Out and About: Welcome home, Rosemary

The Dakota

It probably isn’t a stretch to venture that the Dakota, at 1 W. 72nd St., is the most photographed apartment building in Manhattan and possibly the whole world.

It is, of course, where John Lennon lived at the time of his death in front of the building, never mind a slew of other celebrities.  It also was shown as the site where Rosemary’s baby was born.

Departing from my norm of providing only vague addresses of the properties that I visit, let me tell you about a co-op that went on the market there in April.  And it is one memorable apartment.

Where to start?  Perhaps with the sixth-floor views, which sweep over Central Park through eight floor-to-ceiling windows; in fact, the most important rooms collectively span a total of 100 feet along the park.

I’ll let the listing broker’s flowery, though not overstated, description carry a bit of the burden:

. . . [T]he residence has been meticulously renovated and carefully restored, preserving the original 19th-century details, including 12-foot ceilings, soaring doorways, plaster moldings, exquisite hand-carved woodwork, pocket doors, shutters framing all twelve windows, and seven wood-burning fireplaces.  Pristine hardwood floors painstakingly replicate the original designs throughout the home.

Among other attributes of this two- or three-bedroom, three-bath unit with formal dining room, library, study and family room are extraordinarily generous proportions (e.g. 29-foot-long living room); those original pocket doors; two narrow balconies and, off the master bedroom, a slightly larger terrace; and central air conditioning,

Two of the rooms really made my jaw drop.  As you might expect, one was the cavernous kitchen, which has not one, but two, center islands (one of them with two sinks), an eight-burner stove, two dishwashers, professional-grade appliances, mahogany paneling and black granite countertops.  It must be a caterer’s joy.

White onyx (Source: Klutch Design)

Unexpectedly, the master bath was the other room that got me.  It is elegantly tiled entirely with honed onyx

In addition, the massive open tub has five vintage rain-shower heads and their exposed plumbing, apparently of brass. Urban Archeology supplied the fixtures.

The Urban Observer, a Los Angeles real estate development company, filled in some of the Dakota apartment’s background on Curbed.

According to the concern, the unit once had been joined to one on the floor above to create a humongous duplex and had reverted to its original configuration more than a dozen years ago.

What is now the living room was two bedrooms from the time that the Dakota was constructed in 1882.  The study was once a bedroom (then accessed by space used for the central air unit) plus a closet and that wonderful bath, the Urban Observer reports.

In any case, a combination of sober grandeur and stability permeates the place, which I was not permitted to photograph.  Its design and scale mean to impress, and impressed I was.

You by now must be wondering about the dollars.  First, know that monthly maintenance is $10,327.  Second, only 50 percent financing is allowed.  And third, the price: $29.6 million!

Below are other recently visited apartments that various brokers have listed:

  • A bright one-bedroom co-op facing north over a busy street in the mid 90s between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues.  Renovated within the past five years, the 650-sf apartment has a tiny improved kitchen, through-wall air conditioning, pleasant bath, clever touches with built-ins and a reasonable amount of closet space.  The nine-foot-wide bedroom looks onto a shrouded courtyard.  In a modest 1900 low-rise that bars dogs and offers few amenities, the top-floor unit has been on and off the market for as much as $499,000 for three and a half years.  It now is listed at the fair price of $449,000 with monthly maintenance of $881 after a reduction of $20,000 two weeks ago.
  • In the mid 60s hard by the Hudson River, a one-bedroom condo in a luxury high-rise.  With superlative finishes and super style, this 914-sf one-bedroom apartment has floor-to-ceiling windows facing south, unusually large bath with tub and shower, floors of gleaming cherry, ceilings higher than often found in post-war units and an above-average amount of closet space.  Its exceptionally handsome kitchen is against one wall of the living/dining area, making the space into one big kitchen that can be demarcated, however, with a smart arrangement of furniture.  Listed at $1.09 million with common charges of $847 and real estate taxes of $315 a month in a 2007 building filled with amenities, the contract price two weeks ago undoubtedly fell under $1 million to skirt the mansion tax. 
  • A two-bedroom, one-bath co-op painted a riot of vivid colors — crimson, blue, terra-cotta — in the low 100s on a corner of West End Avenue.  Still,the corner apartment does offer some river views, well-proportioned rooms and a perfectly adequate eat-in kitchen that boasts stainless appliances and granite countertops.  And, of course, walls can be repainted.  In a 1925 pet-friendly doorman building that allows washer/dryers and offers private storage space, the unit has an asking price (reduced two weeks ago by $36,000) of $879,000 with monthly maintenance of $2,048, well within range of an accepted offer in the high 800s. 
  • In the low 80s on West End Avenue, a sunny two-bedroom, two-bath apartment on a high floor of a 1931 doorman building that permits washer/dryers and pets.  With an urgent necessity of cosmetic upgrades as well as new kitchen and baths, this corner unit has, as the broker puts it, “good bones” and a need of “TLC.”  There are two quite narrow balconies, ceilings up to 11 feet high and excellent river views.  Despite the pluses and because of the work that demands doing, the offering price of $2.45 million with maintenance per month of $2,564 seems a couple of hundred thousand dollars too high.  A contract was signed last month, very likely below the asking price.

Tomorrow: Count on it

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201

Web site

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