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.
Chelsea Hotel ’s recently launched website featured a lovely photo of a fetching young woman sprawled upon the famous staircase.Having apparently either fallen or jumped or perhaps having just decided to take a rest.The sexist nature of this photo led some of our blog readers to take exception.For instance historian Sherill Tippins wrote in to say:
As someone at work on a history of Chelsea, whose founding philosopher is known for saying that a society can be judged by the way it treats its women, I can't tell you how ironic it is to see the image in that brochure of a woman stretched out in that sexually inviting way on the staircase. It's the quintessential image of commercial exploitation.
Decade after decade, the Chelsea's residents have worked through issues relating to women's place in society--from the first vagrant girl who was sent to Bellevue in 1884 for insisting that she had friends at the Chelsea, to the Victorian-era invalid, daughter of William Dean Howells, who died of lassitude, to John Sloan's wife, Dolly, a former prostitute saved by art, to Arthur Miller's Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol's Edie Sedgwick, Shirley Clarke, Patti Smith, and the many, many women who came to the Chelsea in the Seventies to liberate themselves.
And now, to end with this? I'm starting to feel more at home in the Second-Life Chelsea.
Strangely enough soon after this comment appeared the girl went missing. Where has the girl gone? Did they take her out in a body bag?Or was she simply a figment of our imagination all along.Perhaps she’s in the same Bohemian limbo as Piri’s money. Guess the Beaver House will stay downtown.
In answer to last week’s quiz: both the Hinckley Hilton and the Edison, New Jersey Benihana were designed by the architectural firm of William Tabler, who have now filed apermit application with the DOB to do $20,000 worth of work in the Capitol Fishing Tackle space.Well, I guess it’s about damn time, as the storefront has sat empty for almost three years now. Our question for Mr. Tabler is, for $20,000, do you really need the aggravation? After all we’ve seen your website. You can work anywhere in the world. We’re not even talking about the inevitable pressure from well-organized tenant activists or the daily scrutiny of the media. Look at who your bosses will be. Though I’m sure Marlene Krauss was on her best behavior for your meeting, she’s a psychotic harpy who will have you by the balls in no time flat.Obviously you’ve not even met David Elder yet, or you would never have taken the job in the first place. I guess you just neglected to do your research.Call hoteliers Richard Born and Ira Drukier and ask them if Marlene has paid them the $425,000 she owes them yet.Call author Piri Thomas and ask if he’s seen the $1.2 million that Elder owes him.Ask the other Chelsea Hotel shareholders if they’ve seen any of the increased profits that Marlene promised them for supporting the hostile takeover of the Hotel. Perhaps you look at this relatively small job as a foot in the door, and think that eventually you’ll be hired to gut renovate the entire hotel.But do you think Marlene is going to be able to get a mortgage to pay you in this economy?There’s 40 or more outstanding lawsuits against the hotel!Marlene didn’t mention those, did she?I doubt that she mentioned that her prospects for obtaining a Certificate of No Harassment are rather remote as well, as Elder admitted in a DHCR hearing to hiring goons to assault a tenant.Thank your lucky stars that you haven’t signed on for anything bigger. -- Ed Hamilton
For those of you who didn’t guess the answer to our quiz question on Wednesday here is another hint.The gentrified and suburbanized Chelsea neighborhood already has an Olive Garden and an Outback Steakhouse.It’s high time we had a Benihana’s as well.And maybe we’ll get a Red Lobster in the El Quixote space.Viva Suburbia!
