Coincidences and NYC’s Dakota Building

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Coincidences. Is there actually some sort of meaning behind them?

This morning, I did a search on the Dakota Building in NYC. I first learned about the Dakota in a fiction book that was assigned in a high school history class of mine by my teacher, Tom Bennett (I enjoyed 99% of the books he assigned…the book check tests, not so much). The book is called, Time and Again by Jack Finney. I have since reread the book, and its sequel, numerous times as it has become a favorite of mine and perhaps can be credited with helping to kindle my love for that late 1800s time period. If you are also a fan of books that describe NYC in the late-19th century, I highly recommend it.

After hopping through a few sites, scanning interesting facts about the Dakota, which was completed in 1884, I find myself on Architectural Digest’s website on a page entitled, Inside New York’s Most Famous Apartment Building. I learn that the architect of this famous building was enlisted by Henry and Edward Clark, co-founders of the Singer Sewing Machine Company (And, yes, that also strikes as chord as images of the old Singer Sewing Machine that my mother still has flood to my mind.) But, what actually stops me dead in my tracks this morning is the name of the architect–Henry Janeway Hardenbergh.

Now, let’s pause here for a moment while I revisit that statement of coincidence that I made earlier. If I had come across the name of this architect only about a month ago, it would not have had any effect on me. However, for the past few months I have been showing homes to a very dear old friend and her husband; they are in pursuit of an older farmhouse style of home, as they both had been raised in antique homes and enjoy the character and warmth that can be found in them.

A few weeks ago we viewed a beautiful Victorian house built in 1880 set on over 8 acres in a town called Tillson in Ulster County. The three of us loved the details that could be found in the home–the ornate cast-iron radiators, the stained-glass window in the attic, the expansive front porch. The name of the street that this home is located on is Hardenbergh.

I am writing right now because I was compelled to as the “coincidences” just continued to mount. In fact, I really should be showering and making myself a nice breakfast instead of writing at this moment as I am scheduled to meet with Lisa and Kevin this morning to show them some houses, including a second showing of the Victorian on Hardenbergh Ave.

I look forward to telling Lisa about my findings this morning as there is a good chance she also may have read Time and Again since both her and I had classes with Mr. Bennett when we attended Staten Island Tech HS together so many years ago.

So, I leave you with this thought: is this all a sign that the Victorian home is meant to be for my friends? Or is it all just a strange coincidence? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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