A short list includes: Mark Twain, O. Henry, Dylan Thomas, Arthur C. Clarke, William S. Burroughs, Arthur Miller, Quentin Crisp, Gore Vidal, Tennessee Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac (who wrote On the Road there), Simone de Beauvoir, Robert Oppenheimer, Jean-Paul Sartre, Thomas Wolfe. Stanley Kubrick, Ethan Hawke, Dennis Hopper, Uma Thurman, Elliot Gould, Jane Fonda, The Grateful Dead, Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Dee Dee Ramone, Henri Chopin, Edith Piaf, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Alice Cooper, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Sid Vicious, Leonard Cohen, Madonna, Robert Mapplethorpe, Robert Crumb, Jasper Johns, Willem De Kooning and Henri Cartier-Bresson.
From the Hotel Chelsea website:
The hotel has always been a center of artistic and bohemian activity and it houses artwork created by many of the artists who have visited. The hotel was the first building to be listed by New York City as a cultural preservation site and historic building of note. The twelve-story red-brick building that now houses the Hotel Chelsea was built in 1883 as a private apartment cooperative that opened in 1884; it was the tallest building in New York until 1899. At the time Chelsea, and particularly the street on which the hotel was located, was the center of New York's Theater District. However, within a few years the combination of economic worries and the relocation of the theaters bankrupted the Chelsea cooperative. In 1905, the building was purchased and opened as a hotel.
Owing to its long list of famous guests and residents, the hotel has an ornate history, both as a birth place of creative modern art and home of bad behavior. Bob Dylan composed songs while staying at the Chelsea, and poets Allen Ginsberg and Gregory Corso chose it as a place for philosophical and intellectual exchange. It is also known as the place where the writer Dylan Thomas died of alcohol poisoning on in 1953, and where Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols may have stabbed his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, to death on October 12, 1978.
Hotel Chelsea is also architecturally significant. The Victorian Gothic red-brick structure with its wrought iron balconies, located at 222 West 23rd Street in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. One of the main attractions here is the art that graces the lobby and the 12-story stairway. The stairway is off limits to walk-in visitors (there is a monthly tour), however, the lobby is open to all.
I cannot speak to the rooms here - I have never been in one, but the place does has a reputation for shabby chic. People stay here for the history and artistic clientele and ambiance, not for the ultimate in luxury or slick room furnishings. At the current time, there are approximately 250 rooms in the hotel - roughly half are still occupied by permanent residents. Long-term residency is no longer granted to newcomers, and as rooms of long-term tenants are vacated, they are converted to hotel rooms.
The Hotel Chelsea is one of the most unique residences/hotels in New York City, if not the USA. For most of us, its past residents are a who's who of American culture. For those who were fortunate enough to have stayed there in the past, it was living with legends...