Pictured below is the results of Chelsea Hotel minority shareholder's Krauss and Elder's ongoing campaign to squelch free speech at the Chelsea. DOB has issued a violation to the Hotel because the "Bring Back Stanley Bard" sign was attached to the balcony, which they're calling a fire escape. Tenant activist Arthur Nash has this to say about the latest development:
"Even as minority stakeholder David Elder was embracing free speech with a self-serving blurb published in Chelsea Now, he continued to dole out disdain for those whose expressions are, appropriately enough, afforded the most protection under the law -- in this instance, pro-Bard Family tenants who do (and will continue to) oppose his hostile takeover of the Chelsea Hotel. In the past, Elder dealt with what he considers unpopular speech not inside the courtroom but by retaliating with violent thugs who he clandestinely paid in cash, and by initiating retaliatory complaints with DOB that wrecked the rooftop gardens and caused our balconies --aka fire escapes-- to be rendered barren in time for spring. In spite of this harassment David Elder may be entitled to thanks for his most recent complaint which, while equally bogus and being selectively enforced, will permit the Bard Banner campaign to keep evolving, perhaps into NEON."
Yeah, it really looks like that sign was blocking the fire escape! And besides, excuse me for being cynical but does anyone really believe that Kruass and Elder care whether or not Arthur is injured in a fire!
The signs in chronological order from 2007 - 2009: The sign is no longer attached to Arthur Nash's terrace railing but it's still displayed!
What do the Washington Hilton, the place where Hinckley shot Reagan, and the Chelsea Hotel have in common?Care to hazard a guess?Hint: it doesn’t have anything to do with Sid and Nancy, and it only came about recently.Stay tuned to the blog for the answer.
The first redesign of the Chelsea Hotel website was undertaken during the misbegotten reign of Richard Born and Ira Drukier.Besides being poorly written and edited, the BD site removed all mention of the Bard family’s role in managing the hotel for nearly 70 years.Now it’s hard to tell who oversaw this most recent redesign since Marlene Krauss is refusing to hire a manager for the Hotel, but the tradition of denying the Bard family legacy remains firmly in place.( Nice photo of the Hotel on the splash page by the way. This takes the campaign to erase the Bard legacy a step further than even BD, who at least had enough concern for the truth to include the Bring Back the Bards signs in their picture.)
One ofour favorite new sections of the redesigned site is called “The Chelsea.” As you can see, the site still needs an editor.(Oh, and it also needs somebody who knows how to tell a joke!)Gee, anybody wonder why Jerry Weinstein is the only person on staff who can speak intelligently about the history of the Hotel?Could it have anything to do with the firing of Stanley and David Bard?
Gerald Busby, a friend of composer Virgil Thomson, recently checked out Wallace Norman's new play, "Oh Virgil: A Theatrical Portrait." Busby had this to say about the play, "For anyone who already knows Virgil Thomson’s music and his life at the Chelsea Hotel, this production will be deeply satisfying. For those who don’t know his music, it will reveal an American genius who mastered the art of merging instinct and intellect in the simplest musical terms – you think you’ve heard this before, but suddenly you realize it’s a completely new context for the most familiar and intimate experiences of your life." You can read the full review at theaterscene.net.
"Oh Virgil: A Theatrical Portrait" stars VICTOR TRURO and runs through May 10 at The Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, NY NY
Actor Mark L. Young was in town last week for the premier of “Happiness Runs” which was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.Young who appeared in “Happiness Runs,” “O.C.,” “ER,” “Sex Drive,” and “Big Love” among other things was very curious about Bob Dylan’s room and wanted to check it out. Young gave us a copy of Nylon magazine which focused on stars of the next generation and Young was included in the article.Perhaps in a few years Young will be so successful that he’ll return to help the Bring Back the Bards campaign.We hope that the Chelsea is as big an inspiration to Young as it has been to us and countless other creative people throughout its 125 year history.In the picture Mark stands beside the Chelsea’s latest acquisition ,a painting by Nadia Bertrand, who you might remember was at the Chelsea for an extended stay which ended a couple of weeks ago.We’d tell you what room it’s in but we don’t want people to be building shrines.
The Hotel Chelsea is one of the last remaining art enclaves and bohemian outposts, which nurtured the musical contributions of artists such as Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Grateful Dead, Leonard Cohen and many more.
The Hotel Chelsea in New York is under threat right now, as they have begun to demolish this great piece of our musical heritage. You can do something about it!
