Hotel Chelsea

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Hotel Chelsea
NY chelsea hotel.jpg
Hotel Chelsea
Hotel Chelsea is located in Lower Manhattan
Hotel Chelsea
Hotel Chelsea is located in New York City
Hotel Chelsea
Hotel Chelsea is located in New York
Hotel Chelsea
Location222 West 23rd Street
Chelsea, Manhattan, New York City
Coordinates40°44′40″N 73°59′48″W / 40.74444°N 73.99667°W / 40.74444; -73.99667Coordinates: 40°44′40″N 73°59′48″W / 40.74444°N 73.99667°W / 40.74444; -73.99667
Area<1 acre
ArchitectHubert, Pirsson and Company
Architectural styleQueen Anne Revival, Victorian Gothic
NRHP reference No.77000958[1]
NYCL No.0215
Significant dates
Added to NRHPDecember 27, 1977
Designated NYCLMarch 15, 1966

The Hotel Chelsea (also the Chelsea Hotel or the Chelsea) is a hotel in Manhattan, New York City, built between 1883 and 1885. The 250-unit[2] hotel is located at 222 West 23rd Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, in the neighborhood of Chelsea.

It has been the home of numerous writers, musicians, artists and actors. Though the Chelsea no longer accepts new long-term residents, the building is still home to many who lived there before the change in policy. Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey while staying at the Chelsea,[3] and poets Allen Ginsberg[4] and Gregory Corso chose it as a place for philosophical and artistic exchange. It is also known as the place where the writer Dylan Thomas was staying in room 205 when he became ill and died several days later, in a local hospital, of pneumonia on November 9, 1953,[3][4] and where Nancy Spungen, girlfriend of Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, was found stabbed to death on October 12, 1978.[3][4] Arthur Miller wrote a short piece, "The Chelsea Affect", describing life at the Chelsea Hotel in the early 1960s.[5]

The building has been a designated New York City landmark since 1966,[6] and on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977.[1][7]


A close-up of the hotel's signage
A close-up of the hotel's signage

Built between 1883 and 1885 and opened for initial occupation in 1884,[6][8] the twelve-story red-brick building that is now the Hotel Chelsea was one of the city's first private apartment cooperatives.[2] It was designed by Philip Hubert[9] of the firm of Hubert, Pirrson & Company in a style that has been described variously as Queen Anne Revival and Victorian Gothic.[8] Among its distinctive features are the delicate, flower-ornamented iron balconies on its facade, which were constructed by J.B. and J.M. Cornell[6][8] and its grand staircase, which extends upward twelve floors. Generally, this staircase is only accessible to registered guests, although the hotel does offer monthly tours to others. At the time of its construction, the building was the tallest in New York.[10]

Hubert and Pirsson had created a "Hubert Home Club" in 1880 for "The Rembrandt," a six-story building on West 57th Street intended as housing for artists.[11] This early cooperative building had rental units to help defray costs, and also provided servants as part of the building staff.[9] The success of this model led to other "Hubert Home Clubs," and the Chelsea was one of them.[9] Initially successful, its surrounding neighborhood constituted the center of New York's theater district.[12] However, within a few years the combination of economic stresses, the suspicions of New York's middle class about apartment living, the opening up of Upper Manhattan and the plentiful supply of houses there, and the relocation of the city's theater district bankrupted the Chelsea.[9][12]

The building reopened as a hotel in 1905, which was later managed by Knott Hotels and resident manager A. R. Walty. After the hotel went bankrupt, it was purchased in 1939 by Joseph Gross, Julius Krauss, and David Bard,[2] and these partners managed the hotel together until the early 1970s. Stanley Bard,[13] David Bard's son, became manager after Gross and Krauss' deaths.

On June 18, 2007, the hotel's board of directors ousted Bard as the hotel's manager. Dr. Marlene Krauss, the daughter of Julius Krauss, and David Elder, the grandson of Joseph Gross and the son of playwright and screenwriter Lonne Elder III, replaced Stanley Bard with the management company BD Hotels NY; that firm has since been terminated as well.

