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Thread: Hotel Chelsea - 222 West 23rd Street - Chelsea - by Hubert, Pirsson and Co.

  1. #16

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    Freewheelin' Bob Dylan Renovation Has Hotel Chelsea Angry

    Thursday, December 4, 2008, by Joey



    According to Hotel Chelsea blog Living with Legends, a long Stop Work Order was recently lifted when hotel management received permits from the Buildings Department to renovate the kitchens and bathrooms in two rooms on the second floor of the West 23rd Street landmark. One of those rooms, #211, is where Bob Dylan lived when he wrote Blonde on Blonde. The room "looked much as it did when Dylan lived there" in the '60s, according to Living With Legends, at least until this week. LWL has current photos, and we're talkin' a bit more than some tweaks to the kitchen and bathroom. In fact, the place looks trashed. It's a bit hard to tell from the artsy photo above (this is the Chelsea, after all), so check the shots after the jump for full-on Dylan destructoporn. Needless to say, the DOB is being swarmed with complaints about the work.



    · Bob Dylan's Room Desecrated by Corporate Vandals [LWL]
    · Hotel Chelsea coverage [Curbed]

    http://curbed.com/archives/2008/12/0...angry.php#more

    Copyright © 2008 Curbed

  2. #17
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    A view inside room 211 at the Chelsea Hotel, Bob Dylan’s former digs,
    where construction work resulted in the city issuing a Stop Work Order.

    City halts work on Dylan’s Chelsea Hotel room

    By Scott Stiffler

    The long-planned renovations under way at the Chelsea Hotel are bringing into question how, and to what extent, the landmark W. 23rd St. building’s culturally relevant past will be preserved. Recent events have increased tensions between management, charged with upgrading the infrastructure, and tenants, who voice claims of illegal construction, health hazards and disregard for the history new management has pledged to honor.

    The Living with Legends blog, run by Chelsea Hotel resident Ed Hamilton, set off media frenzy last week with entries and photos documenting unauthorized construction in room 211. Tipped off by Hamilton’s reporting, the saga was covered by the New York Post and Fox 5 news, as well as a host of other media outlets.

    Room 211 is where Bob Dylan wrote much of his “Blonde on Blonde” album, and Dylan even name-drops the experience in his song “Sara”: “I’d taken the cure and had just gotten through / Stayin’ up days in the Chelsea Hotel / Writin’ ‘Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands’ for you.”

    Although tenants and other media have advocated for Dylan’s room to remain undisturbed, management has neither a mandate nor a legal obligation to preserve the space in honor of its famous former tenant. It does, however, have to abide by rules set forth in its construction permit—which was placed on hold last week when the city Department of Buildings issued a Stop Work Order. Complaints to the DOB have increased significantly lately, and 16 of this year’s 36 have occurred since September, according to the DOB Web site.

    Referring to the events of last week, a DOB spokesperson confirmed that “The Buildings Department issued a Stop Work Order on December 4 for working beyond the scope of the approved plans.” Those approved plans allowed only for kitchen and bathroom renovation to rooms 203 and 211. According to Hamilton, workers who took sledgehammers to room 211 caused dust to be “broadcast throughout the building. In one resident’s apartment, three floors up, white dust hung in the air and thickly coated every surface in the kitchen, living room and bedroom, forcing the resident to flee the apartment out of concerns for his health.”

    Hamilton noted that immediately following the Dec. 4 Stop Work Order, construction crews “were back at it again on Friday and then on Saturday morning, this time in Room 203,” he wrote. “The DOB had to send out an Emergency Response Team to shut them down again!”

    Requests for comment from manager Andrew Tilley went unanswered, as was a request to specify the role taken on by a recent addition to the staff, director of engineering Larry McLaughlin.

    After speaking with Hamilton last week, a staff member from State Sen. Tom Duane’s office contacted the Buildings Department, and the Stop Work Order was issued the following day. Duane aide Colin Casey said that the hotel’s permits filed with DOB list the building as a multiple dwelling, even though it should be considered a single-room occupancy (SRO). An SRO designation would require the building to obtain a Certificate of No Harassment from the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to move forward with work.

    “Whether the makeup of the building necessitates a Certificate of No Harassment before major work is done—that’s sort of the crux of the issue,” Duane said, adding that granting of the certificate would require interviews with current and past tenants.