Join Mykal Skall and other performing artists at The Hotel Chelsea Second Life for the "Bring Back The Bards!" campaign. This grassroots movement based at the Hotel Chelsea New York (First Life) hopes to reestablish management of the Hotel to the Bard family, who will preserve the history and artistic integrity of the site in perpetuity.
The Grand Opening is Sunday May 3rd begining at 12pm and ending with Mykal Skall Live at 6pm. There will be a myriad of Live Spoken Word Artists, and Live Music including: Phiona EMber Moondoggirl Moomintoog Rosedrop Rust Whirli Placebo Moxy Barracuda Mykal Skall And the Comedy of Lauren Weyland
The Bring Back the Bards campaign has taken root in another life thanks to the hard work and talent of Mykal Skall. We're glad to have him on board in our ongoing fight to preserve the 125-year-old tradition of artistic freedom at the Chelsea.
Thanks also to Saki Knafo for bringing Mykal's work, and our struggle, to the attention of a wider public. And for minority shareholders Krauss and Elder, please be put on notice: when you desecrate this iconic hotel, the world is watching, and history will be your judge.
One Correction to the NYT article: Bob Dylan's old room, 211, did not undergo renovations. It was simply, and, I might add, illegally, gutted. Management planned to renovate it, but they did not have the proper permits, so the DOB shut them down. -- Ed Hamilton
At last we have good news to report. David Elder has come out in support of freedom of the press vowing that Chelsea Now will once again be welcome in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel. Following a pro- Bard editorial Chelsea Now had been removed from the lobby, apparently because it threatened the stability of Elder's reign. And then after a series of pro-Bard letters to the editor in a subsequent issue Chelsea Now disappeared from many of the paper boxes surrounding the Hotel. Disappearing, once again, even after some of them were refilled. Don't be rejoicing yet although the Onion and New York Press have been present in the lobby this week together with a bunch of fliers there is still no sign of Chelsea Now. Has Elder come down with a case of cold feet? Stay tune to the blog for further updates. -- Ed Hamilton
In an interview with Jeremiah Moss on the Vanishing New York blog, poet and musician Mykal Skall confesses that while most people come to NYC to see the Statue of Liberty or various other tourist attractions, his dream was to come to the city and stay at the Chelsea.There will always be such rare individuals who don’t just automatically accept the Status quo, and since 1884, the Chelsea has been the place that has drawn them in. Mykal, of course, is the man who created the Virtual Chelsea on Second Life, with the noble purpose of raising awareness of the greed of the minority shareholders who want to to turn this place into a boutique hotel.But as Mykal’s creation shows, though Marlene Krauss and David Elder may have temporarily seized the physical building that houses the Chelsea, they will never be able to gain control of the heart and soul of Chelsea. It is the true artists of the Chelsea Hotel past, present, and future, who will always own that soul – people who are passionate about the unique traditions of the hotel, and loyal to the Bards, who created and nurtured those traditions.Krauss and Elder and their cronies will never gain the trusts of the true artists, because they have no idea what makes them tick. Hell, Krauss and Elder don’t even understand the BRAND of the Chelsea.They keep trying to rent the rooms to Midwestern tourists on package deals!That’s a bright spot, however, because it means they’ll continue to lose money until they cave in and Bring Back the Bards! Those of us left at the physical Chelsea will continue to fight the good fight so that those of you who dream of joining us will someday have your chance.And in the meantime there’s Mykal’s virtual Chelsea to preserve the ideals that make this iconic hotel great.– Ed Hamilton (Photo: A gathering of poets at the Virtual Chelsea via Sharron Schuman's flickr)
Dear blog readers, I am still collecting stories about Abbie Hoffman at the Chelsea Hotel, so if you have a story, or have any corrections to what follows, I'd appreciate hearing from you via the Comments to this post. -- Sherill
If it's true that certain buildings can communicate their character and something of their past to their current occupants, it was hardly surprising that Abbie Hoffman found himself drawn to the Chelsea in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In Norman Mailer's words, the grandson of Lower East Side Russian-Jewish immigrants was "a bona-fide nineteenth-century revolutionary...a true socialist--a believer in progress," just like the people who created the hotel.
