Since we haven’t posted on the blog in awhile, we thought it was time for an update. Non-union workers have been busy on almost all floors, completely gutting all unoccupied rooms. The demolished rooms, now just empty shells, include, on our floor alone: the room where Madonna filmed her Sex book in 1980; the last residence of Thomas Wolfe (seen at right), where he wrote You Can’t Go Home Again in 1938; Dee Dee Ramone’s last room at the Chelsea; and the tiny room where Beat writer Herbert Huncke was living when he died in 1996. The room where Arthur Miller lived for ten years in the 1960s, writing his great play "After the Fall, has also been wiped out with no regard for its historical importance.
The construction has been extremely disruptive: residents have been treated to a virtually non-stop assault of noise. Clouds of dust (which have tested positive for carcinogens) swirl through our halls, and carts of rubble block our doorways. Several apartments have been flooded, and some residents have had their electricity cut off for days at a stretch.
Eviction attempts have heated up, with several new cases being brought against tenants, including families with young children.
We also recently found out that Chetrit’s silent partner in the demolition of the Chelsea is none other than scandal-plagued hotelier Ed Scheetz, whose girlfriend was discovered dead of an overdose, at his penthouse in the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel.
Finally, on December 8, at approximately 2 PM, tenant activist Arthur Nash was assaulted on the third floor of the hotel for showing union reps around the building and for attempting to film the non-union demolition crew (both activities protected by the First Amendment). Approximately ten minutes later, when Nash was leaving the hotel, he found that at least a dozen workers were lying in wait for him outside. They verbally abused him and his girlfriend, chasing them down 23rd Street to 7th Ave., where they assaulted Nash again. When I attempted to intervene, I was attacked as well. Both Nash and I were treated at Beth Israel and released.