Lauren Bacall

Akim Reinhardt in The Public Professor:

Lauren-Bacall-202x300In the late 1960s, when my father was just starting Ken’s Home Improvements, the contracting business he decided to get up and running now that he had a young son *cough* he relied on recommendations to get his first customers.

An early break came when someone recommended him to New York Timesfilm critic Rex Reed.

Reed was by then one of the nation’s top critics and had landed himself an apartment in The Dakota, the landmark Manhattan building on Central Park West. It would later become infamous as the home of John Lennon, when he was shot in front of it in 1980.

The Dakota is hard to describe. How many apartment buildings do you know that have their own Wikipedia entry, complete with a list of notable residents and cultural references?

It’s the only building I can think of that’s had the distinction of being jarringly out of place not once, but twice.

When it opened in 1884, the building stood in what was then still considered the northerly reaches of Manhattan. There were farms and trees, and not much else. Indeed, that’s where the name supposedly comes from; when Singer Sewing Machine magnate Edward Clark first announced his plans to build a luxury building all the way up on W. 72nd St., someone supposedly sneered, “That’s practically Dakota!”

More here.