Before comprehensive renovations, one last look within the infamous hotel wherein Sid killed Nancy and also where Jack Kerouac wrote On The Road.

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Perhaps no other new York City building has to be so simultaneously charmed and haunted together the Chelsea Hotel. Many infamously, it was the place where Sex Pistol Sid Vicious stabbed girlfriend Nancy Spungen to death in 1978. This wasn’t the very first death at the Chelsea, though. In the 1950s, poet Dylan Thomas passed away of drink and also pneumonia while remaining there. Twenty years later, Leonard Cohen would accomplish Janis Joplin at the hotel and they’d go on to write the track “Chelsea #2” in 1974. Mark Twain, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, Dylan Thomas, Madonna, Alice Cooper, Patti Smith, Jimi Hendrix, and also Robert Crumb were amongst its well known guest list.


In the summer that 2011, photographer Victoria Cohen heard the the Chelsea Hotel would undergo correctly renovations come the structure, which was constructed in 1884. She spent three mainly documenting every nook and also cranny the the building and the an outcome is Hotel Chelsea, a collection of photographs that the internal in that authentic, untouched state, as so many knew and also loved it. “I could not imagine the the ar that housed every that history would it is in gone. Ns felt the heart was literally being ripped out of the Chelsea,” Cohen write in the arrival to the book.

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Photo by Victoria Cohen

In the book, Cohen recalls the first time she gone into the place, 25 years prior to her project: “I remember emotion as if i were in a Fellini movie. Over there was arts everywhere–and likewise lots the rockers, models, freaks, and druggies…I saw a pair of drag majesties using the telephone booths as transforming rooms. To my right, ns spied a drug transaction being make in the doorway of the stairwell. Appropriate behind me was a vast Larry Rivers painting. The was every so incredible.”

Many world don’t know that the Chelsea’s knack because that attracting artists wasn’t coincidental. The architect, Philip Hubert, was brought up as a Socialist and also was affected by the viewpoint of Charles Fourier, who believed in participating living and also designed structures called phalansteries, i beg your pardon operated likewise to communes. Hubert designed the Chelsea as a socialist utopian living space, with built-in artist studios, communal dining spaces, and even a hospital clinic.


Strangely, this place renowned for bohemia, violence, an innovative catharsis, and also celebrity shows up benign in Cohen’s photographs. What is it about this plain white wall, crate of tissues, and simple writing desk that assisted inspire Allen Ginsberg’s Howl or william S. Burroughs’ Naked having lunch or Jack Kerouac’s On The Road? The photographs spark questions around the power of place; the subtle affect of interior architecture on people’s minds.

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Photo by Victoria Cohen

It’s both a coffee table book and a historic document–an attempt at preserving the hotel’s original interior architecture when the tides the time set out to change it. The Chelsea’s remodeling is component of a long list of recent revisions to the see of new York City, including the demolition of long Island City graffiti haven five Pointz, the painting-over that a lover Keith Haring mural on Houston Street, and also the closing of CBGB. These city makeovers often feel prefer painful losses to longtime residents, nostalgic because that the days before a hipster-fied l train. This book pays homage to the watershed time the punk and also beatnik culture.