The Chelsea HotelThe Chelsea’s famous signage. (photo: Mr. Littlehand/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

“The Chelsea was like a doll’s house in the Twilight Zone, with a hundred rooms, each a small universe. I wandered the halls seeking its spirits, dead or alive.”
~Patti Smith, from Just Kids

The musician and poet lived in the hotel during the 1970s with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, and called the place her “university.” The Chelsea opened in 1884 as one of New York City’s earliest cooperative apartment houses, and, two decades later, it was turned into a hotel. Other cultural icons like Sid Vicious, Dylan Thomas, O. Henry, Allen Ginsburg, William Burroughs, and Bob Dylan (who, in the lyrics of “Sara” wrote, ”Staying up for days in the Chelsea Hotel, writing Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands for you”), also called this historic New York landmark home.

Hotel guests were asked to leave on August 1st, and no new reservations will be accepted as ownership changes hands and their doors close on an era of art, poetry, and music. The future of current residents is uncertain.

Chelsea foyerA resident relaxes amid the art installations in the foyer of the iconic Chelsea Hotel. (photo: AndyWilson/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


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One more sad triumph for "The Man", one less home for the eclectic artist, wanderer. wayfaring stranger.  The way of the world is change, and change changes everything.  This, and the melting of the polar icecaps, and the recent disgraceful bipartisan debt deal - all part of the water rising to flood levels, the starving starved out of existence, the powerful protecting interest rates in the interest of the select few.  And that resident "resting" in the lobby is a symbol for all who rest in the ever more tentative moment.  My heart aches

The Chelsea Hotel was a sacred space for many residents who passed its doors. It served as a crucible of creativity for the great voices of song, poetry, art and civil conversation, especially during the 50's through the 80's. But more importantly, it was home to those "simpler saints" who left perhaps less deep of a cultural impression, but without whom the more public chroniclers of the times would have found it difficult to cross the bridge to Ginsburg's exhortations of "Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell! They jumped off the roof to solitude! waving! carrying flowers! Down to the river! into the street!". I'm skeptical that yet another high-priced boutique hotel in NYC will ever come close to accomplishing the same.

The Chelsea Hotel was a sacred space for many residents who passed its doors. It served as a crucible of creativity for the great voices of song, poetry, art and civil conversation, especially during the 50's through the 80's. But more importantly, it was home to those "simpler saints" who left perhaps less deep of a cultural impression, but without whom the more public chroniclers of the times would have found it difficult to cross the bridge to Ginsburg's exhortations of "Real holy laughter in the river! They saw it all! the wild eyes! the holy yells! They bade farewell! They jumped off the roof to solitude! waving! carrying flowers! Down to the river! into the street!". I'm skeptical that yet another high-priced boutique hotel in NYC will ever come close to accomplishing the same.

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I´ve heard open chelsea is open for residents and will reopen for guests soon...  Is this true?

Yes Paul, hotel is still open, they confirm inside of Chelsea

Too bad that it ended that way. Are they gonna re-open it once again? I look forward for that to take place.

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