Earlier this week we noticed some very suspicious renovations going on in the Grand Ball Room. Oddly, given the fact that they seem to be partitioning the space, we don’t see a permit on file at the Department of Buildings for this work. (We feel pretty certain that one is required. Be sure to call the DOB and complain.) The Grand Ball Room, in addition to being a beautiful historical room with striking and unique wood moldings in the shape of gargoyles on the ceiling, was artist Richard Bernstein’s home for many years. Some sources report that he moved to the Chelsea in the early 60s. Could this renovation be a surrepititious effort to take a rent stabilized room off of the rolls?
Artist Richard Bernstein designed the award winning covers of Andy Warhol's Interview magazine for 15 years. In total, he designed 120 covers. He also did covers for Time magazine and for albums by the singer Grace Jones, another former Chelsea resident. Bernstein was found dead in his room on October 18, 2002. We haven’t heard any reports of his ghost haunting the place, but this renovation seems like something that might conjure up an angry bohemian spirit. BD Hotels believes in living dangerously.
In the years following Bernstein’s death, the room served as the scene of a well attended art exhibit by resident painter Robert Lambert. Resident/gallery owner Daniel Reich held several avant garde art shows in the space.
With all of the price chopping going on around here we figure they'll probably top the partitions with chicken wire, stick a cot and a TV in them, and charge winos $20.00 per night. Maybe they figure there's a niche, since they helped gentrify the Bowery with their overpriced boutique hotel down there. (Thanks to Artie for the photos below.)