From its earliest days in the 1880’s Hotel Chelsea has been home to legends. Once New York’s tallest building, the building in the early 1900’s was converted into part hotel and part residence. A mixed use building that became legend for its clientele. While the rock and roll part I’ll get to, it’s also the myriad of other artists and actors who made the Chelsea home that will amaze you. It really is a who’s who. Mark Twain stayed there as did Jack Kerouac. Andy Warhol, Arthur Miller, and Tennessee Williams have called it home. Dennis Hopper, Ethan Hawke, Stanley Kubrick, and Mitch Hedberg have bunked here. 2001: A Space Odyssey was even written here.
What rock and rollers have stayed here? Who hasn’t! The Grateful Dead, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan have all lived here or visited. Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix have graced its halls. Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell and Jim Morrison have passed through its doors. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the death of Nancy Spungen by Sid Vicious. She was stabbed in the Hotel Chelsea by the punk rocker on October 12, 1978. Janis Joplin also made the hotel home in 1968. Leonard Cohen lived a couple rooms down. The two of them had an affair which Cohen wrote about in “Chelsea Hotel” and “Chelsea Hotel #2”
While still a great music trip, as of this writing the building is going through a renovation.and not accepting any new guests. The multi year renovation has dragged on, but you can still peer through the scaffolding to imagine what classic rock anthems were thought up and conceived in the dreary halls of the Chelsea Hotel.
If you’re in the neighborhood around dinner time, grab a bite at El Quijote. As the restaurant will attest to, it is untouched by time. Take a seat at a table that could have been where Warhol, Dylan or Morrison ate their dinner. The atmosphere here really is amazing.
While you are visiting rock and roll places in NYC stop by The Dakota.
226 W 23rd St
New York, NY 10011
163 W 23rd St, Frnt 1, New York City, NY 10011-2465
379 Grand Street, New York City, NY 10002
212-505-3700 ext. 379
Hilton New York Fashion District
152 West 26th Street, New York City, NY 10001-6975
DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel – Chelsea
128 West 29th Street, New York City, NY 10001-5301