Hotel Chelsea, New York City’s most renowned artist haven, has harbored the creative minds of Leonard Cohen, Arthur Miller, Dylan Thomas and countless others who wrote or composed many a masterpiece within its walls. Closed for renovation in 2011, the hotel is still home to around 100 permanent residents and many ghosts of rock stars and poets past, some of whom ended their tumultuous lives at the hotel.
Rumors that Andre Balazs was in talks to buy the hotel and turn it into a New York version of Chateau Marmont circulated last year, though it ended up being sold to developer Joseph Chetrit in May 2011 for $80 million. Today the Hotel Chelsea is making headlines as many worry what will become of this New York City staple.
Patti Smith, who has lived in the hotel on two separate occasions, is lobbying for the preservation of the Hotel Chelsea, fearing that the new management’s renovation efforts will rob the landmarked building of its vintage rock and roll charm. In an effort to show her solidarity, Smith invited all the remaining tenants to a private concert at the hotel. The residents turned down her offer, assuming the Hotel Chelsea’s new owner was behind Smith’s initiative. The singer issued a statement responding to critiques and reiterating her loyalty to the hotel and its residents:
“My small performance for the tenants was my own idea. My hope is that we might have a nice evening and the opportunity to communicate directly. I am an independent person, not owned or directed by anyone. My allegiance is to the hotel itself, and I have done nothing to tarnish it.”
Residents, though grateful, still asked Smith to perform elsewhere, in a “neutral venue.” Smith obliged and canceled her private concert while the city anxiously awaits the unveiling of the new Hotel Chelsea.