The Bard family has been good to Patti Smith, helping her out at two difficult times in her life. The first time, in the late sixties when she was a struggling, unknown poet, Stanley Bard gave her and her friend Robert Mappelthorpe a place to stay so they could get out of the drug and vermin infested Allerton Hotel. The second time, in the late nineties, after the tragic death of her husband, Stanley came through with an apartment yet again. It is with great sadness, therefore, that we reprint the following invitation, which showed up in our Chelsea Hotel mailbox just yesterday.
Patti must not know that the person sponsoring her upcoming event, Joseph Chetrit, is the same developer who took Stanley Bard’s beloved Chelsea Hotel away from him and his family. And surely she is unaware that this is the same Joseph Chetrit whose demolition crews recently gutted over a hundred historic Chelsea Hotel rooms. Finally, if she hasn’t been in some way deceived, we know there’s no way in hell Patti would give a concert in support of a man, Joseph Chetrit, who is presently trying to evict almost thirty Chelsea Hotel residents using both housing and Supreme court.
We love Patti and her music, and we would love to see her concert, just not under these circumstances. And so we call on Patti, now that she knows the truth, to cancel this event.
Union workers erected a large rat in front of the Chelsea Hotel today to protest Joseph Chetrit's use of non-union labor to demolish the interior of the hotel. Former Hotel workers had long been union members but in August when the Chelsea Hotel was in the process of changing ownership, the union workers arrived at the Hotel to find they had been locked out. Then they were given a one day notice and fired. Though promised a severance package, the maids, clerks, engineers, and bellmen of the Chelsea, many of whom had worked at the Hotel for decades have to this date, received nothing. Actually, it was not one but two tenants who were assaulted. Additionally, we have received several reports of tenants being verbally harassed by the non-union demolition workers.
Lost our lease!Everything must go!Stanley was famous for renting the room where Madonna shot her Sex book to Material Girl-worshiping hipsters with stars in their eyes.Lately, however, sex alone has not been paying the bills.In response, general manager Arnold Tamasar has revealed a new marketing strategy: Celebrity Death Tourism. (And maybe a little sex thrown in for good measure.) For bargain basement prices, you can stay in the room where a drug-addled Sid Vicious killed a drug-befuddled Nancy Spungen—or at least a room with the couple’s infamous bathroom attached.And if you can’t afford to go the whole hog, the hotel now sells Sid dolls at the front desk.(Complete with tiny leather jacket, sure, but how about a tiny hypodermic needle?You’ll have to ask the concierge.)Wear your black fingernail polish and light a candle for the Romeo and Juliet of punk.
Substance-abusing punks not your cup of tea?Ask to stay in the tiny room where Dylan Thomas collapsed after a night of hard drinking at the White Horse tavern.Bet you can’t beat his record of 18 whiskeys!Speaking of lovable alcoholics, Charles Jackson, author of The Lost Weekend bit the big one here as well—a suicide, double the fun!(Don’t try this at home, kids!Though really, don’t try it here either.)
If you don’t have time to spend the night (or simply fear for your safety and/or sanity), book a spot on the Big Apple Death tour, as the Chelsea Hotel is now on the itinerary.You’ll travel in style, making the rounds of the city in a decommissioned (we hope) 1967 hearse.The only problem with this option is, you’ll miss the famous ghosts of the Chelsea, who only come out at night! -- Ed Hamilton
concern at this point is for the structural integrity of the building, and
especially for the fate of the
magnificent Beaux Art mural on the ceiling of Stanley’s office, an original
feature of the hotel, built in 1883. Other original features of the office include the marble floor and two fire places.
