The Chelsea Hotel, New York City

They’ve lived and died here at the Chelsea Hotel for over a century.

Songwriter Leonard Cohen remembered his brief relationship with Janis Joplin in the song Chelsea Hotel #2, 1974.

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel,
You were talking so brave and so sweet.
Giving me head on the unmade bed,
While the limousines wait in the street.

While here, artist Yves Klein wrote The Chelsea Hotel Manifesto,

The shape of the body, its lines, its strange colors hovering between life and death, hold no interest for me. Only the essential, pure affective climate of the flesh is valid.

Having rejected nothingness, I discovered the void.

He died the following year, 1962, aged 34.

November 3, 1953, poet Dylan Thomas stayed in his room drinking most of the day. He’d done little but drink for days. The next day he managed to leave the hotel, going to a pub to drink more. Sickening, he returned to the Hotel. On his third visit that day, his doctor prescribed morphine. At 2am on November 5, Thomas was admitted to St Vincent’s Hospital, where he died on November 9.

Not for the proud man apart
From the raging moon I write
On these spindrift pages
Nor for the towering dead
With their nightingales and psalms
But for the lovers, their arms
Round the griefs of the ages,
Who pay no praise or wages
Nor heed my craft or art.

October 12, 1978, Sid Vicious’ girlfriend Nancy Spungen was found in room 100 stabbed to death.

Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey’s Chelsea Girls from 1966 was partially shot here.

Simone de Beauvoire and Jean-Paul Sartre,
Quentin Crisp,
Jimi Hendrix,
Willem de Kooning,
Robert Mapplethorp,
Tennesse Williams,
Bob Dylan,
Mark Twain,
Robert Oppenheimer,
Gore Vidal,
And we’ve barely scratched the surface.

A constant stream of tourists mill by, taking photographs. The red brick neo-gothic building was the tallest in New York when it was finished in 1884. Today it’s closed for renovations. Remaining tenants complain about health hazards from construction. If you can get inside, you’ll see the art is mostly gone from the walls, save a mannequin swinging from the lobby ceiling.

Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C Clarke worked on 2001: A Space Odyssey at the hotel in 1964.

My god, it’s full of stars.

Hotel Chelsea
222 W 23rd St, Chelsea, New York NY 10011
Hours: Visible 24/7

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About Richard

I am a writer who travels endlessly. Fascinated by how our lives are propelled forward by what's left behind, I thirst to know everything. I read, collect, gather, organise, list. Here are some of the things I read, see and experience. Please make yourself at home: drinks and pretzels will be served shortly. If you'd like to get in touch, I'd love to hear from you!

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