    “It’s an arduous process that HPD goes through.”

    http://www.chelseanow.com/cn_116/cityhalts.html


  3. #18
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Sad ^ Not so much that Dylan's old Room 211 is being changed, but that the new owner is using tried-and-true harassment techniques such as allowing "work beyond the scope of the permit" to make life for long-term tenants unbearable and hazaardous in an effort to run them out and break their leases.

  4. #19
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    May 3, 2009
    Chelsea

    In Room 100, It’s Sid and Nancy All Over Again

    By SAKI KNAFO


    “As close to real life as I could make it,” Michael Brown says of his virtual Chelsea Hotel.


    BY consensus, the Hotel Chelsea is not the hub of bohemian life it used to be. Two summers ago, Stanley Bard, the beloved longtime manager, was replaced by a corporate management team. Rents rose, artists left.

    Those who managed to stay were confronted by a battery of disturbing changes: The pigeonhole mailboxes behind the front desk were removed, and Bob Dylan’s old room underwent renovations.
    But now, thanks to Second Life, a 3-D virtual world on the Internet, the hotel’s spirit lives on.

    Second Life is a multiuser virtual environment, a computer program that lets online users construct settings and hang out in them, using video-game-like characters called avatars. One of the settings on Second Life is a replica of the Chelsea that was created three weeks ago by Michael Brown, an Internet technology support manager and singer-songwriter living in rural southwestern Pennsylvania.

    Mr. Brown, 42, learned about the Chelsea while growing up in a small town and listening to punk rock, and he has fantasized about living there ever since.

    When he visited New York last year, he spent a weekend at the hotel, and when he got home, he used photographs he had taken to construct a version of the building in Second Life. Two weeks ago, he notified Ed Hamilton, a resident of the hotel who runs chelseahotelblog.com, of his creation.

    A few days later, Mr. Hamilton posted on his blog a description of the virtual hotel. At Mr. Brown’s Chelsea, Mr. Hamilton happily reported, it was as if the upheaval of the past few years had never taken place.

    “The old mailboxes are still here,” he wrote. And Mr. Bard, he added, is “firmly installed behind his desk.”

    One recent evening, a visitor logging on to Second Life was greeted by Mr. Brown, or rather, his online avatar, Mykal Skall, wearing a black blazer and matching goatee. After pointing out the hotel’s red-brick exterior, Mykal proceeded into the ground-floor lounge, where several dozen hip-looking avatars had gathered for a poetry reading.

    In reality, there is no official performance space on the ground floor. But Mr. Brown says, “The rest of this hotel is as close to real life as I could make it.”

    After listening to a few poems, Mykal headed into the lobby, where abstract paintings hung on the walls. Though Mr. Bard wasn’t around, a Bard family photograph made it clear that the former manager was still in charge.

    Mykal then climbed a flight of stairs and opened the door to Room 100. There was a bloodstain on the bed, and a bass guitar leaned against a wall.
    “This is where Sid and Nancy stayed when Nancy was killed,” Mykal noted, in an allusion to Sid Vicious, the Sex Pistols’ bassist, and his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.

    After Ms. Spungen’s death, in 1978, the hotel divided Room 100 into two rooms.

    “They didn’t want it to become a shrine,” Mykal said, “but I decided to leave it as a crime scene.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/03/ny...ml?ref=thecity

  5. #20

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    At the Hotel Chelsea: Every Website Needs a Little Black Dress

    Tuesday, May 12, 2009, by Joey



    For the second time in its current turbulent era of rotating managers and ownership squabbles, the Hotel Chelsea has launched a redesigned web presence. Our attention is immediately drawn to "The Chelsea" section, which, the Hotel Chelsea Blog points out, could use a light edit (the first sentence is particularly perplexing). According to the site, guided tours of the landmark bohemian enclave will start back up again on June 1, and at a cost of $40 a head, that better be the ghost of Nancy Spungen lying in wait for photo opps and a Q&A.

    · The Hotel Chelsea [Official Site]

    · Hotel Chelsea Website Undergoes Second Redesign: Bard Family Still Missing [LWL]

    http://curbed.com/archives/2009/05/1...lack_dress.php

    Copyright © 2004-2009 Curbed Network

  6. #21
    NYC Aficionado from Oz Merry's Avatar
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    Bard doc celebrates man who made the Chelsea Hotel

    By Patrick Hedlund

    "It was my duty to help the people who weren’t as fortunate,” says longtime Chelsea Hotel manager Stanley Bard of the king-size personalities, both infamous and obscure, he nurtured during his half-decade at the hotel’s helm.

