Leonard Cohen celebrated it in his timeless song “Chelsea Hotel”, Andy Warhol in his mythical “Chelsea Girls”, true milestone of underground cinema. We are obviously talking about Chelsea Hotel in New York, for decades essential point of reference for artists, musicians, directors, actors and fashion designers. Jackson Pollock, Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, Dylan Thomas, Leonard Cohen, Nico, Sid Vicious, Arthur Miller, Bob Dylan, William S. Burroughs, Janis Joplin, Eugene O’Neill, Rufus Wainwright, Thomas Wolfe, Jasper Johns (and we could add more) have stayed several times at this hotel, melting pot of creativity built between 1883 and 1885 under the direction of architect Philip Hubert in a style called “Victorian Gothic”, Chelsea Hotel was declared accessible in 1884.
The elegant wrought-iron, floral-patterned balconies and the big internal staircase going up twelve floors were key features of this building, at the time the highest in New York. Although over the years this place has obviously changed and the creative mood permeating it has become less wild and uncontrolled than it used to be, it keeps being inhabited by artists of any kind, as showed by the book “Hotel Chelsea: Living in the Last Bohemian Haven”. Published by Monicelli Press, this volume written by Ray Mock and illustrated with the beautiful images of Colin Miller guides us into the original apartments of a large group of current residents explaining us what it means to live in a legendary place considered as a national monument.