|Location||222 West 23rd Street, Chelsea, Manhattan, New York City|
|Area||Less than one acre|
|Architect||Hubert, Pirsson and Company|
|Architectural style||Queen Anne Revival, Victorian Gothic|
|NRHP reference #||77000958|
|Added to NRHP||December 27, 1977|
|Designated NYCL||March 15, 1966|
The Hotel Chelsea - also called the Chelsea Hotel, or simply the Chelsea - is a historic New York City hotel and landmark built between 1883 and 1885, known primarily for the notability of its residents over the years. The 250-unit hotel is located at 222 West 23rd Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, in the neighborhood of Chelsea, Manhattan. The building has been a designated New York City landmark since 1966, and on the National Register of Historic Places since 1977.
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, and poets Allen Ginsberg 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, and where Nancy Spungen, girlfriend of Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, was found stabbed to death on October 12, 1978.Arthur Miller wrote a short piece, "The Chelsea Affect", describing life at the Chelsea Hotel in the early 1960s.
Built between 1884 and 1885 and opened for initial occupation in 1884, the twelve-story red-brick building that is now the Hotel Chelsea was one of the city's first private apartment cooperatives. It was designed by Philip Hubert of the firm of Hubert, Pirrson & Company in a style that has been described variously as Queen Anne Revival and Victorian Gothic. Among its distinctive features are the delicate, flower-ornamented iron balconies on its facade, which were constructed by J.B. and J.M. Cornell 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.
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. This early cooperative building had rental units to help defray costs, and also provided servants as part of the building staff. The success of this model led to other "Hubert Home Clubs," and the Chelsea was one of them. Initially successful, its surrounding neighborhood constituted the center of New York's theater district. 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.
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, and these partners managed the hotel together until the early 1970s. With the passing of Joseph Gross and Julius Krauss, the management fell to Stanley Bard (1934-2017), David Bard's son.
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.
As of August 1, 2011 although long-time residents were allowed to remain in the building, some of them protected by state rent regulations. The renovations prompted complaints to the city by the remaining tenants of health hazards caused by the construction. These were investigated by the city's Building Department, which found no major violations. 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. In 2013, Ed Scheetz became the Chelsea Hotel's new owner after buying back five properties from Joseph Chetrit, his partner in King & Grove Hotels, and David Bistricer. As of April 2019, the hotel still had not opened, despite the promise of a 2018 reopening date., the hotel stopped taking reservations for guests in order to begin renovations;
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.
During its lifetime Hotel Chelsea has provided a home to many famous writers and thinkers including Mark Twain,O. Henry,Herbert Huncke,Dylan Thomas,Arthur C. Clarke,Sam Shepard,Arthur Miller,Tennessee Williams,Jack Kerouac,Brendan Behan,Thomas Wolfe,Valerie Solanas,William S. Burroughs,Allen Ginsberg,Gregory Corso,Arnold Weinstein,
Charles R. Jackson, author of The Lost Weekend, committed suicide in his room on September 21, 1968.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.
The hotel has been a home to actors and film directors such as Stanley Kubrick, Shirley Clarke, Mitch Hedberg, Dave Hill, Milo? Forman, Lillie Langtry, Ethan Hawke,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, and Edie Sedgwick.
Much of the Hotel Chelsea's history has been colored by the musicians who have resided or visited there. Some of the most prominent names include the Grateful Dead, Nico, Tom Waits, Patti Smith,Jim Morrison,Iggy Pop, Alejandro Escovedo, Virgil Thomson, Chick Corea, Jeff Beck, Dee Dee Ramone,Johnny Thunders, Mink DeVille, Marianne Faithfull,Cher, John Cale, Édith Piaf, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan,Robbie Robertson,Alice Cooper, Bette Midler, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Canned Heat, Sid Vicious, Richard Barone, and Rufus Wainwright.Madonna lived at the Chelsea in the early 1980s, returning in 1992 to shoot photographs for her book, Sex, in room 822.Leonard Cohen, who lived in room 424, and Janis Joplin, in room 411, had an affair there in 1968, and Cohen later wrote two songs about it, "Chelsea Hotel" and "Chelsea Hotel #2".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.The Kills wrote much of their album No Wow at the Chelsea presumably between the years 2003 to 2005.
The hotel has featured and collected the work of the many visual artists who have passed through. Frank Bowling,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),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),Francesco Clemente,Julian Schnabel,Joe Andoe,David Remfry,Diego Rivera, Robert Crumb, Ellen Cantor, Jasper Johns, Tom Wesselmann, Claes Oldenburg, Herbert Gentry, Willem de Kooning, Robert Mapplethorpe (room 1017, with Patti Smith),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 Everett Smith lived and died in Room 328. 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. The sculptor René Shapshak and his wife lived here; his bust of Harry Truman and reliefs were in the lobby.
Charles James, credited with being America's first couturier who influenced fashion in the 1940s and 1950s, moved into the Chelsea in 1964. He died there of pneumonia in 1978. When Billy Reid started his brand in 1998, it was a one-man operation; he lived in the Garment Center, while a room at the Chelsea served as an office, studio and showroom.
Several survivors of the Titanic stayed for some time in this hotel as it is a short distance from Pier 54, the White Star Line dock where the Titanic was supposed to dock. The Chelsea was also home to many sailors returning from their duties in World War I.
The hotel has been featured in:
The hotel is featured in many songs, including:
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.