The hotel was sold to real estate developer Joseph Chetrit for $80 million in 2011[14] and stopped taking reservations for new guests, to begin renovations.[15][16] Long-time residents were allowed to remain in the building, some of them protected by state rent regulations.[17] The renovations prompted complaints to the city by the remaining tenants of health hazards caused by the construction.[18] The city's Building Department investigated these complaints and found no major violations.[19] In November 2011, the management ordered all of the hotel's many artworks taken off the walls, supposedly for their protection and cataloging, a move which some tenants interpreted as a step towards forcing them out as well.[17] In 2013, Ed Scheetz became the Chelsea Hotel's new owner after buying back five properties from Chetrit and David Bistricer.[20][21] In 2016, Ira Drukier, Richard Born and Sean MacPherson bought the Chelsea Hotel.[22]

El Quijote, Hotel Chelsea at night (July 2022)

Located in the Chelsea since 1930 is the restaurant El Quijote which was owned by the same family until 2017 when it was sold to the new owner of the hotel. In late March 2018 the eatery also closed for renovations.[23]

In February 2022 Hotel Chelsea and El Quijote quietly reopened.[24][25]

Notable residents[edit]

Art fills the staircase of the Hotel Chelsea (2005)

Literary artists[edit]

During its lifetime Hotel Chelsea has provided a home to many famous writers and thinkers including Mark Twain,[26] O. Henry,[26] Herbert Huncke,[27] Dylan Thomas,[4][26] Arthur C. Clarke,[3] Sam Shepard,[28] Arthur Miller,[3][4] Tennessee Williams,[26] Jack Kerouac,[27] Brendan Behan,[28] Thomas Wolfe,[28] Valerie Solanas,[28] William S. Burroughs,[4] Allen Ginsberg,[4] Quentin Crisp,[29][better source needed] Gregory Corso,[30] Arnold Weinstein,[31] Catherine Leroy,[32] and James Schuyler.[33]

Delmore Schwartz, author of "In Dreams Begin Responsibilities", spent the last few years of his life in seclusion at the Hotel Chelsea.[34]

Charles R. Jackson, author of The Lost Weekend, died by suicide in his room on September 21, 1968.[35] Joseph O'Neill and his wife moved there in 1998, and they raised three sons there; the Chelsea Hotel plays a significant role in his novel Netherland.[4]

Actors and film directors[edit]

The hotel has been a home to actors, film directors, and comedians such as Stanley Kubrick, Shirley Clarke, Mitch Hedberg, Dave Hill, Miloš Forman, Lillie Langtry, Dennis Hopper, Squat Theatre Company, Eddie Izzard, Uma Thurman, Elliott Gould, Elaine Stritch, Michael Imperioli, Jane Fonda, Russell Brand, the Warhol film star Viva and her daughter Gaby Hoffmann,[citation needed] Ethan Hawke,[28] and Edie Sedgwick.[4][28]

The filmmaker Rosa von Praunheim, who temporarily resided in the hotel, portrayed the artist and long-term resident of the hotel Ching Ho Cheng for his film Tally Brown, New York.[36]


Much of the Hotel Chelsea's history has been colored by the musicians who have resided there. Some of the most prominent names include Chet Baker,[29][better source needed] Grateful Dead, Nico, Tom Waits, Patti Smith,[3][4] Jim Morrison,[3] Iggy Pop, Virgil Thomson, Jeff Beck,[37] Bob Dylan,[3][4] Chick Corea,[37] Alexander Frey,[37] Dee Dee Ramone,[37] Alice Cooper,[37] Édith Piaf,[37] Johnny Thunders,[37] Mink DeVille,[37] Alejandro Escovedo, Marianne Faithfull,[37] Cher,[37] John Cale,[37] Joni Mitchell,[29][better source needed] Robbie Robertson,[38] Bette Midler,[37] Pink Floyd,[37] Jimi Hendrix,[37] Canned Heat, J.D. Stooks,[37] Jacques Labouchere,[37] Sid Vicious,[37] Richard Barone, Lance Loud and Rufus Wainwright.[28]