Abbie discovered politics at the University of Californiaat Berkeley in 1960. But, like Chelsea Hotel alumni Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Harry Smith, Phil Ochs,and Bob Dylan he was more fully galvanized by the music of America's outsiders--in his case, the social and political power of the gospel songs sung in a Negro church where he attended weekly political meetings in Worcester, Massachusetts. "There was something about singing freedom songs in a black church..." Hoffman wrote, "that summoned a spirit never to be recaptured."
The power of the music took Hoffman to Mississippiin 1964, where he worked with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee--teaching,registering voters,and helping create a Poor People's Corporation for selling hand-crafted goods. Increasingly alienated by a too-conservative Democratic Party, he learned from Stokely Carmichael's "spoken R&B" how to set aside his college-educated intellectualism and speak out in a way that "let people experience feelings as well as thought."
Moving to the Lower East Side in 1966, he met his future wife, Anita,as well as Chelsea habitués Allen Ginsberg, Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg of The Fugs, Jerry Rubin, Timothy Leary, and Country Joe MacDonald. Out of the conversations and debates he enjoyed with them, he realized that there was an opportunity here to harness the power of the youth movement and perhaps finally break the stranglehold of the corporate ruling class."Like freaked-out Wobblies," he wrote, "we would build a new culture smack-dab in the burned-out shell of the old dinosaur."
Unlike the Wobblies, though, Abbie and his conspirators could do this by drawing on a decade's worth of communication techniques developed by the artists, musicians, writers and actors of the Fifties and Sixties, many of them at the Chelsea. Abbie could see that artists like Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Harry Smith, and others had already proved Marshall McLuhan's claim that information was culture, and change in society would occur as the flow of information changed.
Abbie's means of attack would be through theater. Theatrical techniques, he wrote, would "allow players to connect directly, viscerally" with the public. He and his co-conspirators would "organize a movement around art," as the Chelsea's "founding philosopher" Charles Fourier had recommended--using the potent symbols developed by artists to draw people in and make social change fun.
Beginning in 1967, Abbie--with Jerry Rubin, Allen Ginsberg, The Fugs, The Bread and Puppet Theater, and many other fellow travelers--staged guerrilla-theater events designed for maximum political impact: dropping dollar bills onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange; plastering the Times Square recruiting center with stickers reading, "See Canada Now"; throwing plastic bags full of cow's blood at visiting Secretary of State Dean Rusk; and simply declaring the war over and celebrating it in the streets, shouting, "Hip-hip-hurray!...If you don't like the news...make up your own." Then, in October, Abbie and 100,000 demonstrators "exorcised" the Pentagon, relying on exorcism techniques provided by the Chelsea's Harry Smith. The iconic image of one of them placing a flower in the barrel of a policeman's gun made that demonstration "the perfect theatrical event." "We were light-years ahead of the Living Theater," Abbie claimed. "We had taken it off the stage. We were not trying to represent it in art, we were trying to live it." Probably because of this demonstration, Johnson saw his power slipping and decided not to run again.(To Be Continued….) (Video -- Abbie Hoffman Makes Geflite Fish at the Chelsea Hotel, Christmas 1973)
We came across this little gem when we were reviewing the Google search terms that people use to find Chelsea Hotel blog.Usually the searches are for something like “hot naked babes,” "chelsea hotel ghosts," or “room 100 chelsea hotel”.We’re not quite sure what to make of the user search for “ Chelsea hotel heroin addict blog” but we hope it means that there’s another blog around here somewhere that’s way more entertaining that Legends.Glad to know that somebody else is gonna be taking up the slack.Since it’s our four year blogging anniversary does this mean we can retire the Hotel Chelsea Blog? (click on the image to enlarge)
We hear that there's a lot going on over there at the virtual Hotel Chelsea in Second Life. For starters, the "Bring Back the Bard" campaign has been SUCCESSFUL and as you can see from this screen grab Stanley Bard has been firmly installed behind the desk. And, according to Mykal, the creator of the virtual Chelsea Hotel "I'm meeting actual hotel residents who have been in Second Life for some time! (did you know you lived in the midst of avatars?) This will help me to make the hotel even more accurate! As for rent? I plan on doing it the old school way... first of all real residents get dibs, secondly, your art is more important than your rent. Yes, it costs me a bit of money monthly to do this, but if it helps the cause of the hotel residents, it's worth it. If I could live there for real, I would.. this is my substitute for now... enjoy."
