New skin for the old ceremony


The Chelsea Hotel was built in 1883 as a housing cooperative with about 100 apartments. It is situated in the Chelsea area in Manhattan, New York. The twelfth story building was made into an apartment hotel in 1905 and then created as a refuge for the arts by father and son Bard between 1942 and 2007. Especially in those years, the hotel got a name for housing writers, musicians and entertainment artists, along with its Bohemian character.

The list of tenants is long an impressive: Arthur C Clarke (wrote his 2001 A Space Odyssey here), Tom Waits, Arthur Miller, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Jack Kerouac, Stanley Kubrick, Sarah Bernhardt (slept curiously in a coffin), Al Pacino, Nico (also wrote a song about the hotel), Edith Piaf, the list goes on. And Leonard Cohen stayed here. He wrote two songs about it, this album features the second. It is conveniently called #2.

It seems to me the apartment hotel is very much an American invention. It is a hotel for long staying clients. You can stay in an apartment for any period of time, from a few days to years. It has the amenities of a hotel, but the extras that you can expect of a full house.

After a few rebuilding projects and changes of ownership since 2007, the building is opened in 2022 as a luxury hotel, operating under the same name. Prices went a bit up though. An apartment that would have set you back around $3000 per month in today’s money is now offered for around $3000 per night.

Add a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *