After nabbing managerial control of the hallowed Chelsea Hotel this past summer, luxury lodging moguls Richard Born and Ira Drukier promised a glorious rebirth of the ancient inn on West 23rd Street.
No wonder, then, that they’ve installed a baby dictator behind the front desk.
Fresh-faced Glennon Travis, 26, currently presides over day-to-day operations of the old bohemian enclave, following esteemed septuagenarian manager Stanley Bard’s highly publicized, highly controversial ouster in June.
Mr. Travis, a smartly dressed, neatly coiffed, smug sort of supervisor, who showed up to work on Monday in a navy blue suit with pointy black shoes, has tried to bring some orderly fashion to the renowned nonconformist mecca.
If the previous manager, Mr. Bard, is to be remembered for his fanatical devotion to the arts—famously housing scores of notable artists, writers and musicians over a span of nearly half a century—then perhaps Mr. Travis, the new director of operations, will be remembered for his, um, mastery of the memo:
“Please remove personal items from the hallways.”
“Please note that children are not to be left unattended in the public areas of the hotel.”
Indeed, Mr. Travis’ meticulous modus operandi stands in stark contrast to his fiercely unconventional forebear, Mr. Bard. “I don’t think Stanley ever wrote a memo in his entire life!” quipped one longtime Chelsea Hotel inhabitant.
Critics of the two dissimilar operators have even complained of distinguishable forms of favoritism. Detractors have said that Mr. Bard was often kinder toward the hotel’s heavily artsy, long-term tenants; conversely, Mr. Travis has been faulted for his apparent proclivity toward transient short-term tourists.
Described by disgruntled year-round hotel dwellers as cold, curt and quick to call the cops, Mr. Travis did little to allay his standoffish reputation when recently approached for an interview.
“I really don’t have any comment for your story,” Mr. Travis told The Observer. “But we’ve got some good stuff coming up,” he added, “so keep an eye out for that.”
As if spectators to this tumultuous lodging drama weren’t watchful enough already!
Many Chelsea Hotel tenants have been fretting about the new management’s plans for months. Ever since Mr. Bard’s summer overthrow by rival heirs to the hotel—the result of a lengthy court-ordered corporate arbitration that ultimately forced Mr. Bard and his family to relinquish managerial control, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars in “excessive compensation” and legal fees—residents have been fearing a mass exodus of the creative kind, as the new regime pushes for upscale renovations and higher room rates. (Rumors are now circulating about the new rulers’ clandestine room-redecorating operation.)
So far, there have been few, if any, actual evictions since the changeover. In fact, the last official eviction proceeding, according to court records, was initiated last spring by Mr. Bard’s son, David Bard, then the hotel’s president.
But there have been defectors who, after receiving ominous rent-collection letters, opted to move out rather than lawyer up. Just last month, noted Andy Warhol and Keith Richards biographer Victor Bockris packed up his things and shipped out.
Even amid such turnover, the remaining creative types soldier on. Photographer Linda Troeller and her husband, Lothar Troeller, for instance, have started documenting the woeful exits of their kindred denizens, a slowly growing collection of snapshots tentatively titled “Last Days.”