Been missing your mail?Pick it up at the virtual Chelsea Hotel on Second Life, where they still have the old time mailboxes.In a timeless hotel where Stanley Bard will always be the manager, cowboy artist David Combs still seems to be painting the lobby.May he paint throughout eternity!Though there’s a convenient cab waiting at the door, in an unfortunate oversight, there’s no Dan’s Guitars.Maybe virtual Marlene Krauss has evicted them.Ah well.And actually, I lied about Stanley being there. (Maybe somebody has to create his character—they should get right on that.If not, Arthur Nash will have to start a Second Life Bring Back the Bards campaign).Gigi Travis and Wee Willie Tillie should join and then they can be dueling failures. Chelsea Hotel was created in Second Life by Michael Skall who has been "enamoured with the Chelsea Hotel for quiet a few years." In an e-mail he explains his project: "Second Life (www.secondlife.com) a virtual online 3D world where all of the content is user created. I regularly perform my music there live, but I've also created the Hotel there from several pictures that I took while there. It's totally interactive, and even has one working elevator, that works sometimes... lol I've also built a virtual lounge where the El Quiote should be, call it virtual poetic license. I plan on hosting poetry reads there, as well as music. "SL" is a great venue to get music and poetry out in almost real time to people all over the world....
I would like your input if you see any way that this can help the cause of saving the Chelsea for what it should be? I may be able to raise awareness, and even have benefits, but I don't know what else I can do to help your cause...
I've attached some pics, and if you are or may get into SL (it's free btw) here's the SLURL you'll need to find it http://slurl.com/secondlife/Lanestris/57/149/99 The music is currently all Chelsea related, and if you click on the sign you get a history notecard, as well as the pictures and other plaques give a list of residents." There you have it! El Quixote has been replaced with a lounge for the poets and musicians to perform their work! Well, better that it happen in Second Life than in First Life I say. Here are the pics if you haven't joined the brave new world of Second Life.
So, former Chelsea Hotel resident Ryan Adams has left New York because theNew York Times was mean to him. Apparently they criticized one of his songs -- imagine that -- and said he needed to self- edit a little better. Well, don't we all. But how will moving to LA help? Can't the NYT still get ahold of his albums and trash them? And don't people in LA read the NYT? In this day and age I think they can even get it online. You can't escape the long arm of the NYT! And what's with the papers in LA? Has he got them on his payroll? Or will he have to pack up and move again once they criticize him? Well, you're always welcome at the Chelsea, Ryan. Somtimes I'm not sure whether or not we're even in New York -- but if you're like a lot of people here, you'll have no problem pretending you're on a different, friendlier and more human planet, altogether. (For better or for worse!) What I'm really wondering, however, is how we can convince the NYT to be mean to Chelsea Hotel minority share holder Marlene Krauss so she'll move to Lapland or Tanzania, or blast off in a rocket to Mars. -- Ed Hamilton
Kudos to the Guardian’s reviewer, Ben Walters, for sitting through all of the movies at last weekend’s Chelsea Hotel Film Festival at the Anthology Film Archives.He says of the Hotel: “It’s not surprising that it should have acquired a cinematic presence, what’s impressive is it’s range in diversity matches that of the hotel’s residents.”After recounting the usual suspects such as the Chelsea Girls and Sid & Nancy, the review focuses in on the present situation at the Hotel, highlighting the fact that the recent fate of the Chelsea is part and parcel of the wave of gentrification that’s sweeping New York.