Obviously, any disturbance to the floor or the walls of the office
threatens to destabilize the ceiling, which likely would result in irreparable
tears to the mural, which is actually a large painted canvas that has been
stretched and affixed to the ornate ceiling.(As you can see, there are several matching canvases affixed to the
surrounding walls.)Furthermore, dust
from the demolition is likely to damage the mural if great care is not taken to
of his ambitious ten-year renovation project for the hotel, Stanley Bard had
the mural restored in 2000.We have been
in contact with the restorer, Lisa Rosen of Fine Art Restoration, who
writes to describe the costly and laborious process:
"The painting was obfuscated with 129 years of New York City smog, soot, nicotine
and surface dirt. The once transparent final layer of protective varnish
had also altered, turning first yellow and then brown (see photo ). The restorative cleaning procedure took five weeks of intensive
physical labor using 'q-tip's' and idoneous solvent to finally arrive at
you see today. What you see now is how the painted canvas looked
originally leaving the master's studio before being adhered to the hotel
In the 1880's the height of chic was to hire Italian artists to come to New York City and decorate the
splendid private mansions and elegant hotels of the Belle Epoque. America was striving to keep up
and prove itself with Old World style. These
artists were also responsible for the interior decorations of the historical
villas in Newport, R.I..
The ChelseaHotel is a perfect example of
the New World imitating Old World luxury. Stanley
Bard's former office in fact had originally been the Ladies Powder Room.
The painted ceiling, the stucco decorations and even the stained glass in the windows
of Bard's former office reflect the suave elegance that the hotel represented."
As you can see by the before
and after pictures, Rosen has
done a great job.It would be a shame if this irreparable mural were lost due to careless
and/or malicious action on the part of hotel management, who might have other
ideas about what a chi-chi
club should look like.
The present, illegitimate, management this week began demolition/“renovation” in room 614 of the National and City Landmark Chelsea Hotel. This is the room where the great Arthur Miller lived in the 1960s, and where he penned his play “After the Fall.”The room is virtually unchanged from the time when Miller lived there, and contains many original features.It has most recently been the home and work space of Dr. Peter Ferro, a dentist who was evicted from the hotel last year. We feel that Miller’s room is a valuable resource for present and future generations of writers and playwrights, and that it should be preserved.Unfortunately, due to the present management’s utter contempt for history, tradition, and the arts, we have every reason to fear that this room will end up much like Bob Dylan’s room—that is, unceremoniously gutted.
As was the case with the demolition of Dylan’s room, we feel that the hotel has fraudulently obtained the permits for work on room 614.In their applications for flooring, kitchen, and bathroom renovations, they falsely state that the Chelsea is not an SRO building, when in fact it is.They further falsely state that the hotel does not contain rent stabilized units, when infact it does.This allows the hotel to avoid the requirement that they obtain a Certificate of No Harassment—which, due to ongoing harassment, they’ll never get in a million years.
We thought we had cleared up this matter of permit falsification with the DOB in connection with the work on Dylan's room -- for which they issued a Stop Work Order which is still in effect -- but apparently they can't be bothered to read their own paperwork.
Sugar and lard or pure grain alcohol.We’ve got it all at the ChelseaHotel.In addition to Mark Isreal’s proposed doughnut shop, we have now received news that the ChelseaHotel is getting not one but two bars on the ground floor.All of these businesses will apparently be connected to the historic lobby:the doughnut shop in the former Dan’s Guitars space, a bar in Stanley’s former office, and another bar somewhere behind the check-in desk.
I own Capitol Fishing Tackle Co. I went to work at the store in 1973 and bought it in 1974.The Bards treated me fairly. The space wasn't cheap, but I made a living and it was fun.Stanley and his family are wonderful people. We were all in tears when we found out that Capitol Fishing could no longer remain at the Hotel Chelsea. I moved the store for two reasons. I couldn't think about closing a business that was 109 years old at that time, and, more importantly, our son wouldn't let me. Fishing is his passion and he loves working in the store that will some day be his. Our famous sign is at 132 W 36th St. We have a great landlord and a very long lease. I didn't let Marlene Krauss and David Elders win. Believe it or not, Marlene Krauss's father was a gentleman. If he was alive today, he wouldn't be proud of his daughter. -- Richard Collins
Since we finally got what we wanted from the hotel management, we are going on sabbatical to pursue other projects.As a few of the more perceptive among you surmised, the Bring Back the Bards campaign was nothing more than a carefully constructed ruse.What we really wanted all along was this new sink.Though it’s true that we carried the charade to absurd lengths, we think the effort was well worth it. For what a sink it is!As you can see, its color is a gleaming, pure white—though they probably had another, more creative, name for it on the box, which we didn’t get to see.The cabinet is made of fiberboard, and the basin appears to have been fashioned from some kind of new-fangled space-age plastic material, obviously an advance on both marble and porcelain.The faucets are chrome—can’t get any better than that.The guy who put it in told us it came from Home Depot: what a wonderful store, to provide such a fine sink!