    The statement is one of many made by Bard in a collection of interviews conducted by resident-artist Sam Bassett, whose newest directorial effort, “Stanley Bard,” premiered on Sun., Oct. 18, as part of the Royal Flush Film Festival at the Anthology Film Archives.

    The feature-length documentary, in which Bard recounts his 50 years overseeing the landmark lodge, acts as a paean to the man who created an iconic sanctuary for artists, actors, musicians and creative types on W. 23rd St.

    “You’re really protected here,” says resident/writer Victor Bockris in the film, crediting Bard with saving his artistic life.

    Bassett has focused on tenants at the hotel for some of his other documentaries, but “Bard” offers a voyeuristically unmatched glimpse into the Chelsea’s legendary psyche—via the admittedly “straight-laced” manager who somehow managed to balance, and encourage, the incredible forces inhabiting his hotel.

    Bard’s encyclopedic memory of the bold names who spent time at the Chelsea reads like a who’s-who of cultural influencers throughout the decades—from Arthur C. Clarke and Arthur Miller, to Roy Lichtenstein, Jimi Hendrix and Allen Ginsberg.

    The manager poignantly recounts how some of the Chelsea’s more spectacular happenings throughout the years—like the filming of Andy Warhol’s tribute to the hotel, “Chelsea Girls,” and Bard reluctantly allowing dance choreographer Katherine Dunham to rehearse with live animals in her room—initially gave him great anxiety, but ultimately established the hotel as a barometer for the zeitgeist.

    The funniest moments in the film come when Bard, listing off the prominent names of former tenants, refers to “the Grateful Dead, a music group” and “Janis Joplin, a singer,” as if they require description.

    Fittingly, the film is interspersed with shots of Bassett’s own art projects at the hotel, a testament to the legacy Bard left behind when he was ousted as manager in 2007.

    Both the filmmaker and his subject participated in a question-and-answer session after the screening, with Bard expressing hope for the hotel’s future as an artists’ enclave despite recent management’s attempts to capitalize on it as a tourist destination.

    “I’ve been involved with it for 60, 70 years, and I really feel confident in the hotel, its tenants,” Bard said. “It’s going to survive, and if I have anything to do with it, it absolutely will.”

    When asked if the Chelsea continues to accept long-term residents, which is doesn’t, Bard responded that he hopes new management will have a change of heart.

    “I’m not happy with the new regime and their philosophy,” he said. “That’s why Sam and I got so friendly and probably made this [film], because of that. I like people that love living in the hotel, and I love people that stayed there. … I hope they change their minds, these associates of mine, because they have a very different idea. They have the corporate image. I’m not a corporate person, so I hope I can convince them to see the light.”

    http://www.chelseanow.com/articles/2...1854510128.txt

  7. #22
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    At Chelsea Hotel, advertising artists amid evictions

    By Patrick Hedlund

    A blurb in the “History” section of the Chelsea Hotel’s recently revamped Web site touts some of the countless boldfaced bohemians to have taken up residence at the legendary W. 23rd St. lodge. There are obligatory mentions of Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan, as well as artists Larry Rivers and Willem de Kooning.

    After trotting out a few more marquee names on the newly burnished site, like playwright Eugene O’Neil [sic] and composer Virgil Thompson [sic], the write-up concludes, simply: “Who will be next?”

    Judging by the hotel’s policy to stop renting to long-term residents—a practice that ended with the controversial ouster of 50-year manager Stanley Bard two-and-a-half years ago—it’s not actually tenants of the aforementioned group’s artistic pedigree that the Chelsea wants staying inside.

    In fact, some of the hotel’s more high-profile permanent residents working in the arts are now being shown the door following a recent round of eviction proceedings pursued by management. Renters like multimedia artist Sam Bassett, filmmakers Steve Willis and Jeff Courtney, and West Chelsea gallerists Robert Miller and Daniel Reich have been served eviction papers over the past couple months, threatening to further deplete the building of its franchise character.

    Chelsea minority shareholders David Elder and Marlene Krauss, descendants of the hotel’s original owners, wrested managerial control away from the famously artist-friendly Bard in 2007, and have since made clear their intention to lure tourists in by playing off the Chelsea’s reputation as a sanctuary for art and its makers.

    So, despite the hotel’s continued attempts to trade on its cachet as a magnet for creative types—including the recent recruitment of a high-powered public-relations firm to pitch stories about the hotel’s history—management appears to have no plans of preserving the critical mass of artists currently contributing to the Chelsea’s legacy.

