The upcoming art show in the old Capitol Fishing Tackle storefront is being sponsored by a group called “No Longer Empty” which has the laudable goal of addressing two problems caused by the recession: empty retail spaces and the collapse of the art market. What they don’t seem to realize is that the Capitol space was not emptied by the recession, but by the greed of the very people now in charge of the hotel, Marlene Krauss and David Elder, who pressured Stanley Bard to more than double Capitol’s rent. This happened three years ago, during the boom, and the space is still empty, though not because of the recession, but because Krauss and Elder want it empty in order to increase the value of the building so they can sell it. Reportedly, they have turned down offers from two prospective tenants.
The “No Longer Empty” group doesn’t know much about the history of the building, which is obvious from their press release. They think the storefront next to Capitol (which they will also be using) contained a Tattoo Parlor. Actually, it was an Acupuncture Shop called Chelsea Healing, and it too was forced out by Krauss and Elder raising its rent through the roof. (Please note, Dylan Thomas did not die at the Hotel. And, I’ve never heard the hotel referred to as the “birthplace of punk”. Do they mean "the death of a punk?")
Both Capitol Fishing Tackle and Chelsea Healing are alive and well at new locations—hardly victims of the recession! Hey “No Longer Empty,” if you’re worried about spaces such as these being emptied, perhaps you should be fighting against economic booms, or better yet, if you’re really concerned about the Chelsea Hotel, against Krauss and Elder. – Ed Hamilton (Photo: Steve Sobczuk,Capitol Fishing Tackle 1967)