Our apologies to the hotel management (in its various incarnations) for dogging and haranguing you daily for two straight years without ever telling you what we really wanted.Of course we could have just asked for a new sink to begin with, and I’m sure you would have provided one immediately, but what fun would that have been? -- Ed Hamilton
The Hostile Takeover in a Nutshell -- Feel free to add your own highlights in the comment box! To refresh your memory check out the June, July & August 2007 Archives.
Bard Family Ouster—On June 17, 2007, Stanley Bard, who owns 58% of the hotel’s shares, was fired as manager by a minority shareholder cabal headed by Marlene Krauss and David Elder. Krauss and Elder had earlier won an arbitration hearing against Stanley in which they alleged that he had mismanaged the hotel, engaged in opaque business practices, and overcompensated himself, among other things. The Chelsea has always been profitable under the Bards (though it is no longer), but in New York’s super-heated real estate climate, Stanley wasn’t generating the short-term windfall that Krauss and Elder desired.
-Evictions Carried Out—BD hotels carried out a number of “evictions” (most tenants were forced out under the threat of eviction, rather than actually being thrown out onto the street by the police) beginning with retail tenants, who lack rent stabilization, and continuing with early non-payers who had run up debts under Stanley and who were given debt forgiveness and perhaps small buyouts in exchange for vacating their rent stabilized rooms.For many other tenants, BD jacked up their rents to unreasonable levels, often doubling or tripling them.Threatened with a mountain of debt should they lose in court, many of these tenants opted to receive “debt” forgiveness and check out.Employing such methods, BD was able to evict 17 residents by our count.These evictions continued under the next manager, Andrew Tilley, and the number now stands at 20. -Renovations Attempted—BD began small-scale renovations on the hotel soon after they were hired. The Department of Buildings (DOB) slapped a stop-work order on the building, which took the Hotel several months to get lifted.
-Assault on Tenant Activist Arthur Nash—in a fearless campaign of resistance, tenant activist Arthur Nash set out to let it be known that minority shareholder David Elder had bilked his own stepfather, author Piri Thomas, out of $1.2 million dollars Thomas was owed from a trust administered by Elder.Nash confronted Elder publicly on a number of occasions, including at an Elder-sponsored art show, humiliating and embarrassing Elder by disseminating this information.Elder struck back by hiring thugs to rough up Nash.In a DHCR harassment hearing, Elder admitted to paying the thugs in cash, and to pointing Nash out to them.The thugs assaulted Nash on two occasions.On the second of these occasion, a 6’5”, 300 lb. bouncer slammed Nash repeatedly into the front desk of the Chelsea, causing him permanent back and arm injury.Litigation is ongoing.
July 2008 Andrew Tilley signs on to be manager
Most Recent Manager Andrew Tilley-- After two months without a manger at the Chelsea Hotel Marlene Krauss finally managed to land Andrew Tilley, who had managed the Paramount/Hard Rock Hotel in Times square.Tilley had absolutely no experience managing or working in a residential building, leading to speculation that—in light of tenant activism and Marlene’s erratic and overbearing leadership—Tilley was the only one who would agree to take the unenviable job.
-Security Guards and Cameras—Tilley hired more unnecessary staff, installed security cameras pointing down every wing of the hotel, and used a staff of security guards (actually hired by David Elder in the wake of the Arthur Nash assault) to intimidate and instill fear and paranoia in hotel guests and residents alike.
-Staff Firings—BD had attempted to fire several union staff members, and Tilley was equally hostile toward union employees and the old guard.Tilley actually managed to fire three trusted, long term employees, one of whom was a union member.