    “This place, it’s not exactly inexpensive, depending on what your situation is,” said Bassett, who pays $7,500 per month to inhabit the hotel’s 10th-floor penthouse apartment once occupied by actress Sarah Bernhardt. He negotiated a two-year sublease with Bard just before the manager’s expulsion—passing the gatekeeper’s famously stringent approval process for allowing in long-term tenants—and immediately began to flourish as a filmmaker and friend to the hotel’s artistic community.

    During Bassett’s time at the hotel, the 32-year-old produced, directed and edited six feature-length documentary films, including tributes to elderly tenants like reclusive artist Bettina Grossman and drag performer/civil rights activist Stormé DeLarverie. (“Bettina,” his film about Grossman, chronicles how Bassett befriended the aging and isolated artist, helping to organize her vast, scattered body of work in order to stave off eviction.)

    Bassett’s original sublease expired this past summer, and management followed up with its eviction case in October. He noted that the hotel initially served papers the day after he premiered his most recent documentary, “Stanley Bard,” which lovingly profiles the exiled manager’s half-century at the helm.

    But rather than engaging management to try to negotiate a new lease—which Bassett believes would be feeding into the ongoing battle between the hotel’s staunch pro-Bard tenants and the current regime—he has decided walk away without protest.

    “If they don’t understand, if they don’t get it, I’m very grateful for the two-and-a-half years I’ve been here,” he said recently from the hotel’s rooftop next to his apartment overlooking W. 23rd St., where a longstanding garden was dismantled nearly a year ago per city order—a move some suspect was initiated by management as part of a plan to bring a bar to the penthouse. “To observe the effect of people fighting for their space and fighting for things, it kills the beauty of the creative spirit. And for me, there’s a whole world out there, and I think the best thing one could do is realize that it’s not about where you live, it’s about what you do, about your follow-through—how epic can you go in your creation.”

    One of Bassett’s biggest contributions to the hotel, depending on whom you ask, might be caring for some of the Chelsea’s aging permanent tenants. In addition to helping the elderly Grossman tidy up her unorganized and overstuffed apartment, he also agreed to look after the 90-year-old DeLarverie to ensure she keeps a healthy lifestyle and, consequently, her room.

    “There’s nobody taking care of these people,” said Bassett, who introduced the world, or at least select audiences, to Grossman’s prodigious body of work in his film.

    For her part, the primarily wheelchair-bound Grossman does not want to see Bassett go. “I hate it,” she said of the news of his imminent departure. “A woman needs protection, and Sam is a great protector.”

    Bassett, whose résumé also includes photography and his original tape sculpture designs that grace some of the hotel’s walls, has spent all his days at the Chelsea during the tumultuous reign of Elder and Krauss. The pair’s stewardship has been marked by failed attempts to install a permanent management team and vocal resistance from some long-term residents who see the shareholders’ efforts to convert the hotel into a boutique operation as erasing the very heritage management is trying to trumpet.

    “These people have really created a poisonous atmosphere, and I’m up here [in the penthouse], and it’s somewhat protected, but you still have to come through this building,” Bassett said of the battleground that is the Chelsea today. With curly blond hair dangling deep past his shoulders, he speaks about the creative process with a buoyant idealism that is only offset by a growing fear for his building’s future.

    “If you don’t protect those people and if you’re not sensitive enough to understand those people, then you lose it,” Basset added of the Chelsea’s fading identity. “Then the next thing you know you’ve got a hotel that maybe at two different periods has been magnificent, but is basically like a Holiday Inn.”

    Elder—the hotel’s vice president who assumed daily front-desk duties in early 2009 after the resignation of a second consecutive outside manager—said all the eviction proceedings amount to standard landlord procedure for residents who don’t pay rent. “I think what’s going on here is not different than any other place,” he said. “People are falling behind on their rent, and that’s pretty much what you’re dealing with. At a certain point, we have to respond to that. I don’t know if there’s anything extraordinary going on here.”

    Added Krauss, the hotel’s president, “most any business has the right to ask the people who are staying there to pay their rent.”

    It wasn’t long ago that Elder arranged a month-long stay for a Canadian artist in exchange for a pair of paintings, and he recently oversaw the installation of a new plaque at the hotel’s entrance commemorating the residency of musician/poet Leonard Cohen. This is in addition to offering one of the building’s vacant ground-floor retail spaces for an art show in June—an exhibition that included some of Bassett’s work—and reinstituting guided tours through the hotel that pass by some of his tape sculptures. (An image in the Chelsea’s November “Concierge Newsletter” even features one of Bassett’s designs in the background.)

