Chelsea Hotel Celebrates History; Future Uncertain

It’s been years since the famous Chelsea Hotel opened up its Grand Ballroom. On Friday, the doors will finally be

It’s been years since the famous Chelsea Hotel opened up its Grand Ballroom. On Friday, the doors will finally be unlocked for an exhibit of more than 100 photographs taken at or inspired by the 125-year-old artistic enclave.

The show, curated by Chelsea resident and photographer Linda Troeller with the help of hotel co-owner (and rumored interim manager) David Elder, opens May 9 and runs through Sunday, May 11, from noon to 6 p.m.

The exhibition comes at a pivotal time for the iconic-yet-embattled lodge, which saw its second management shakeup in less than a year last week.

The New York Post today reports on the ouster of corporate manager BD NY Hotels, which The Observer reported last week. (Expect further details of the shakeup in Wednesday’s Observer.)

Full details on the show (and obligatory namedropping of the hotel’s famous inhabitants) are as follows:



THE CHELSEA HOTEL, a historic landmark hotel and an iconic gathering place for artists in all genres turns 125 years old this year. To celebrate this glamorous outpost of Bohemia, photographers will exhibit their work in homage to this inspirational place where luminaries such as Mark Twain, Madonna, and Martha Graham worked.

The exhibition will be held in the hotel, located at 222 W 23rd St. It opens Friday, May 9 and runs through Sunday, May 11 from noon to 6pm. (It is the weekend before the first New York Photography Festival.) ³The show will unite colleagues in a celebration of this cultural icon,² says curator Linda Troeller, a longtime resident of the hotel and the author of a recent photo book, Hotel Chelsea Atmosphere: An Artist¹s Memoir.

David Elder, a Vice President of the hotel, will co-curate the exhibit with Troeller. They have selected editorial, advertising, music, portraits and art projects shot in the hotel. ³The show is meant to capture the hotel¹s unique visual history in this time when a lot of NYC history is vanishing,²Dear says Troeller, an award-winning photographer whose photographs of the Chelsea Hotel were recently published in the NY Times, Flair Magazine, (Italy) and Le Monde 2 (Paris).

Built in 1884 as the tallest building in New York, the hotel has a famous staircase surrounding 10 floors. While the roster of residents past and present reads like a Who¹s Who in the art world, the magnetic draw reaches further. For many of the hotel¹s illustrious residents, it is about the ability to bring their dreams to fruition. Photographer Ralph Gibson created his first Lustrumbook while living in the hotel in the early 70’s; Magnum photographersHenri Cartier Bresson and Inga Morath and Robert Mapplethorpe also lived in the hotel.Whether or not you believe Sid Vicious still haunts the place or if Dylan Thomas fell into his fatal coma after drinking 18 whiskies here, the hotel is filled with dreams and art of several generations, some of which is scattered through the building.

The community and press are invited to join in the spirit of the creativity the hotel has fostered and wish a happy birthday to the Chelsea Hotel.

Chelsea Hotel Celebrates History; Future Uncertain