-Illegal Construction In Bob Dylan’s Room—in July of 2008, the hotel filed falsified construction permit applications designed to circumvent the requirement that they obtain a Certificate of No Harassment.Then, in December 2008, workers began illegal demolition of Room 203 and Room 211, the later Bob Dylan’s old room.(Not coincidentally, Arthur Nash’s apartment is situated between these two rooms, and their noisy destruction, which broadcast dust throughout the building, represented the continuing harassment of the outspoken tenant activist.)Legends reported this illegal activity, and The New York Post and Fox 5 news picked up the story.The office of State Senator Tom Duane also became involved.The DOB was summoned, and they found that the “construction” in Dylan’s room—which involved totally gutting the room, including tearing down a wall with sledge hammers— exceeded the scope of the hotel’s permits, which were solely for bathroom and kitchen renovation.They issued a stop work order on the entire building, and when the hotel attempted repeatedly to continue work in defiance of the order, police were forced to threaten management personnel with arrest in order to get them to comply.
-Roof Gardens Threatened—Before his ouster, Andrew Tilley stated his desire to clear the roof of it’s gardens, an integral feature of the hotel since it’s inception in 1884, telling a reporter that he intended to put a bar up there.When it appeared that there would be media scrutiny of this move, the hotel seemingly backed off; and that’s where matter stands at this juncture.
-Tilley Resignation—Citing mockery of his hair and national origin (he’s British) on Legends, and panties and magazine subscriptions sent to his house in New Jersey, Andrew Tilley wisely chose to call it quits.He chose not to mention the reported 20%-30% occupancy rate in his last few months, his failure to evict tenants, and his failure to even begin the renovations he had so proudly touted, none of which would have sat well with Marlene Krauss.
Life After Tilley – February 2009 – June 2009 -75-Year-Old Man Evicted—though Marlene Krauss has stated that she does not intend to appoint a new manager, since Tilley’s resignation Director of Operations Arnold Tamasar has been serving as the de facto head of the hotel.As his first act in this new capacity, he evicted a 75-year-old man from the hotel, prompting protestations of shock and disgust from the police officers who were summoned to escort the man from the building.
I have been an avid follower of the blog for quite sometime and am always disheartened by the stories of mis-management at the Chelsea. It has been my dream to stay there, but I have avoided it because of my extreme dislike for what Krauss and Elder have done to this special place.
I recently had a last minute meeting scheduled for Friday night in the city. Since it was going to be a late night, I decided to stay. When pricing out hotels Thursday night, guess which hotel came up cheapest?? That's right - the grand Chelsea!! (I was even planning on staying in Brooklyn to get a good rate!)
I booked my room with a shared bath for $99.00 for the night. When I arrived Friday, they had sold my room to someone else, so I was upgraded to a room with a private bath for the same price. The desk clerk was overly friendly, which was better than I expected.
As an energy worker, I may be a bit more attuned to energy frequencies in people and in areas. The destruction of the hotel (Bob Dylan's room, mailboxes removed from the lobby) is nothing short of tragic and I expected to pick up a strong, negative energy brought in my Krauss and Elder.
Instead, I picked up a strong, yet subtle, energy that defines what the Chelsea was, is, and always will be. It gave me great hope that the Chelsea will continue to thrive and that karma (and the Universe) will give Krauss and Elder what they truly deserve.
So I am writing to say keep up the good fight, no matter how difficult it seems! The night is always darkest before the dawn.
Earlier this week a commenter asked how the works in the Capitol Fishing Tackle Show address the economy. Here's the only answer we've found so far. One of the proposed exhibits at the "Empty by Choice" show is titled “Tips for Future Occupants.”Of the storefront, that is.Well, we can give you two tips for the book. Ask the Bards and get a 50-year lease like El Quijote or they’ll boot you as soon as the economy recovers. Afterall, Capitol Fishing Tackle was in that space for over 50 years and survived many recessions. They didn't survive the legal manuevers of Marlene Krauss and David Elder. If you have any "Tips for Future Occupants" leave them in the comment box.