    “Overall we do think we are supportive [of the artist residents],” stated Elder, who noted his own father, Lonnie Elder, is a celebrated screenwriter and the first African American to earn an Academy Award nomination for best screenplay. The evictions are “kind of normal practice for what buildings do in these situations,” he added, regardless of a tenant’s notoriety.

    While Bassett’s eviction case seemingly stems from an expired lease, the other tenants’ situations all come down to “issues of rent,” Elder said. Management has pursued similar mass evictions in the past—acknowledging in court papers its desire to reclaim and renovate more than 15 percent of the long-term tenants’ rooms for transient use—but few until this point have so noticeably targeted artist residents.

    Scott Griffin, a producer who’s lived at the hotel for 16 years and heads up the tenants’ association, said management “is really trying to provoke people into being late on their rent” by not actively collecting monthly payments and then following up with eviction proceedings. “Judging from the paperwork that I’ve seen, including my own, it appears that David Elder may be keeping two sets of books and that he has simply lost track of what the actual record is,” Griffin claimed. “The arrears in question appear to be grossly exaggerated, probably to boost the earnings projections of the hotel for the shareholders.”

    He noted that “abysmal” occupancy rates and a failed business plan have led management to scramble to make up the difference. “Desperate people do desperate things,” Griffin said. “They’re lucky to make payroll.”

    Most of the half-dozen or so other tenants eyed for eviction either refused to speak on the record, citing the sensitivity of the proceedings, or did not return requests for comment. Some, including Steve Willis and Daniel Reich, had their cases cleared or are currently negotiating with management.

    Reich’s eviction, which is apparently on hold as Elder “worked something out with him,” seems curious if only because the gallerist organized multiple exhibitions at the hotel throughout his nearly five-year residence. Reich did not return multiple calls for comment.

    Bard had handpicked Robert Miller, a West Chelsea gallerist who also lives on the 10th floor, to move in at the end of 2006, just before Bassett arrived. He lives in the former studio of renowned painter John Sloan.

    Filmmaker and 15-year resident Jeff Courtney lives next door to the room once occupied by Bob Dylan on the second floor. A minor firestorm erupted last year when the city learned the hotel had performed illegal renovation work on the room without proper permits, resulting in the filing of a Stop Work Order to cease construction.

    With so many questions over how the hotel plans to overhaul the building as part of its once-stated $15 million capital improvement plan, one could speculate that Bassett, Miller and Courtney’s rooms sit in opportune locations for renovation to transient use.

    Neither Elder nor Krauss would comment specifically on possible plans for a penthouse bar, though Krauss did say currently “there’s no plans to build anything on the roof.”

    As for Bassett, he intends to leave at the end of January for a destination unknown. Tenants’ artistic credentials might have been enough to admit or protect them at the Chelsea in the past, but fighting against forces unwilling to appreciate the “magic” these residents provide runs counterintuitive to the creative lifestyle, he explained.

    “My heart is to stay, and one would hope that the people at the helm would realize who they’re kicking out,” he said. “They should look at the plaques on the front of the building and look at the work that those people did and analyze history to be able to see who they’re dealing with, but they’ve not done that. And in them not doing that, they’ve created a very poisonous environment for many people who are very sensitive and very scared. And when fear enters the artistic sphere for artists, that’s a bad combination. There can be no fear.”

    http://www.chelseanow.com/articles/2...4113230483.txt

  8. #23

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    They had to destroy the Chelsea in order to save it.

  9. #24

    Default Chelsea hotel

    I hear the Chelsea hotel was put on the market. Owner says it would be to expensive to modernize. Does that mean somebody is going to buy it, knock it down and put up a new tower. That would be great.

  10. #25

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    I assume you're being ironic. ^

  11. #26
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    One could only wish.

    psssst, bc: Landmarked.

  12. #27
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    There's another thread with more about the Chelsea.

    Thank goodness it's landmarked . I love the exterior, especially the balconies.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_Chelsea

    End of an Era as Iconic Hotel Chelsea Hits the Market

  13. #28

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    It does need a good, head to toe renovation. A big problem is that there are a number of rent regulated tenants that need getting rid of.

  14. #29
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Buy 'em out. The law allows that. Otherwise they get to stay as long as they pay their rent.

  15. #30

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    ^ That means the buyer had better get a good price.

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