Picks and Pans Review: Life at the Dakota

updated 10/08/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 10/08/1979 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Stephen Birmingham

This latest work about the artsy crowd in Manhattan centers on the storied apartment building on Central Park. The Dakota was the location for the film Rosemary's Baby. Lauren Bacall, John and Yoko Lennon, Leonard Bernstein and other celebrities live there. It's worth a substantial book. But Birmingham (author of the immigrant chronicles Our Crowd and The Right People and the facile recent biography of Jacqueline O) writes fatuous things like: "In New York it is chic to have money, but not too much money...Rockefellers are not chic. Estée Lauder, whose family origins are an impenetrable mystery, is chic...Anyone working at a high-paying, exciting job is chic, but the job must be risky." There is also an overdose of Birmingham's specialty: fawning gossip of the most obvious sort. (Random House, $12.50)

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