Designed by Henry J. Hardenburgh and completed in 1884, the Dakota apartment building combined elements of German Gothic, French Renaissance, and English Victorian architecture in its distinctive construction. The Dakota has been home to many people in the creative arts including actress Lauren Bacall and classical composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein; and filmmaker Albert Maysles, co-director of the 1970 Rolling Stones documentary Gimme Shelter. Roberta Flack, Sting, Bono, and Paul Simon have all lived at the Dakota, but in 1980 Billy Joel was turned down by the co-op board in his efforts to purchase an apartment. The Dakota, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, is referenced in songs by Nas (“Thief’s Theme’), Tim Curry (“I Do the Rock”), and Hole (“2 Years in the Dakota”).

In 1973, John Lennon and Yoko Ono moved into a large apartment in the Dakota; their son Sean was born there two years later. On the night of December 8, 1980, the couple was walking into the building’s 72nd Street entrance when Lennon was shot four times by Mark David Chapman. The former Beatle was rushed to Roosevelt Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:07 p.m. Yoko Ono still resides in the Dakota.