Madonna lived at the Chelsea in the early 1980s, returning in 1992 to shoot photographs for her book, Sex, in room 822.[39] Leonard Cohen, who lived in room 424, and Janis Joplin,[37] in room 411, had an affair there in 1968, and Cohen later wrote two songs about it, "Chelsea Hotel" and "Chelsea Hotel #2".[4][40] Bob Dylan wrote the epic song 'Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands' there and Nico's song 'Chelsea Girls would also seem to be based upon it. Jobriath spent his last years in the pyramid-topped apartment on the Chelsea's rooftop where he died of complications due to AIDS in August 1983.[41] The Kills wrote much of their album No Wow at the Chelsea presumably between the years 2003 to 2005.[42] Jorma Kaukonen wrote the song "Third Week in the Chelsea" for Jefferson Airplane's 1971 album Bark after spending three weeks living in the Chelsea.[43]

Visual artists[edit]

Lobby of the hotel in 2010

The hotel has featured and collected the work of the many visual artists who have passed through. Frank Bowling,[44] Doris Chase, Bernard Childs, Claudio Edinger, Brett Whiteley, Ching Ho Cheng, Larry Rivers and from 1961 to 1970 several of his French nouveau réalistes friends like Yves Klein (who wrote his Manifeste de l'hôtel Chelsea there in April 1961),[4] Arman, Martial Raysse, Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle, Christo, Daniel Spoerri or Alain Jacquet (who left a version of his Déjeuner sur l'herbe from 1964 in the hotel lobby featuring other pieces by Larry Rivers or Arman),[45] Francesco Clemente,[28] Julian Schnabel,[28] Joe Andoe,[46] David Remfry,[47] Diego Rivera, Ryah Ludins,[48] Robert Crumb, Ellen Cantor, Jasper Johns, Tom Wesselmann, Claes Oldenburg, Herbert Gentry, Willem de Kooning, Stella Waitzkin,[49] Robert Mapplethorpe (room 1017, with Patti Smith).[4] The Australian Vali Myers moved into the hotel in 1971 and remained there for 43 years.[50]

Moses Soyer (who died there in 1974), Nora Sumberg, and Henri Cartier-Bresson have all spent time at the hotel. Experimental filmmaker and ethnomusicologist Harry Smith lived and died in room 328.[citation needed] The painter Alphaeus Philemon Cole lived there for 35 years until his death in 1988, aged 112, at which point he was the oldest verified man alive.[51] The sculptor René Shapshak and his wife lived here;[52] his bust of Harry Truman and reliefs were in the lobby.[53]

Fashion designers[edit]

Charles James, credited with being America's first couturier who influenced fashion in the 1940s and 1950s, moved into the Chelsea in 1964.[54] He died there of pneumonia in 1978. Elizabeth Hawes, a designer best remembered for her critique of the fashion industry in her book, Fashion is Spinach (1938), lived in the Chelsea up until her death in 1971.[55] When Billy Reid started his brand in 1998, it was a one-man operation; he lived in the Garment District, while a room at the Chelsea served as an office, studio and showroom.[56] After returning to New York city in 2001 during a sabbatical, Natalie "Alabama" Chanin spent nine months living in the Chelsea Hotel. During her stay, she met many friends, future collaborators, and designed her first collection of 200 upcycled, hand sewn t-shirts, a project that would become Project Alabama and eventually Alabama Chanin. As Chanin's career took off as a pioneer of sustainable design, she continued to show her collections in rooms 409 and 411 at the Chelsea Hotel until 2003.[57][non-primary source needed]


Hotel Chelsea is often associated with the Warhol superstars, as Andy Warhol and Paul Morrissey directed Chelsea Girls (1966), a film about his Factory regulars and their lives at the hotel.

