Future of NYC's Chelsea Hotel Uncertain

AFP: The famed Chelsea Hotel -- muse, home and party space to generations of New York musicians and writers -- faced an uncertain future Monday as the doors apparently closed on guests.

An employee at the legendary hotel confirmed a New York Times article reporting that rooms would no longer be available for short-term stays while renovations take place.

"We are not taking reservations," the employee said, declining to give his name.

The hotel's website was still processing reservations, however. The employee did not know how long the suspension would last and there was no immediate reply from a spokesman for the hotel.

The Chelsea has been in turmoil since going on the market, with the probable buyer expected to be developer Joseph Chetrit, according to the Times. The deal, worth $80 million, had not gone through by the end of the weekend, the report said.

Large-scale renovations are expected to take a year, during which the 100 permanent residents who live in apartments will be allowed to stay. Chetrit is reported to plan to keep the Chelsea as a hotel, although this is not confirmed.

The 12-floor building with the neon sign "Hotel Chelsea" is a landmark in Manhattan thanks to its long list of famous residents. Playwright Arthur Miller and singers Janis Joplin and Patti Smith were among those living there. Poet Dylan Thomas died there, as did Nancy, the girlfriend of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious.

Andy Warhol made a film called "Chelsea Girls", while Leonard Cohen immortalized the place in a song about his brief encounter there with Joplin, singing, "I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel."

In his classic song "Sara," Bob Dylan sang about how he was, "Staying up for days in the Chelsea Hotel, writing 'Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands' for you."


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