New York’s Chelsea Hotel Story

Anyone who has ever toured the architecture of a city knows how many stories a seemingly simple building may hide. The matter is even more interesting when it comes to beautiful, decadent old buildings, which were around for centuries or millennia. Even the most mundane building has a story or two to share if it has been around for a while. But what about buildings that are filled to the brim with interesting stories, events, and even mysteries? What can we learn from them? One of such places is New York’s Chelsea Hotel, which has gathered quite a reputation over its almost 130-year-long history.

Basic information

The Chelsea Hotel is a New York hotel that has become very well-known for the residents that have stayed in it over the years. It is located in Manhattan, and for over half a century, the building has been regarded as a national landmark. In the past, this hotel was home to many famous residents, who lived (and many who died) in it. Today, there are no more long-term residents, but their stories and their legacy are very well known. In 2011, the hotel has undergone renovations, and it is yet to be reopened, despite many opening dates that were proposed over the years.

The hotel’s history

This twelve-story building was built between 1884 and 1885, and it was initially open to residents in 1884. The style it was built in was described as something between American Gothic and Queen Anne Revival, a masterpiece of American architecture, and the tallest building in New York at the time. The height record was quickly surpassed by the New York Times building, but the charm of the hotel persists even today. The iron-barred balconies of the hotel are decorated with flower ornaments. Inside the building, there is a massive staircase which spans all twelve floors of the hotel, but which nowadays is not open to all guests. Fortunately, some tours are made once a month for any interested tourists that wish to experience the hotel’s charm to the fullest.

Notable residents of the hotel

One of the things that this hotel is most famous for is the number of celebrities and artists that have gone through it over the years, finding either inspiration or doom within its doors. This legendary building has inspired generations of artists, including the legendary Mark Twain, who was one of its first residents; some years later, the beat generation sought refuge here –it is said that Jack Kerouac wrote On the Road while staying at the Chelsea, in no more than three weeks. Alongside Kerouac, the hotel also hosted Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Arthur Miller, Sid Vicious, and many other artists who found inspiration or love within its walls. Some of them stayed only briefly, while some stayed longer. Arthur Miller spent 6 years at the Chelsea, writing two plays after his break-up with Marilyn Monroe


Interesting stories of the residents

Many great masterpieces were created in the hotel. Kerouac and Miller were not the only ones to write on the premises; Arthur C. Clarke wrote the entire 2001: A Space Odyssey in the hotel. Leonard Cohen dedicated Chelsea Hotel n.2 to his time spent at the Chelsea. One of the most famous pop culture references to the hotel is the movie Chelsea Girls from 1966, directed by Andy Warhol at the hotel. Many people also met their end here: Dylan Thomas was found dead, Nancy Spungen, the girlfriend of Sid Vicious from the Sex Pistols, was found stabbed to death in 1978. All interesting events were temporarily stopped when the hotel was closed for renovation, but we hope that the Chelsea will continue to be an inspiration to artists in the US.