Tenant Activist Arthur Nash, the victim of unrelenting harassment by management due to his support of the Bard family, is fighting back with a multi-million dollar personal injury lawsuit. Everyone remembers last summer’s highly divisive art show in the Chelsea ’s grand ballroom, co- sponsored by minority shareholder David Elder.Briefly, because he had the balls to protest Elder’s feeble attempt to portray himself as a patron of the arts, Nash was assaulted by huge security goons—not once, but twice!—on Elder’s direct orders. As we’ve reported earlier, Nash has an ongoing harassment case at the DHCR, which we feel he is sure to win since reportedly Elder admitted in the hearing to ordering the assaults (and paying for it off the books!), but for now the case is tied up in bureaucratic limbo.Unfortunately, this delay has given management creeps a feeling of invincibility, leading to further instances of harassment against Nash. Though we don’t know too many details of the lawsuit at this point, we can say that it names not only certain officers of the 23rd Street Corp., but others who participated in events surrounding the art show as well. -- Ed Hamilton (Photos via myspace.com/bringbackthebards.) Arthur Nash being confronted by two men hired by David Elder. According to Nash, they were trying to force him into the back stairwell. The next day, according to Nash, after he retrieved his mail from behind the front desk, he was barred from entering the elevator and menaced by the guy pictured below. After returning to his room to get his camera—he had been instructed by his lawyer to document all confrontations—Nash attempted to take the guard’s picture.In response, the guard tried to wrench the camera away from Nash and then grabbed him in a bear hug and body slammed him against the front desk, smashing the camera (and Nash’s hand) against the counter repeatedly until the batteries flew out.The guard continued to wrestle with Nash as Nash tried to use the house phone to call the police.A resident who had witnessed the altercation corroborated Nash’s story.
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?")
Oh, so now according to the Chelsea Hotel official website Nadia donated the painting to the Hotel. (Does this mean the Hotel is back to being a non-profit organization?) I see! So sorry for the misunderstanding! Heads up Elder, when you try to do spin control don't link to the offending truthful story.
Well, the worst has finally happened: though it had hung in one form or another for two years, tenant activist Arthur Nash’s BRING BACK THE BARDS banner was removed from the hotel’s façade at approximately 8:45 this morning. Kinda-sorta manager Arnold Tamasar did the honors in person, as a police officer and a security guard stood by. Obviously, this was not a police matter, but rather a matter for the city agencies and the courts. The cop’s explanation for allowing the sign’s removal was that only the owners of a buiding are allowed to hang signs on the façade of the building. This is open to debate, and in fact it was being discussed with various city agencies. The cop further stated that, since Arthur didn’t have a door to the balcony (like many residents, he climbs through his window), he was not allowed go onto the balcony at all. We believe that the police officer exceeded his authority in aiding the hotel management in their suppression of Nash’s first amendment rights. The timing of the hotel’s move against Nash, as well as the (former) location of the banner, are significant. On the weekend of June 18, the hotel, in conjunction with No Longer Empty, is planning an art show (featuring mostly outside artists) in the former Capitol Fishing Tackle storefront. Nash’s sign was positioned on the second floor almost directly above the storefront. Obviously it would be a huge embarrassment to the hotel management to have to explain what the sign meant to everyone attending the event. We believe this to be an illegal infringement on Nash’s first amendment rights. Plain and simple, this is intimidation and harassment meant to stifle all dissenting voices, and as such represents the end of free speech at the Chelsea—if indeed any pretense of it remained after the ouster of the Bards.
Check out the excellent and hilarious story in Chelsea Now’s Buzz column this week (not yet online), wherein tenant activist Arthur Nash alleges that artist Nadia Bertrand “played” the newspaper by claiming that minority shareholder David Elder gave her a month’s free rent in exchange for two paintings. We have a bit to add to the story ourselves: Nadia first came to us with the claim back in April at theFilm Anthology Archives screening of Doris Chase’s Chelsea Hotel.We immediately smelled a rat, because we figured there’s no way Elder would be so much of a bonehead when that’s one of the things that he and Marlene accused Stanley Bard of doing in the hostile takeover maneuver.That’s why we didn’t report the story.
