New Yorkers Have Forgotten the Chelsea Hotel, But Pricelining Midwesterners Love It

hotel chelsea 0 New Yorkers Have Forgotten the Chelsea Hotel, But Pricelining Midwesterners Love ItWe still love the Chelsea Hotel, but according to an article in The Times today, that makes us fuddy duddies:

[W]hen the news came in October that the Chelsea, a 12-story Queen Anne behemoth built in 1883 on West 23rd Street, was up for sale, New Yorkers reacted with little more than a shrug. Never mind that the same families had owned and more or less nurtured the place for 65 years. Never mind that it had long been the breeding ground for boundless creativity and bottomless self-destruction. The closing of CBGB, the punk pantheon, elicited much breast-beating, though its demise was slow and steady. But the prospect of the Chelsea changing hands, ushering in an unknown future, barely registered a whimper.

So what went wrong? Perhaps it was the clientele, as former resident David Barton astutely notes:

“There was a moment where the hotel rooms were really expensive,” Mr. Barton said. “Japanese tourists would come with 12 Louis Vuitton trunks, and we would laugh at them. Now it feels like Priceline.com. Whole families from Cincinnati were coming in saying, ‘We want to see where Sid killed Nancy.’ “

No wonder New Yorkers could care less–this sounds just like Times Square.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @mc_nyo