5 Historic Buildings on the Upper West Side

  Last modified on February 9th, 2019

Historic buildings on the Upper West Side aren’t hard to come by. Maybe you’re reading because you’re a big architecture buff. Or maybe you’re just hoping your search for Upper West Side apartments lands you in one of these famous buildings. Either way, you’ll want to keep reading! Without enough time to include every historic building in the neighborhood, here are 5 of the most iconic and historic buildings on the Upper West Side of NYC.

The Dakota

1 West 72nd Street

One of the most prestigious coops on the Upper West Side, and one of the most historic buildings in Manhattan. The Dakota was made more famous as the former home of John Lennon, and subsequently the place of his murder.

On the corner of 72nd and Central Park West, the Dakota was designed by Henry Hardenbergh (who also designed the Plaza Hotel and tons of brownstones in NYC). It was constructed with brick and sandstone walls between 1880 and 1884.

The architecture featuring terracotta panels and balconies is that of the North German Renaissance style. The interior and floor plan of the Dakota was influenced by French architectural styles popular in NYC in the late 1800s.

The Dakota became a New York City Landmark in 1969. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Historic Buildings on the Upper West Side


The Dorilton

171 West 71st Street

The Dorilton is one of the most visually stunning apartment buildings on the Upper West Side. Constructed between 1900 and 1902, the building features a limestone and brick exterior with sculpted figures reminiscent of those in front of French palaces.

The Dorilton features a beautiful 3 story mansard roof that was restored in 1998 with the rest of the building’s exterior. The building was named a New York City Landmark in 1974. It was first listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Historic Buildings on the Upper West Side



The Ansonia

2109 Broadway

Originally built as an Upper West Side hotel between 1899 and 1904, the Ansonia was later converted into condominiums. It has been featured in many Hollywood films and served as the home of the famous composer Igor Stravinsky. It was also the first home of Babe Ruth when he was traded to the New York Yankees in 1919.

Beautiful on the inside and out, the Ansonia features a Beaux-Art style with round-corner towers. One of the most striking features of the Ansonia is the large domed skylight sitting above a spiraling staircase. The building was the first air-conditioned hotel in New York and features some of the widest hallways in the city. The Ansonia was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

Historic Buildings on the Upper West Side


The San Remo

145-146 Central Park West

Central Park West’s San Remo has some of the best views of Central Park in NYC. Originally built as an apartment building between 1929 and 1931, the building was converted to a co-op in the 1970s. Over the years and still today, many celebrities that live in NYC have chosen the San Remo as their home. These include Steven Spielberg, Dustin Hoffman, Tiger Woods, Demi Moore, Bruce Willis and Bono.

The building was originally constructed in Beaux-Art style, with marble walls and terrazzo floors. The top floor of each tower features an English Baroque mansion below a Choragic Monument of Lysicrates. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

The San Remo on the Upper West Side


The Apthorp

390 West End Avenue

The Apthorp was built around a central courtyard between 1906 and 1908 as the largest apartment building in the city. The Italian Renaissance Revival styled Apthorp sits on the corner of West 79th Street and Broadway. Aside from the central courtyard, the Apthorp may be best known for the large iron gates decorated with gazelle heads that guard the front entrance of the building.

Another unique characteristic is that each apartment was uniquely designed. This is not a common trait amongst these old buildings. Some famous residents have included Rosie O’Donnell, Al Pacino and Conan O’Brien. The Apthorp was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.


photo credit: @juanfreire212

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Mike Mishkin

Mike Mishkin

Founder, Editor & Owner
Mike is a native Upper West Sider. He's lived in the Lincoln Center area, Morningside Heights, and pretty much everywhere in between. You can frequently find him eating through the many great restaurants on the Upper West Side or awkwardly taking photos with his iPhone.  

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