Screenshot of Iconic Chelsea Doors via Guernsey’s
Up until its first controversial sale to developers in 2011, drama at the Chelsea Hotel was reserved to its longtime list of celebrity occupants. From being the site where Sid Vicious reportedly stabbed his girlfriend to death to where Dylan Thomas went into a coma just before dying to the home of Madonna in the ’80s, the landmark is more associated with NYC characters and culture than perhaps anywhere else. And now average New Yorkers will have the rare opportunity to own a piece of this history. amNY reports that Guernsey’s auction house will be selling 55 original doors from the hotel, which, after “exhaustive research,” can be traced “to the iconic individuals who lived behind them,” including Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, Janis Joplin, Jack Kerouac, Humphrey Bogart, Thomas Wolfe, Jim Morrison, and Jackson Pollack.
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Background image via Andrew Malone/Flickr
When it comes to the Chelsea Hotel, Ed Hamilton has seen it all. He and his wife moved to the iconic property in 1995, living among artists and musicians in a 220-square-foot, single-room-occupancy unit. The storied, artistic community nurtured inside the hotel came to an end a decade ago when the building sold for the first time and evictions followed. Since then, the property has traded hands a number of times with talks of boutique hotel development, luxury condos, or some combination of the two. Hamilton started tracking the saga at his blog Living With Legends and published a book, “Legends of the Chelsea Hotel,” in 2007.
After the book’s success, Hamilton wrote a short story collection titled “The Chintz Age: Stories of Love and Loss for a new New York.” Each piece offers a different take on New York’s “hyper gentrification,” as he calls it: a mother unable to afford her lofty East Village apartment, giving it up to a daughter she shares a strained relationship with; a book store owner who confronts his failed writing career as a landlord forces him out of now highly valuable commercial space.
Ultimately, many of the stories were inspired by the characters he met inside the Chelsea Hotel. And his tales offer a new perspective on a changing city, one that focuses on “the personal, day-to-day struggles about the people who are trying to hang onto their place in New York.” With 6sqft, he shares what it’s like writing in the under-construction Chelsea Hotel, what the Chintz Age title means, and the unchanged spots of the city he still treasures.
Update 4/4/2017: 6sqft has been informed that Kara Mann’s design will likely not move forward because of changes with the development team. We will provide additional updates as we receive them.
While there’s no shortage of hotels to visit in New York City, some are more worthy of the trip than others, and the restored Hotel Chelsea will certainly be one of them when it reopens in 2018. The renovation of this famous hotel—known since the 1960s as a haven for artists, writers, and musicians, housing famous tenants including Bob Dylan, Stanley Kubrick, Jasper Johns, Patty Smith, Dylan Thomas and Leonard Cohen—has been in the works since 2011, with lots of drama, ultimately finding some direction following a $250M purchase by Richard Born and Ira Drukier of BD Hotels and hotelier Sean MacPherson, last year. Following the sale, the new owners announced they would redevelop the property as a hotel and condos, departing from previous plans of simply converting the structure into a high-end hotel. Now, with its re-opening just around the corner, the first few images of the glamorous new interiors designed by Kara Mann have emerged.
Image via Wiki Commons
After five years of ownership changes and tenant battles, a group of well-known hoteliers is betting on the future of the historic Hotel Chelsea. The Real Deal reports that a joint venture made up of BD Hotels’ Richard Born and Ira Drukier and Sean MacPherson (who owns, among others, the Bowery Hotel and Waverly Inn) has closed on the hotel for $250 million, and they plan to convert it to condos and a likely trendy hotel.
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New York City has always been a hub for writers. Whether they were living in luxury or getting their start as starving artists, famous writers have lived and worked all across New York, and you can still see many of these writerly abodes today. Whether you’re a fan of the Beat Generation, Sci-Fi, or even Southern Gothic, you might be interested in tracking down a famous writer’s home.
See where writers lived and worked here