On April 3, the Museum of the City of New York will host a reading and panel discussion to commemorate New York ’s famed Chelsea Hotel, home over the years to stars ranging from Dylan Thomas and Arthur Miller to Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. The public will have a unique opportunity to grill the experts on the past, present and future of the iconic landmark, including the recent corporate takeover that threatens the hotel’s historic role as a haven for the arts. I will read from, and sign copies of Legends of the Chelsea Hotel: Living with the Artists and Outlaws of New York’s Rebel Mecca (Thunder’s Mouth Press). Panelists for the discussion to follow will include preservationist Edward Kirkland and author/Chelsea Hotel historian Sherrill Tippins. Former Chelsea Now editor Lawrence Lerner will moderate the discussion.
As an additional treat, a recent video interview of former hotel manager Stanley Bard, making one of his first public statements since his ouster in June of last year, will be shown. Some of the questions that Stanley may address include: How is he handling his forced retirement? Does he plan to continue the fight to regain control of the hotel? What’s in store for the future of the Chelsea Hotel?
I’ll provide the inside scoop about how it was to live through the hotel’s recent transformation from a wild and wooly artistic flophouse into something that’s increasingly coming to resemble a fancy boutique hotel. In addition, I’ll handle all questions about how to keep junkies out of your bathroom.
Noted author and historian Sherrill Tippins (February House), who is presently at work on a history of the Chelsea Hotel (Dream Palace: The Extraordinary Life of the Chelsea Hotel), will discuss the Chelsea’s origin as an arts coop and how it has persisted as a cultural institution and haven for the arts throughout its 125 years. Will she break our hearts by telling us that Sarah Bernhardt and Mark Twain never really stayed at the Chelsea? Any questions about ghosts at the Chelsea should also be referred to her.
Edward Kirkland, Chair Emeritus of the CB 4 Chelsea Preservation and Planning Committee, will be on hand to answer any questions about the Chelsea’s landmark status. Will the new corporate management company be able to tear down the famous staircase? What was the Chelsea like when it was originally landmarked? Kirkland is the man to ask.
Former Chelsea Now editor Lawrence Lerner, who in his time at that paper expanded coverage of education, illegal hotels, real estate development, affordable housing, the LBGT community and myriad other issues, was present at the Chelsea Hotel’s recent takeover, providing in-depth coverage of the issues surrounding the Bard family’s ouster.
Seniors and students get in for $5.00. Everybody else pays $9.00. The Museum is located at