The Secret History of the Chelsea Hotel

  • When the Chelsea Hotel opened in 1884, it was one of the first cooperative apartment buildings in the city. It was the city's tallest building until 1902, and in 1905 it became a hotel.

  • John Cale also mentions that Warhol hosted an "Assassination Party" days after President Kennedy's death. Cale claims the purpose of the ill-timed bash was to "lift people out of their gloom."

  • After the unsinkable ship sank in 1912, some of the people lucky enough to get on a lifeboat were put up in the Chelsea. A 1998 New York Times story said it housed the second-class passengers.

  • In a 2000 article in The Guardian Velvet Underground band member John Cale remembers meeting Betsey Johnson in her narrow room that contained nothing but a bed and a sewing machine. Here's Cale on Betsey: "Over a sleepless three days, she completed the costumes for Ciao Manhattan, and although they were the most disturbing costumes she had ever designed, she became instantly famous for her mini-skirt (simultaneously with Mary Quant in London) and Story of O dress."

  • Artist Elizabeth Peyton, famous for her renderings of rockers such as Kurt Cobain and Liam Gallagher, held her first showing in a makeshift "gallery" in a room at the Chelsea Hotel. To see the show, visitors had to request a key at the desk.

  • Sopranos actor Michael Imperioli went on "Celebrity Ghost Sightings," an apparently real show on the Bio channel, and talked about the apparition he met while staying at The Chelsea 14 years ago. Her name was Mary.