In popular culture[edit]

Films and television[edit]

The hotel has been featured in:


The hotel is featured in many songs, including:


  • Davis, Fiona (2019). The Chelsea Girls. Dutton. ISBN 978-1-5247-4458-8.
  • Hamilton, Ed (2007). Legends of the Chelsea Hotel: Living with the Artists and Outlaws at New York's Rebel Mecca. ISBN 978-1-56858-379-2.
  • Lough, James (July 2013). This Ain't No Holiday Inn: Down and Out at the Chelsea Hotel 1980–1995. ISBN 978-1-936182-52-7.
  • O'Neill, Joseph (2008). Netherland. ISBN 978-0-00-727570-0.
  • Ramone, Dee Dee (2001). Chelsea Horror Hotel: A Novel. ISBN 1-56025-304-5.
  • Rips, Nicolaia (2016). Trying to Float: Coming of Age in the Chelsea Hotel. ISBN 978-1-5011-3298-8.
  • Smith, Patti (2010). Just Kids. Ecco. ISBN 978-0-06-621131-2.
  • Tippins, Sherill (2013). Inside the Dream Palace: the Life and Times of New York's Legendary Chelsea Hotel. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-9561-1.
  • Turner, Florence (1987). At the Chelsea. ISBN 978-0-15-109780-7.
  • Wielaert, Jeroen (2002). Chelsea Hotel, een Biografie van een Hotel (in Dutch). ISBN 90-76927-02-2.
  • Edinger, Claudio (1983). Chelsea Hotel, photobook by Claudio Edinger and texts by Arthur C. Clark and William Burroughs. ISBN 0-89659-338-X.


