The Hotel Chelsea sits on West 23rd St. between 7th and 8th Ave., New York. I chanced upon it during a long trek around Manhattan.
Past residents have included Mark Twain, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, William S. Boroughs, Iggy Pop, Dennis Hopper, Jane Fonda, Jeff Beck, John Cale, Édith Piaf, Joni Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix, Nico and numerous others.
Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey here, Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road here, Alan Ginsberg hung out here, and Dylan Thomas died here, as did Nancy Spungen, etching the hotel’s name into the memory of anyone who grew up in the punk scene of the late 70s.
The week I arrived in NYC, the hotel had just begun running tours. I’d loved to have had a proper look around, but I was pushed for time and never made it back. The door staff were good enough to let me get a few quick shots in the foyer.
It sold up and shut its doors for refurbishment in 2011. All the original rooms and artworks have been ripped out, and arguments now rage over the preservation of this important slice of New York’s literary and artistic past.