazing ability to hone in on what are obvious problems keeping NYC in the dark ages compared to other more viable cities. I’m amazed that you’re not employed by our equally dynamic Dr Ben Carson, Secretary of HUD. The two of you have much in common.

          • Sarah says:

            If you know the Dakota is a co-op, you must not know what a co-op is, to be talking about a “landlord” needing to keep “his tenants” happy in connection with it. It’s a completely different situation.

        • Scott says:

          Just because a building is a co-op doesn’t mean it doesn’t have renters. My co-op has maybe a dozen long-time renters who have been here since the 80s. Their apartments are grandfathered in under rent control and the only way they’re leaving is in a body bag.

          • David S says:

            Coincidentally, I just finished a book that details the history of The Dakota ( Among other topics, it discusses all the initial and ongoing financial concerns of the building since it went co-op in 1960. It gives you an interesting, if dated (the book was written in 1978) picture of what’s involved in keeping a building like that going.

            As for rent-stabilized tenants, I’d have to imagine that 58 years post-conversion, they’ve all gone on to a better place, in this plane of existance or the next.

            • Amy says:

              Around ten years ago, I met a Dakota resident and, in the course of conversation, asked if there were any renters left. She said no and also mentioned, if I recall correctly, that the owners’ daughters were allowed to live there rent free until they died.

            • Amy says:

              I meant the builder’s daughters.

      • Paul says:

        Um, Dherman, the Dakota’s a coop. No need for an “owner” to keep tenants happy.

      • Bruce Bernstein says:

        reply to Sherman, who is the king of fact-free assertions.

        I live in a condo, so the economics of my building are “an open book” to the unit owners.

        all the operations of our building plus improvements / major repairs are covered by the monthly COmmon Charges, plus a modest (5%) monthly assessment.

        if you add up common charges, assessment, and property taxes, i am paying less than 1/2 of what i paid as a rent regulated tenant. this covers ALL the building’s expenses, including a staff of 12. it is a doorman building.

        So everything else is either the building’s mortgage or profit.

        In other words, it is not so expensive to operate a building. if the landlord is mortgaged to the hilt, maybe he/she would not make a profit. but they should be able to make a tidy profit on operations. and in fact this is what the Rent Guidelines Board, which collects data, has shown.

    3. Split System says:

      $12, 243 and you still have air conditioning units sticking out the window?

      • B.B. says:

        The Dakota like many other pre-war buildings forbids shareholders/owners/renters from drilling holes walls for wall sleeve AC or anything else.

        IIRC Roberta Flack was the only or one of the few who managed to get permission from the Dakota board to install wall sleeve AC. IIRC those units will have to go and wall repaired/restored when unit is sold.

        Same thing in many other great cities with old housing stock. French law/code prohibits anyone from drilling holes into walls on all those Baron Haussman era Paris (and elsewhere) buildings. This explains relative lack of AC for most, and or use of those portable window units with hoses. It also explains why you don’t often find clothes dryers other than those ventless condenser versions.

      • Sid says:

        The building facade can’t accommodate that because it’s land-marked building.

      • Mike Lambe says:

        The only tennent to my knowledge who had a thru wall air conditioner was Lauren Bacall. And it was understood that every brick, piece of mortar and stone was to be catalogued, kept and reinstalled upon the sale of her apartment or her death. And it has been.

      • Mike L. says:

        The only resident to my knowledge who had a thru- wall AC unit was Lauren Bacall. She was given permission with the stipulation that all bricks, mortar and materials removed be catalogued, and stored to be reinstalled upon her selling of her unit or her death.

        • B.B. says:

          Thanks for the correction. Knew it was one of the units belonging to famous person that went on sale recently.

    4. Rob says:

      Nice photos Steve We like the view also. Your neighbor Rob

    5. Kenneth says:

      Enjoy that new copper look while you can – the copper will start to patina very soon – but the copper will then last 50+ years!

