If you’ve read BEGUILED, you’ll know that Miriam Levine, protagonist of my historical novel, once lived briefly in the most celebrated residence in NYC – the Dakota. Yes, the very same place that John Lennon was shot on December 8, 1980. It’s almost an anniversary right now.
Miriam moved into the Dakota with her (then) platonic friend Noel Butler in the 1920s well before the crash. For a girl from the ‘hood, the old West End of Boston, this was like going to the moon, it was so foreign to her. But, she was a girl who dreamed and fantasized about being rich and famous and here she was in luxurious decadence, without having to lift a finger.
What do we know of the Dakota? Much has been written about this landmark residence in the heart of Manhattan. It was completed in 1884 at the corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West, with wonderful views of the park. Some of its features were: tennis courts, marble staircases, oak- and mahogany-paneled dining rooms, 14-foot ceilings, ornate fireplaces.
In the early ’60s, the Dakota became a cult residence with the likes of Lauren Bacall, Leonard Bernstein, Rudolph Nureyev, Judy Garland, and, John Lennon and Yoko Ono as residents.

In Miriam and Noel’s day, however, it was in its glory as a place for rich entrepreneurs to live. According to the story in BEGUILED, Noel was bequeathed this lavish apartment by his father, with whom he had had many ideological differences. It was anathema to him to even visit his father and wife during their lifetimes, so he avoided the Dakota and everything it stood for. However, in later years, after their deaths, he succumbed to the joys of living in such a residence and his sweetheart Miriam came to inhabit it with him for a short time, until they both gravitated back toward a more sympatico spot in Greenwich Village. What does your fantasy residence look like?