Writer James Tata stayed at the Hotel Chelsea earlier this year. On his blog he wrote, "The Chelsea, you see, is a residence hotel, and such places have their share of interesting people. Like the guy down the hall from my room sitting in a folding directors' chair, wearing sunglasses...indoors. He gave off a vibe of never leaving the building. Or the woman who, one morning as I was going down the stairs, said, "You must not be from New York, because New Yorkers never take the stairs" in the dreamy, disconnected voice of the troubled. None of this bothered me too much..." Well, of course, a few boheminans wouldn't bother anybody, but those rats scratching in the wall, that's a whole other story. He ended his review by writing "between that faint but evocative scratching (of a rat) and the failed quasi-bohemians for whom the Chelsea is a permanent purgatory, my experience of the place didn't exactly make me feel like I was communing with Twain, Smith, Dylan, or Burroughs." Thanks for rubbing it in dude!
What do you do? I write technical manuals (for money) and fiction (for sanity).
What inspired you to stay at the Chelsea? In general, its legendary role as the place where so many works have been written, and, in particular, probably because of Bob Dylan's "Sara."
What’s your favorite Hotel Chelsea story? The one about Janis Joplin recounted in Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel No. 2," especially as sung by Rufus Wainwright.
Has your writing been influenced by any former or current residents?
Probably not. If only.
What was the best/worst thing that happened to you during your stay?
The best thing that happened was getting a room on one hour's notice. The worst was hearing a rat scratching inside the wall.
Would you stay here again?
Yes. Good rates, great location, and there's that Larry Rivers painting in the lobby. I feel very affectionate towards the strange stay I had there. (Photo: Elvert Barnes Hotel Chelsea Set)