When Joseph Chetrit bought the Chelsea Hotel, there was widespread fear of what would become to the grand old dame. Would she lose her quirks and charm, the characteristics that made this The Chelsea? The Real Deal got a look around the redbrick behemoth on 23rd Street recently, and it looks like the answer is a definite yes.
In the past few days, the demolition has begun in earnest. Workers have gutted the east wing of the building’s seventh floor, an area once inhabited by novelist William S. Burroughs and actor Ethan Hawke, residents said. A visit by The Real Deal yesterday revealed that walls, doors and fixtures have been removed, leaving piles of wood and debris in their place.
The problem of missing art at the Chelsea has been a longstanding one, something the hotel’s house blog, Living with Legends, has been cataloging for some time, including these photos of a denuded lobby. Given that architect Gene Kaufman had called the project a “subtle” renovation, it’s good to know he can be so soft with a sledgehammer.