We’ve since come to believe that Elder probably was that stupid—although surely he would have told Nadia not go blabbing to the press about it, hence his surprise when Chelsea Now showed up at the art show.Perhaps it was a rogue Nadia playing the paper for her own publicity purposes.
Whether the story was a plant or not, we think this is going to come back to bite Elder on the ass again and again.Most likely Marlene didn’t know about it and has already chewed him out.And the artists who have lived here for years and never had this kind of break aren’t too happy that an outsider was shown such favoritism.
On Thursday, we ran into Elder in the elevator and asked him if he would accept a sketch on the back of our rent receipt in lieu of rent.“No, that won’t be possible,” he said.And that appears to be the last word on the matter—at least for now. -- Ed Hamilton
TALLY BROWN was a bohemian artist and underground star living in New York. She starred in some ANDY WARHOL films and was a student friend of LEONARD BERNSTEIN. Her interpretation of "Lady grinning soul" by DAVID BOWIE from his album ALLADIN SANE is taken from the soundtrack of the wonderful portrait documentary film TALLY BROWN NEW YORK by german director ROSA VON PRAUNHEIM. (Video via Hanko)
Must not be any guests in the hotel. How else to explain the decision to take two elevators off-line for repairs on the same day! Obviously the needs of the staff -- how are they supposed to do their jobs? -- and the permanent residents don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy new order. And when was the last time something like this got fixed in one day? Please, pleasantly surprise us.
The move did not buy Stanley much time. On June 18, 2007 the Bard family, majority owners of the Chelsea Hotel, were forced from their management role in a hostile takeoverby Krauss and Elder, eager to cash in on the short term profits promised by the superheatedreal estate climate of the day.
It was a sad day for artists and friends of the arts worldwide.The Bard family had managed the hotel since 1942, including almost 50 years by the inimitable Stanley, who is known and loved by several generations of artists who have called the Chelsea Hotel home.Stanley’s son, David, was scheduled to take over the reins of the hotel, until he too was unjustly ousted.
The reason that you, fellow artists,know of the Chelsea Hotel and it’s important role in the arts is because of the hard work of the Bard family.The Bards provided inexpensive housing and a supportive environment for people in the arts for over 60 years.They played host to the Beats and action painters of the 50s, the Warhol crowd of the 60s, and the punk rockers of the 80s, among countless others.
Krauss and Elder, on the other hand, have made clear that their intention is to evict the permanent tenants and transform the Chelsea into a boutique tourist hotel.They are not admitting any more permanent residents into the hotel, thus ending a tradition that had endured for almost 125 years.
Because Krauss and Elder have been stymied in their eviction and renovation plans by legal action, the work of dedicated tenant activists, and the downturn in the economy, they are now trying to create good press by posing as “patrons of the arts”.But they threw out the true patrons of the arts.
All of you are stellar artists.However,please note the date of the proposed Krauss and Elder sponsored show in the Capitol Fishing Tackle space, for it is in no way random.You are being invited to participate in a celebration of the two-year anniversary of Krauss and Elder’s hostile takeover.In keeping with your personal and artistic integrity, we ask that you not participate in this sham.
The Conspiracy Of Beards, a men's choir from San Francisco who sing the songs of Leonard Cohen, sing "Chelsea Hotel #2" on the PATH train from New Jersey to New York, until the conductor orders the videographer to put the camera away.
Guess who’s tweetin now?Don’t be fooled by imitations.Figure it out, if you can.There is only one real live Chelsea Hotel twitter feed. You decide who you’d rather follow. Cavet Emperor. twitter.com/hotelchelsea
Here's the end result of that video shoot a few months back where the crew took over the west wing of the 7th and 8th floors and filmed until 3:30 in the morning on a Sunday. What do you think? Was it worth losing a night's sleep over? You be the judge.
Some Chelsea Hotel guests decided to get into the spirit of banner hanging pioneered by tenant activist Arthur Nash. Here’s the result of their labors. We don’t know what this means since we don’t speak Italian but assume it’s something along the lines of “Fight the Power” or “Stick it to the Man”. In any event it disappeared within a few hours of our spotting it.