Saturday’s Triple bill featured three films that together served to tell the ultimately tragic story of the Bard family’s tenure and ultimate fall push from power.Doris Chase’s The Chelsea shows three generations of Bard family guiding the hotel through its heyday, including a very young David bemoaning the fact that he majored in finance rather than psychology.The second Film, Michael Maher’s Blogging for Bohemia shows how the YMCA across the street has fallen prey to a greedy developerwho carved up the beloved community resource and sold it as luxury condos to rich yuppies.Stanley is in the film (three months before his ouster) discussing how his own board of directors has lately been pressuring him to sell the Chelsea Hotel as well.Then, in Sam Bassett’s film, a deposed Stanley is interviewed, urging Chelsea tenants to fight to preserve our unique way of life.
The final chapter of the Bard saga has yet to be written.Luckily, as Walters points out, we may have been able to stave off the forces of greed long enough for even larger economic forces to come to our defense.He quotes Stanley perceptive prediction at the end of the Bassett film: “We’re not always going to be in this bubble.We’re not always going to be in an economic boom.”“He was proved right sooner that he might have imagined,” Walters concludes, “whether it means a brief respite or a new Renaissance for the Chelsea Hotel remains to be seen.” -- Ed Hamilton
In a huge show of support from one bastion of alternative culture to another, The Anthology Film Archives is presenting Chelsea Hotel on Film, a series of films about, filmed at, or created by residents of the Chelsea Hotel. (For more info: Brooklyn Rail, NY Times, New Yorker, Chelsea Now, Village Voice, TWI-NY) Here's the schedule: Alex Cox,SID AND NANCY -- Punk rockers come from all over the world to burn candles in front of what they believe to be Sid & Nancy ’s door.Whether we like it or not Sid & Nancy have become the Romeo and Juliet of the Chelsea Hotel. Sid & Nancy is the quintessential Chelsea Hotel movie if for nothing else than the spot-on portrayal of Stanley Bard. 1986, 1112 minutes, 35 mm. With Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb and Courtney Love Thursday, April 9 at 7:15 and Friday, April 10 at 9:15
SHIRLEY CLARKE PROGRAM TEEPEE VIDEO SPACE TROUPE (1971); SAVAGE/LOVE (1981); TONGUES (1982) Independent filmmaker Shirley Clarke (the only woman to have a plaque on the front of the hotel) founded The Teepee Video Space Troupe, and operated it out of her Chelsea Hotel penthouse where her later videos were made, including Savage/Love and Tongues, which are a two-part collaboration with playwright Sam Shepard and actor/director Joseph Chaiken. Plus: Jonas Mekas: CHELSEA FOOTAGE Thursday, April 9 at 9:30
Doris Chase, THE CHELSEA (1993) 67 minutes, video. THE CHELSEA is an entertaining and informative account of the eclectic personalities who resided at the hotel in 1993. Many of them still live here! Plus: Michael MaherBLOGGING FROM BOHEMIA (2007) In the last documentary filmed at the hotel prior to the Bard family's ouster Maher's short documentary reports on the forces of gentrification threatening the Chelsea neighborhood as seen through the eyes of the blog. Stanley Bard discusses the pressure he's under from the minority shareholders. Ed Hamilton & Sam BassettINTERVIEW WITH STANLEY BARD (2008) Filmed one year post ouster Stanley Bard offers a message of hope for struggling Chelsea residents. Saturday, April 11 at 3:00
Andy Warhol, THE CHELSEA GIRLS (1966) ca. 210 minutes 16 mm double-projection. Showcases the glamorous, drugged out personalities of Warhol’s entourage, featuring Nico, Ondine, Marie Menken, Mary Woronov, Gerard Malanga, International Velvet, Ingrid Superstar, Mario Montez, Eric Emerson, and Brigid Berlin. This is the best film ever made about the hotel and it is rarely shown so you should go down there and see it while you have the chance! Saturday, April 11 at 7:45 and Sunday, April 12 at 5:00
