The bad situation at the Star Lounge, where fights have been spilling out into the street for months, has finally reached crisis proportions.In the early morning hours of Saturday, March 20, ChelseaHotel residents were kept awake for several hours by constant yelling and screaming as at least three fights broke out in front of Star Lounge. (We have video which we'll post a little later.) Then, the next night, in the early hours of Sunday, March 21, another fight broke out, the battle becoming so intense that a fifteen-foot section of the historic cast iron railing in front of the hotel was snapped off at its base.
(Photo by Michele Zalopany)
The problem is long-running and systemic: quite simply, there’s no one in charge at the ChelseaHotel.The hotel security sees no need to maintain safety in front of the hotel, or to even call the police, deferring to the bouncers of Star Lounge, who couldn’t care less if gangs run wild up and down 23rd Street.And why should they care?Neither Charles Ferri nor David Elder has any authority over them.
The increasing atmosphere of uncontrolled, unsupervised violence has become a danger to ChelseaHotel residents, and to all residents of the Chelsea Neighborhood.Star Lounge patrons, too, could have been crushed by the heavy iron railing, which apparently fell down the stairs into the Star Lounge entrance. Imagine the lawsuit which would have resulted from that! (Luckily, the hotel video camera should have captured this incident.The tapes must be reviewed to determine who is responsible. )
Order must be restored, and the place to start is at the top.Ultimately, the buck stops with Elder, who has to be able to control what goes on in the storefronts of the Chelsea.If Charles Ferri insists on “running” this type of lawless establishment (or maybe “collecting the money” would be a more appropriate phrase), it’s up to Elder to give him his walking papers.Elder, who clearly enjoys the trappings of authority, such as expensive suits and the attention of opportunistic sycophants, needs to step up to the plate and actually manage the hotel, or else he needs to step aside and find someone who can do his job properly.The obvious solution is to bring back David Bard.
Due to continued interest in David Elder’s harebrained scheme to open two bars in the Chelsea Hotel lobby—one in Stanley’s office and the other behind the front desk(!?)—and maybe an Argentinean restaurant somewhere or other in the hotel, we felt it was time to give our readers a summary of what has occurred:
On February 8, Elder failed to show up for the meeting (Chelsea Now Feb 25-March 10).Had he shown the courage of his money-grubbing convictions, he would have been met with stern opposition from concerned ChelseaHotel residents.Undeterred by Elder’s absence, these residents made it clearto the Committee that they would not tolerate the transformation of the Chelsea Hotel’s famous lobby—which is used by children, the elderly and the disabled—into a noisy hotspot for hipsters.The Committee gave Elder one more chance to appear and state his case at the Committee meeting on March 8, saying that if he didn’t show this time they would recommend that his application be denied.
In related news, Star Lounge owner Charles Ferri (now in partnership with Noel Ashman, though Ashman sometimes denies it , received a recommendation for a liquor license renewal from the full Community Board on March 3, though not without many important stipulations being appended, including: that the present security firm be replaced; that the line queue west away from the hotel doors; lounge patrons will be kept out of the lobby and away from the front door; no velvet ropes; no outside promoters; no drinking or smoking near the lounge entrance; Ferri will provide a telephone number for complaints; Ferri and the new security firm will meet with residents.
This at least shows that the Community Board is somewhat responsive to resident’s concerns. -- Ed Hamilton
Mike Skall, an adopted Chelseaite weighs in with his take on the struggle to save the last outpost of Bohemia. May more like him rise from the ashes of the Chelsea's burned-out junky soul. Click on the banner to play Chelsea Hotel #9.