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c Regier, Hilda. "Chelsea Hotel" in Jackson, Kenneth T., ed. (1995). The Encyclopedia of New York City. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300055366., p.210
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Famous residents of the Chelsea Hotel", The Telegraph (London), August 2, 2011
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "The 10 best Chelsea hotel moments" by Hermione Hoby, The Guardian, December 19, 2010
  5. ^ Miller, Arthur, "The Chelsea Affect", Granta #78: "Bad Company", Summer 2002
  6. ^ a b c New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Dolkart, Andrew S.; Postal, Matthew A. (2009). Postal, Matthew A. (ed.). Guide to New York City Landmarks (4th ed.). New York: John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-28963-1., p. 70
  7. ^ Gobrecht, Lawrence E. (April 20, 1977). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Hotel Chelsea". Archived from the original on October 8, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2010. and Accompanying three photos, exterior, from 1977 Archived October 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b c White, Norval & Willensky, Elliot (2000). AIA Guide to New York City (4th ed.). New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-8129-3107-5., p. 181
  9. ^ a b c d Nevius, Michelle & Nevius, James (2009), Inside the Apple: A Streetwise History of New York City, New York: Free Press, ISBN 141658997X p. 151
  10. ^ Rich, Nathaniel (October 8, 2013). "Where The Walls Still Talk". Vanity Fair. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  11. ^ Gray, Christopher (August 15, 2004). "Streetscapes/Philip Gengembre Hubert; The 19th-Century Innovator Who Invented the Co-op". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  12. ^ a b Federal Writers' Project (1939). New York City Guide. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-1-60354-055-1. (Reprinted by Scholarly Press, 1976; often referred to as WPA Guide to New York City.), p.153
  13. ^ "Stanley Bard, Former Owner and Manager of The Chelsea Hotel, Dies at 82" by Ed Hamilton,, February 14, 2017
  14. ^ Carmin, Craig (May 16, 2011). "Hotel Chelsea's New Proprietor". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  15. ^ Buckley, Cara (July 31, 2011). "A Last Night Among the Spirits at the Chelsea Hotel". The New York Times. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
  16. ^ Rovzar, Chris (July 27, 2011). "Hotel Chelsea No Longer Taking Reservations". New York. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  17. ^ a b Kilgannon, Corey (November 4, 2011). "City Room: First, No More Guests; Now, Chelsea Hotel Says No More Art". The New York Times.
  18. ^ Prendergast, Daniel; Connor, Tracy (October 22, 2011). "Chelsea Hotel demolition sparks Buildings Dept. probe after complaints from furious residents". New York Daily News.
  19. ^ "DOB finds no major violations in Hotel Chelsea renovation", The Real Deal (October 27, 2011)
  20. ^ "A New View at Chelsea Hotel" The Wall Street Journal (August 27, 2013)
  21. ^ "King & Grove reneges on Hotel Chelsea eviction vow: Tenants", The Real Deal, September 17, 2013
  22. ^ "Hotel Chelsea sale the latest in a string of deals for Born, Drukier and MacPherson" by Anthony Noto, New York Business Journal, November 2, 2016
  23. ^ Barron, James (March 29, 2018). "At El Quijote, One Last Helping of Charm, Kitsch and Memories". The New York Times.
  24. ^ "El Quijote". Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  25. ^ "Hotel Chelsea". Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  26. ^ a b c d Chamberlain, Lisa (June 19, 2007). "Change at the Chelsea, Shelter of the Arts". The New York Times. Retrieved August 26, 2022. For six decades the Bard family has managed the Hotel Chelsea, overseeing a bohemian enclave that has been a long-term home for writers, artists and musicians including Mark Twain, O. Henry, Tennessee Williams, Dylan Thomas, Andy Warhol, and Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen.
  27. ^ a b "10 great places to get on the road and feel the Beat", USA Today, March 10, 2006. Accessed December 16, 2007. "On the West Side, Kerouac and then-wife Joan Haverty lived at 454 W. 20th St., where he began writing her a long letter about his recent travels while she waited tables to support them: The letter became On the Road, "the bible of the Beat generation." He wrote the book itself at the Hotel Chelsea, later the last home of Herbert Huncke." This account of On the Road is disputed by Jeff Wallenfeldt in an article for Encyclopædia Britannica: "11 or 12 Things Remembered Well About the Chelsea Hotel",
