By Gus Saltonstall
Leonard Bernstein is back in the news with the recent release of the film “Maestro,” the Netflix biopic about the legendary conductor and composer. Many know about Bernstein’s triumphs, which include creating the Broadway musical “West Side Story,” and serving as the first American composer to lead a major U.S. orchestra, but few may know that Bernstein spent a good part of his life living in the Upper West Side’s most famous building.
Bernstein lived in Apartment 23 of the Dakota, sometimes called the Dakota Apartments, on the corner of West 72nd Street and Central Park West from 1975 until his death in 1990. The iconic composer died in the Upper West Side apartment on October 14, 1990, of a heart attack
The second-floor apartment contained four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a library, a fireplace, and of course, views of Central Park.
The apartment would go on to sell for $21 million in 1997, which remained the Dakota’s most expensive sale until at least 2012, according to CNBC.
“Maestro” had a limited theater release on November 22, but had a wider release December 20 on Netflix. The film is written, directed and stars Bradley Cooper as Bernstein, who received pushback earlier this fall about his choice to wear a “prominent” prosthetic nose to portray the Jewish composer.
Bernstein’s three children responded by releasing a statement in support of Cooper.
Bernstein’s second-floor Dakota apartment is recreated in the film, and the publication Town & Country recently conducted a stellar interview with production designer Kevin Thompson about how he reproduced the home for the big screen.
“It was an important set for me because, as a New Yorker who has been here since the early 80s, it meant a lot to me that they lived in the Dakota,” Thompson told Town & Country.
To help with the task, the current owners of the Dakota apartment granted access to the film’s production team.
You can read the full interview on how Thompson went about bringing “Bernstein’s slice of the Dakota back to life” — HERE.
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