EPISODE 321 The Hollywood icon and Broadway star Lauren Bacall lived at the Dakota Apartments on the Upper West Side for 53 years. Her story is intertwined the Dakota, a revolutionary apartment complex built in 1884. In this episode, we tell both their stories.
Bacall, born Betty Joan Perske, the daughter of Jewish Eastern European immigrants, worked her way from theater usher to cover model at a young age, then became a movie star before she was 20 years old. Her film pairings with husband Humphrey Bogart define the classic Hollywood era.
After Bogart died, she returned to New York City to reinvent her career, her sights aimed at the Broadway stage. And she chose the Dakota as her home.
Built by Singer Sewing Machine president Edward Clark, the Dakota was a pioneer of both apartment-style living and of living, generally speaking, on the Upper West Side.
This is the story of second and third acts — both for an woman of grit and independent spirit and for a landmark with a million stories to tell (and a million more to come).
LISTEN NOW — LAUREN BACALL … AT HOME AT THE DAKOTA APARTMENTS
After you’ve listened to this show on Lauren Bacall and the Dakota Apartments, check out these past episodes of the Bowery Boys: New York City History podcast with similar themes.
Another glamorous movie-star story with a not-so-happy ending:
The beginning of apartment living in New York City:
The trials and difficulties of maintaining a historic landmark:
… and is there a ghost at the Dakota Apartments?
Films referenced in this podcast:
To Have And Have Not, The Big Sleep, Dark Passage, Key Largo, How to Marry A Millionaire, Designing Woman, Harper, Rosemary’s Baby, Applause (1973 TV version), The Mirror Has Two Faces
The Dakota: A History of the World’s Best-Known Apartment Building by Andrew Alpern
By Myself and Then Some by Lauren Bacall
Life at the Dakota: New York’s Most Unusual Address by Stephen Birmingham