    6. Wendy says:

      Opinions : the Dakota, vs. The Apthorp; vs. ,what were the apts. above Carnegie Hall ? How’re the Senior citizens who were forced out of : The Williams residence; the apts. above Carnegie Hall ? “The rent is too d-mn high”. Social housing needs better ways for many citizen-clients in N.Y.C.. n.b. a poem @ a Woman wanting a house….

      • JR says:


        • dannyboy says:

          Wendy makes a good point about the Senior citizens being forced out of The Williams Residence.

          My father-in-law lived his final years there. Because he was in the UWS neighborhood with both his daughters and their families, he was visited EVERY DAY by family. His grandchildren came and enjoyed a soda with their grandpa and even visits to the roof with grandpa.

          Do you think that it’s better to ship out the seniors?

      • Free Content = Content Free says:

        Yes, I agree. The Dakota should be converted to affordable housing.

        • dannyboy says:

          Nothing, outside your head was written about whether “The Dakota should be converted to affordable housing.”

          What was asked is for is your Opinion on The Dakota, vs. The Apthorp vs. the apts. above Carnegie Hall.

          I guess your inability to discuss these fine buildings, but rather to disparage does prove your name correct – Free Content = Content Free

    7. Tom Lee says:

      You are naive if you think the $12,243 in monthly maintenance covered this!

      There was surely an assessment – likely with an extra 0 added to that number!

      • Rook says:

        That’s per unit, not collectively!! That’s roughly 1.14 million (there are a reported 93 units). Try clicking on the link next time! 🙂

    8. Stephanie Reit says:

      Although the roof itself looks great, I like the copper patina on the dormers better.

    9. Laurence P. Mitchell says:

      I think a great deal of charm has been lost by refurbishing the copper dormers. It takes years of exposure to the elements to acquire that beautiful hue.

      • Kindly Dr Dave says:

        Actually, there is a nice “faux aged copper” coating that could have been used, if the board had wanted such a retro new option. My congratulations for going with nature and time. After all, it is The Dakota!

      • Martin says:

        Actually, it doesn’t take that long. A building added an extension behind where I work. It was clad in new, shiny copper. It took about two years, maybe three, before it turned green and old looking.

    10. Bruce Bernstein says:

      Net operating income per unit for rent-stabilized apartments in Manhattan was close to $900 in 2016.

      this means that, on average, the landlords made $900 per month on each and every Manhattan unit. this is post property-taxes but before paying the mortgage and building improvements.

      Net operating income on rent stabilized units grew faster than expenses. It increased by 4.4% 2015-2016. this is the 12th straight that it has increased.

      In other words, landlords make a lot of money on rent stabilized apartments.

      • Sarah says:

        Why are you bringing actual numbers into this when we could be lamenting the plight of rent-stabilized building owners-martyrs who just couldn’t UNDERSTAND that arcane document known as the rent roll before they bought into their buildings, or were just FORCED by the banks to take out larger mortgages under the assumption that they could harass those tenants out of their buildings?

        • Bruce Bernstein says:

          in response to Sarah’s comment:

          I wish this blog had a “like” button!

          fyi, I plan on bringing these facts up every chance i get.

    11. Jeffrey Kindley says:

      I wrote the following poem back in 1994, when the Dakota had a major restoration. It was published in Metropolitan Diary in the Times.


      When counting the wonders of the world,
      Seven, I know, is the quota,
      But couldn’t we make an exception for
      The cleaning of the Dakota?

      It was scaled by Lilliputian folk
      Who scrubbed away, and lo!
      The blackened lair of the devil’s child
      Is a yellow-brick chateau.

    12. BillyTheKid says:

      Nice job!!!! I know the people who did this and it was a long 4 1/2 years for them. Not only outside but the inside too!!! John would’ve been very proud.
      My Congratulations to the Dakota the number one icon on the Upper Westside. But what a big assessment to the residence $$$$.

      • dannyboy says:

        John’s proud.

        Yesterday, while reading the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission’s Historic District Designation Report, I felt the sense of pride that the building architects took in the work.

    13. Gertie mateja says:

      Looks better before

    14. Matt says:

      The before looks more historical and has more character and charm. General cleanup is great but they should’ve left the copper alone. It’s theirs to do as they please though.