Robert Flaherty, LOUISIANA STORY (1948) 78 minutes, 35 mm. This film represents a collaboration between three talented Chelsea Hotel residents. In addition to the director Flaherty, the score was composed by Virgil Thomson and the cinematographer was Ricky Leacock. Writer Sherill Tippins will be on hand to introduce the screening and speak about the Hotel's early days. Sunday, April 12 at 3:00
Harvard Business School announced yesterday that former Chelsea Hotel manager Stanley Bard will be awarded an honorary MBA for his fifty years of service to the New York hospitality and arts communities. “It’s a no brainer,” said Associate Harvard Business School Dean Richard Cremona, “I mean, the guy basically founded this wonderful cultural institution, and turned a profit for 50 years through thick and thin, and nobody else seems to able to run the Hotel. They’ve had a top New York hotel firm in there, and,ironically, a Harvard MBA, and they’ve tried to manage the hotel, only to fail miserably.We could all learn something about business from Stanley Bard.”Mr. Cremona also added that he felt that Harvard owed New Yorkers an apology for insufficiently preparing minority shareholder and Bernie Madoffponzi scheme victim Marlene Krauss to deal with the realities of the hotel business. The degree will be awarded in June.Mr. Bard will also speak at the Harvard Business School commencement exercises. -- Ed Hamilton
We hope we're not getting an "upgrade," since these people running this place now have little or no taste. Let's all pray to the landmarking god for the swift return of our historic mailboxes. They may not look like much, but the mailboxes together with the surrounding woodwork at the desk were one of the most picturesque and widely photographed features of the lobby. Who knows what further "improvements" tomorrow may bring. Bring back the mailboxes and bring back the Bards while you're at it. Arthur Nash has more photos on myspace. Update: We were hoping that management was just going to repaint or refurbish the boxes in some way, but word is they have been destroyed, apparently out of spite. Plenty of people around the hotel, us included would have liked to have had them. Tamsar and Elder no doubt knew this and so we hope this wanton act of vandalism makes Tamasar and Elder happy.
Everybody knows that recently you've been able to get a room at the Chelsea Hotel for $89.00 a night. We've even heard of people getting this rate for large suites. The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article which reports: "Evidence from 2001 suggests that a short-term cyclical downturn could turn into a long-term problem because once room rates are cut, it can take years for them to get back to previous levels." Maybe this was why in previous economic downturns Stanley Bard had the sense to convert the transient rooms to permanent rooms to ride out the recessions. Krauss and Elder's mismanagement could put the Chelsea in the red for years to come. They'll be gone and the Hotel will still be suffering. Other hoteliers should be concerned about Krauss's mismanagement as well since the article goes on to say, "The downturn in the global hotel industry could be deeper and more prolonged than expected if hotel companies continue slashing room rates." -- Ed Hamilton (photo source)
It was the first showing of this film “outside the laboratory” according to the presenter, which makes me pretty lucky, I guess, since it was also my first Harry Smith film—though to gather from the conversation of the over-the-top-serious film buffs who attended Thursday’s press screening, versions of most of the images had appeared in other Smith films as well.
#23, which consists of two rolls of film, one with a soundtrack, superimposed on each other, was discovered recently among Harry’s films in storage at the Anthology Film Archives, where he was artist-in-residence for many years.The presenter thought it might consist of footage that didn’t end up in Harry’s famous Mahagonny; in any event it is related to that film, though one of the film buffs said that some of the footage (such as shots of a carpet and various patterns formed out of powered pigmentused as background) probably dated to the forties.