  28. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Legends of Hotel Chelsea chronicled in new book that covers what inspired Andy Warhol, relegated Sid Vicious to 'junkies' floor' before he killed Nancy", review by Sherryl Connelly of Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York's Legendary Chelsea Hotel, New York Daily News, November 16, 2013
  29. ^ a b c "Hotel Chelsea, New York City, is a legend amongst past hotels and apartments",[dead link]
  30. ^ "Chelsea Hotel, New York review: A story behind every door" by Barry Divola,, undated
  31. ^ Midgette, Anne (September 6, 2005). "Arnold Weinstein, 78, a Poet and Collaborator on Operas, Is Dead". The New York Times.
  32. ^ Hamilton, Ed (July 12, 2006). "Catherine Leroy: 1946–2006". Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  33. ^ Koestenbaum, Wayne (1996). "Wayne Koestenbaum on James Schuyler".
  34. ^ Atlas, James (1977). Delmore Schwartz: The Life of An American Poet. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux. pp. 330–331. ISBN 978-0374137618.
  35. ^ "Weekend in the Sun" by Blake Bailey, Vanity Fair, February 28, 2013
  36. ^ a b "Ching Ho Cheng". David Zwirner Gallery. 2021. Retrieved December 27, 2021.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r "The Pretty Reckless Music Video in NYC",
  38. ^ Myers, Marc (November 29, 2016). " 'The Weight' by the Band's Robbie Robertson". The Wall Street Journal.
  39. ^ Hamilton, Ed (2007). Legends of the Chelsea Hotel. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press. pp. XV, 151. ISBN 978-1-56858-379-2. OCLC 680628325.
  40. ^ "How Leonard Cohen Met Janis Joplin: Inside Legendary Chelsea Hotel Encounter" by Jordan Runtagh, Rolling Stone, November 14, 2016
  41. ^ "Jobriath: Oh! You pretty thing" by Johann Hari, The Independent, 13 April 2004
  42. ^ The Kills on No Wow on YouTube, Yahoo Backspin
  43. ^ "Jefferson Airplane's Paul Kantner: 'We were like Columbus, exploring the world'&thinsp" by Nick Hasted, Uncut, January 29, 2016
  44. ^ Holly Williams (August 5, 2012). "Chroma chameleon: The bright essence of Frank Bowling's paintings floods his London home". The Independent. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  45. ^ Chelsea Hotel by Carter Tomassi,
  46. ^ Finnerty, Amy (August 19, 2007). "Jubilee City: A Memoir at Full Speed – Joe Andoe – Books – Review". The New York Times. Retrieved November 29, 2017.
  47. ^ "In The Studio: David Remfry" by Harry Mount, The Telegraph, 6 December 2005
  48. ^ Bartlett, Eliot (1989). Anchor to Windward. Harlackenden Press. p. 38.
  49. ^ "Stella Waitzkin", Kohler Foundation
  50. ^ "The Australian photographer inside a sanctuary for rebels" by Cat Woods, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 August 2020 (preview of Tony Notarberardino's photo collection Chelsea Portraits)
  51. ^ Kimmelman, Michael (November 26, 1988). "Alphaeus Cole, a Portraitist, 112". The New York Times. Retrieved December 5, 2007.
  52. ^ Dowd, Maureen (November 21, 1983). "The Chelsea Hotel, 'Kooky Buy[sic] Nice,' Turns 100". The New York Times.
  53. ^ "Who Will Remember The Shapshaks?",, September 14, 2007
  54. ^ "Charles James's Chelsea: Archival Evidence of an Artist's Life on 23rd Street" by Caitlin McCarthy, Metropolitan Museum of Art, November 30, 2016
  55. ^ "Elizabeth Hawes Dress Designer, Is Dead at 66". The New York Times. September 7, 1971. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 3, 2023.
  56. ^ Made in America: Four Fashion Designers on What It Takes To Do So Laurie Brookins, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 July 2017
  57. ^ "Brooklyn to Chelsea". Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  58. ^ "Portrait of Jason: Project Shirley Volume 2".
  59. ^ "One Man, Saved From Invisibility". The New York Times. April 14, 2013.
  60. ^ "Hotel Chelsea: Rock's Vortex Of 'Death and Destruction'" by Scott Hill, Wired, May 25, 2008
  61. ^ "Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel Review: An Elegy for the Bohemian Mystique" by Owen Gleiberman, Variety, July 9, 2022
  62. ^ "Reviews: Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel" by Marya E. Gates,, July 8, 2022
  63. ^ "Doors from New York City's famed Chelsea Hotel head to auction", CBS News, April 7, 2018
  64. ^ "Alejandro Escovedo's 'Chelsea Hotel '78' " by Rick Cornell, Indy Week, October 22, 2008
  65. ^ "Ryan Adams' Guide to New York City" by Steven Edelstone, The New York Observer, July 10, 2017
  66. ^ "Dear Abbie", lyrics,
  67. ^ "Like a Drug I Never Did Before", lyrics,
  68. ^ " 'The Chelsea Hotel' lyrics,
  69. ^ Lyrics
  70. ^
  71. ^ Lyrics of "The Chelsea Hotel Oral Sex Song" by Jeffrey Lewis,
  72. ^ Lyrics, "Godspeed" by Anberlin,
  73. ^ Lyrics, "Chelsea" by Phoebe Bridgers,
  74. ^ Lyrics, "Bruce Wayne Campbell Interviewed on the Roof of the Chelsea Hotel, 1979" by Okkervil River,

External links[edit]