Awful things happen in every apartment house,” said Rosemary Woodhouse (a pixie-cut Mia Farrow) of the Dakota in Roman Polanski’s 1968 thriller Rosemary’s Baby. The film helped make the Central Park West co-op the most legendary apartment house in New York. And, like Ms. Farrow said, awful things do happen in every apartment house, including this one-most notoriously, John Lennon’s murder outside its West 72nd Street entrance.
Much more trivial, but of note here: the on-market lingering of grand, glorious apartments unsold for up to two years.
Built in 1884 by Plaza architect Henry J. Hardenbergh, the building shelters a celebrity laundry list that has included Lauren Bacall, Rudolf Nureyev, Albert Maysles, Judy Garland, The Observer‘s own Rex Reed, Carly Simon and Yoko Ono, buffering them from shutter-happy tourists with a 24-hour “manned sentry” and iron gates flanked by oil-burning lamps.
Why, then, did one of the Dakota’s largest apartments, with a 29-foot-long corner living room, languish on the market for almost two years, suffering an almost 50 percent price cut (it was originally listed at $24 million in 2008)? Like the plot of Rosemary’s Baby, it remains a mystery.
What we do know is that finally the 10-room apartment with views of the “lovely landscaped” interior courtyard has gone into contract, for $11.5 million, according to a source close to the deal. The buyer remains unknown.
The four-bedroom, “rich in history and architectural grandeur,” was listed by Brown Harris Stevens‘ John Burger. “It’s a very special apartment,” he said. “The owners did a two-year renovation to restore the original classic Dakota architectural details. Lots of people do renovations, but to do a restoration is really a labor of love.”
The listing trumpets the corner living room’s “stunning floor-to-ceiling windows framing open views to the North and West”-which is sort of like pouring rock salt into a gaping wound, to flaunt killer windows that lack the to-die-for park view. Though Stribling super-broker Kirk Henckels, who was not involved in the deal, made the perhaps oft-overlooked point that “many people buy non-park-view apartments in the Dakota. There’s only one side with a view of the park; there are three other sides, and there are a lot of very nice apartments!”