The film itself is a beautiful piece of work, and seems to tell the tale of all humanity, from birth (a young couple superimposed over a matronly woman with her crotch nearly exposed) to death (the black waters of the pond in central park, a supine figure on the Chelsea Hotel roof) as Fate, in the form of a girl demonstrating string figures, weaves her web.There are several striking images in the film, especially toward the end, including the string-figure girl, attired in black, super-imposed on the waters of the pond, so that only the string, forever reforming itself, is clearly visible; finally, red roses are superimposed on the image of the girl.
So, in other words, it’s worth seeing.I don’t know how it stands up to Harry’s other work (obviously), but since this is the only thing showing at the present, go see it.The soundtrack, one of the film buffs claimed (gee, I’m relying on these guys a lot, aren’t I), was by Johnny Johnson from the 30s with Burgess Meredith reading various WWII-related statements over the music. (UPDATE - A reader writes: Johnny Johnson is not a composer, but the name of a musical work by Kurt Weill, who composed Mahagonny as well.)
Of interest to Chelsea Hotel aficionados: the film has some footage of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe, and also of Naomi Levine, a Chelsea character whom old residents may remember.Rosebud Petit, Harry’s “spiritual wife” also may have appeared, though no one was quite sure if it was her or not.There’s also a scene at the end of the film that’s shot on the Chelsea Hotel roof (now sadly under assault by minority shareholders who want to put a club up there), apparently shot some time in the late sixties or early seventies to judge by the appearance of the actors.
Barry Divola’s article on the Chelsea Hotel has just come out in the April 2009 Australian Rolling Stone.Though a bit dated due to the long lead time of the magazine, it’s nevertheless a very balanced, well researched, and revealing read.The most interesting bit of information, given the tragic ongoing destruction of the 125-year-old rooftop gardens, comes from former manager Andrew Tilley, who details his plans for the hotel as he takes Divola on a tour of the building:
. . .from the luggage storage area behind the front desk (“imagine the potential for this as a hotel bar”) to the roof area dotted with random flower beds and mismatched patio furniture (“Look at that view—I’d love a rooftop bar here”).
So there you have it folks, in Tilley’s own words.I’m sure minority shareholder Marlene Krauss is on the phone with Tilley right about now, her eyes bugging out as she screams something unprintable and threatens to take back his bonus for spilling the beans on this.
Tilley also reveals that he thought Marlene was crazy to ask him to manage the Chelsea and that, “If there wasn’t a renovation taking place, I wouldn’t be here.” So this gives us a further clue as to why he left: there was no point in staying if he couldn’t renovate the place. Given this, one wonders why he wasn’t more careful to obtain the permits and the Certificate of No Harassment necessary for legal construction to begin.
“I want to have the residents input and involvement,” Tilley says, “but at the moment they hang paintings wherever they want, and that has to change.”Say goodbye, in other words, to the Chelsea’s famous spirit of freedom and wacky, anything-goes merriment. -- Ed Hamilton (Note: The article is not available online yet, but Divola express mailed us a copy of the magazine.)
Do you have a good "only in New York" story you can share? When I was promoting the book, as I mentioned, I often stay at the Chelsea Hotel. So when the publisher was putting me up, I think they probably would have leaned towards somewhere a little nicer than that. But when I insisted on the Chelsea, I think someone just said, "We'll get her the best room there, which is probably still not that much." But you know that place is run by sort of insane people so they have a place that I think no one ever rents which is essentially like a house, that is many bedrooms and bathrooms. So that's where I stayed and I was there for like more than a week and I had a couple of friends stay with me in the other bedrooms. It was a very bizarre New York experience. And actually I think my birthday happened or something and we decorated with balloons and streamers so it got even weirder. The extra funny part was when we were checking out it was actually extremely expensive, like more than the fanciest room anywhere. So that ended up being a humbling moment because it wasn't clear yet that my book was going to sell at all and I was like, "Well, I hope it's just enough to pay for this room."