The Dakota Challenge

Duration: 1st January – 31st March 2021
Number of books: 18
Hosted by: Crazy Challenge Connection

The Dakota Challenge
Duration: January 1, 2021 – March 31, 2021

If you like historical fiction, and have not yet read the book, check out The Address by Fiona Davis. You’ll get a really good ‘feel’ for the construction and majesty of The Dakota while enjoying a great story. A re-read is also okay. You may substitute the reading of The Address for any task below! Please make a note when doing so.

1. The Dakota, also known as the Dakota Apartments, is a cooperative apartment building located on the northwest corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West in the Upper West Side of Manhattan in New York City. The prevailing theory for the famous building’s name was that, just as the Dakota Territory was considered remote from the heavily populated east coast of the US in the 1880’s, so too was The Dakota from the rest of Manhattan’s population.
Read a book that mentions any US state or country name in its title (i.e. Winesburg, OhioMy Life in France) OR read a book that takes place in a remote location; tell us where.

2. Christopher Gray’s New York Streetscapes: Tales of Manhattan’s Significant Buildings and Landmarks quotes the long-term building manager telling a newspaper reporter: “Probably it was called ‘Dakota’ because it was so far west and so far north.” Gray believed that the building’s name stemmed from Edward Cabot Clark’s fondness for the names of the new western states and territories. The moniker is immortalized high above the 72nd Street entrance in the face of a Dakota Indian.
Read a book that takes place in the Old American West (~1865-1920; setting must be in the American West (TX, NM, AZ, WY, CO, SD)); tell us when and where OR read a book with a character who is a Native American; tell us who. – Blood Challenge by Eileen Wilks (Benedict) & Nettie Two Horses)

3. The Dakota was constructed between October 25, 1880, and October 27, 1884. Henry Janeway Hardenbergh’s architectural firm was commissioned to create the design for Edward Cabot Clark, head of the Singer Manufacturing Company.
Read a book originally published in October of any year; tell us when OR read a book in which a sewing machine is mentioned; copy the passage and state its location.Kiss of Heat by Lora Leigh

4. The building’s high gables and deep roofs with a profusion of dormers, terracotta spandrels and panels, niches, balconies, and balustrades give it a German Renaissance character. This architectural style was popular in the late 19th / early 20th century, especially where large populations of Germans settled.
Read a book that takes place in Germany or has a character of German descent; tell us who OR read a book that has a ‘grand’ building on its cover; post the cover.

5. The Dakota is a square building built around a central courtyard. The arched main entrance is a porte-cochère large enough for the horse-drawn carriages that once entered and allowed passengers to disembark sheltered from the weather. Many of these carriages were housed in a multi-story stable building built in two sections between 1891 and 1894.
Read a book with a square object on its cover; post the cover OR read a book in which horse-drawn carriages are the main conveyance for the time. – The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn

6. The general layout of the apartments is in the French style of the period, with all major rooms connected to each other, in enfilade, and also accessible from a hall or corridor. The arrangement allows a natural migration for guests from one room to another, especially on festive occasions, yet gives service staff discreet separate circulation patterns that offer service access to the main rooms.
Read a book that is next-in-series for you (the first book of a series will not count); tell us the series and the book’s position OR read a book in which a festive occasion occurs; tell us what.The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband by Julia Quinn (book #2)

7. The principal rooms, such as parlors or the master bedroom, face the street, while the dining room, kitchen, and other auxiliary rooms are oriented toward the courtyard. Apartments thus are aired from two sides, which was a relative novelty in Manhattan at the time. Some of the drawing rooms are 49 feet (15 m) long, and many of the ceilings are 14 feet (4.3 m) high. The floors are inlaid with mahogany, oak, and cherry.
Read a book in which the main character lives ‘in the lap of luxury’ or is very wealthy; tell us who OR read a book whose total page count contains an intact “14” or an intact “49” in its total page count; tell us the total number of pages. – Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl (214 pp.)

8. Originally, The Dakota had 65 apartments with four to 20 rooms each, no two apartments being alike. These apartments were accessed by staircases and elevators placed in the four corners of the courtyard. Separate service stairs and elevators serving the kitchens were located mid-block. Built to cater to the well-to-do, The Dakota featured many amenities and a modern infrastructure that was exceptional for the time.
Read book with a staircase pictured on its cover; post the cover OR read a book with the word “FOUR” in its title; exact matches only.

9. The building has a large dining hall. Meals could also be sent up to the apartments by dumbwaiters. Electricity was generated by an in-house power plant, and the building had central heating. Beside servant quarters, there was a playroom and a gymnasium under the roof. In later years, these spaces on the tenth floor were converted into additional apartments.
Read a book whose title begins with a letter in “DUMBWAITER,” (Ignore the articles “a,” “an,” “the”) OR read a book in which the main character has young children; tell us who, as well as how many children.

10. The Dakota property also contained a garden, private croquet lawns, and a tennis court behind the building between 72nd and 73rd Streets.
Read a book with a manicured garden or expanse of lawn on its cover; post the cover OR read book #72 or #73 on your TBR, sorted however you choose; tell us which number and how you sorted the list.

