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"This book preview contains selected pages from Great, Grand & Famous Hotels. If you wish to purchase the book or find out more, please go to
Hotels : Sample NY
134 CHAPTER 8 An Artists' Enclave Th e chelsea hotel The only significant hotel to survive from downtown Manhattan and the Gilded Age is the Chelsea Hotel. Built in 1883 on 23rd Street between 7th and 8th Avenue, it was the tallest building in New York City until 1902. After failing as a residential co-operative, the Chelsea was reconfigured in 1905 into a sober and respectable hotel. Up until 2007, it was managed by the indefatigable Stanley Bard for 48 years. The building that now houses the Hotel Chelsea was a private apartment co-operative in 1883. At the time it was in the centre of New York's theatre district. However, within a few years the combination of economic woes and the relocation of the theatres effectively bankrupted the Chelsea. In April 1912, the Chelsea was one of several New York hotels to take in survivors from the sinking of the Titanic, who had arrived in New York on the ship Caparthia. Those from steerage were directed to Hotel Riverview on Jane Street, while first- class passengers recuperated at the Chelsea and the Waldorf=Astoria. The Chelsea remains one of New York's most remarkable landmarks, with a reputation resting largely on the extent to which its management has tolerated and indeed embraced many promising unknowns who went on to spectacular careers. Art from many former tenants hangs on the walls, much of it in lieu of rent. The rooms to this day have a fantastic 'period feel' and the hotel is still crowded with creative and unconventional people. Unfortunately the rock-bottom tariffs are something of the past as nostalgia groupies happily pay top dollar for an opportunity to soak up a little of the hotel's celebrity aura. The future of the hotel, which has recently undergone a controversial change of management, is uncertain. Above: Dylan Thomas, New York City, 1950.