11. One thing the building does not have is fire escapes. Architect Henry J. Hardenbergh purposely avoided fire escapes by slathering mud from Central Park between the layers of brick flooring to fireproof and soundproof the building. Tenants are ‘forbidden’ to throw away original doors and fireplace mantels. If tenants want to rid apartments of these items, there is a special storage area.
Read a book in which a destructive fire is the main focus of the book’s plot (i.e. more than a campfire or a controlled fire to burn trash) OR read a book in which the author’s first and last initial may be found in ‘FORBIDDEN.” – Matilda by Roald Dahl

12. Though wildly successful, the building of The Dakota was a long-term drain on the fortune of Clark (who died before it was completed) and his heirs. For the high society of Manhattan, it became fashionable to live in the building, or at least to rent an apartment there as a secondary city residence, and The Dakota’s success prompted the construction of many other luxury apartment buildings in Manhattan.
Read a book that takes place in Manhattan (Manhattan only, none of the other NYC boroughs will count) OR read a book by an author who has died; bonus if some of the author’s work was only published posthumously.The BFG by Roald Dahl

13. Thanks to a glowing New York Times review all apartments were let before the building opened. The Steinway family, of Steinway piano fame, was one of The Dakota’s first residents. The building had zero vacancies for 45 years after it opened; from 1884 to 1929, all 65 of The Dakota’s apartments — each with a reported four bathrooms, parlor, and servant quarters — remained spoken for.
Read a book in which a character plays the piano (either professionally or recreationally); tell us who OR read a book which has never gone out of publication; this list may help.

14. Many famous residents have lived in the building, including the following: Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, Connie Chung, Rosemary Clooney, Harlan Coben, José Ferrer, Roberta Flack, Judy Garland, Lillian Gish, Boris Karloff, Sean Lennon, Joe Namath, Rudolf Nureyev, Rosie O’Donnell, Patrick O’Neal, Maury Povich, Gilda Radner, Jason Robards, and U2’s Bono.
Read a book by an author whose first or last name matches the first or last name of one of the famous residents – exact matches only; tell us which resident/author OR read a biography or memoir of a famous person; tell us who if not evident in the book’s title. – Rolling with the Punchlines by Urzila Carlson

15. The Dakota was the home of John Lennon, (former member of the Beatles) from 1973 until his murder in the archway of the building in 1980. He was the seventh-floor resident who brought sushi to the building’s October potluck. He was known as a protective father and an enterprising real estate collector, irking a few neighbors by buying up five apartments in the building.
Read a book with a “5” in its original year of publication; tell us the year OR read a book in which a parent is viewed by others as being protective of their child; tell us who. – Otherhood by William Sutcliffe (all three mothers)

16. Lennon’s death triggered an outpouring of grief around the world. Crowds massed upon Central Park and sang Imagine all night. Ono sent word to the chanting crowd outside the Dakota that their singing had kept her awake; she asked that they re-convene at the Central Park Bandshell the following Sunday for ten minutes of silent prayer. On December 14, 1980, millions of people around the world responded to Ono’s request to pause for ten minutes of silence to remember Lennon. 30,000 gathered in Lennon’s hometown of Liverpool, and the largest group—over 225,000—converged on Central Park, close to the scene of the shooting. For those ten minutes, every radio station in New York City went off the air. Yoko Ono still lives in The Dakota and says she has seen Lennon’s ghost there.
Read a book with a 4+ letter word in its title that matches a word in Lennon’s iconic song Imagine OR read a book where a crowd assembles to protest or commerate something; tell us what. – James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (the giant peach)

17. The Dakota was designated a New York City Landmark in 1969. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972, and was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1976. The building’s facade was renovated in 2015.
Read a book that takes place between 1969 – 1976, inclusive; tell us when OR read a book that has been republished with new material – i.e. a new forward, new notes, lost text, etc; tell us the new addition. – One Bite with a Stranger by Christine Warren (was originally published as a novella)

18. For many years, Leonard Bernstein’s former apartment was the building’s most expensive sale. Located on the second floor, the four-bedroom, four-bathroom apartment had a library, a formal dining room, a wood fireplace, kitchen and breakfast areas, and views of Central park. It was listed at $25.5 million and sold for $21 million. Actress Lauren Bacall owned a nine-room apartment for 53 years that recently sold for $23.5 million.
Read a book that was expensive to purchase; tell us why OR read a book in which a real estate transaction takes place; briefly tell us what. – Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston (Henry buys an apartment)

New York Times
15 Crazy Facts About The Dakota


See this thread for more detailed rules for all CCC challenges.

♣ If you want to participate in this challenge, please sign up by posting at least a partial list of the challenge requirements. This gives us a post to link you to, which you can use to update your books as the challenge progresses.

♣ For each book you read, please indicate the title, the author and the date you finished reading it. If a challenge task gives several options, please make it clear which option you’ve chosen. If the task calls for an item on the cover, include a link to the book cover.* If it’s not obvious from the book title or cover, be sure to explain how your book fits the task. If you don’t, you won’t get credit for completing that task.

♣ Unless otherwise noted, books must be at least 150 pages long. (See the link above for rules regarding graphic novels.) Books may only be used for one task in this challenge, but cross-challenge posting is encouraged 🙂 Re-reads are allowed, as long as you read the entire book. You must read at least half of the book AFTER the challenge begins in order to count it for this challenge.

♣ Books may only be used for one task in this challenge, but cross-challenge posting is encouraged!

♣ If you want the challenge moderator to check your progress as you make updates, please copy/paste your update into a new message . We don’t have time to scroll back through the entire thread looking for “message #15,” or to follow links back to an original post.

♣ When you complete the challenge, please post your entire list as a new message to make it easier for everyone to see what you’ve read. If you don’t repost your list, you won’t be included in the list of those who have completed the challenge.

*If you don’t know how to post a link to the book title or cover, see the instructions here: Link Instructions

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