Chelsea Hotel Gala at the Players Club
Please come out and support The Chelsea Hotel Tenants Association and their cause to preserve the historic Chelsea Hotel!
The Chelsea Hotel Tenants Association
Historic Preservation Charitable Trust
If walls could talk …
Summer Benefit Auction
You are cordially invited to a gala evening with silent and live auctions to benefit The Chelsea Tenants’ Association Historic Preservation Charitable Trust & Preserve The Architecture, The Arts through Education and Awareness Program
Tuesday Evening, July 17, 2012 at 6 PM
The Players Club
16 Gramercy Park South
6:00 pm Open Bar, Hors d’oeuvres, Silent Auction
Much More !
Carolyn Marino, Mary Anne Rose-Gentry ,
Amy Quint & Zoe Pappas
Ms. LINDSEY WALLACE
NATIONAL TRUST OF HISTORIC PRESERVATION
Charles Klabunde & Lee Boyd, Carolyn & Thomas Marino,
Joseph Michaels IV, Amy Quint & Mathew Park,
Pavel Zoubok and Paul A. Baglio, Jr.
Anthony & Colleen Korf, George & Lisa Rothman,
Edward L. & Betsy Pinover Schiff,
Don Joint & BriceBrown, Edward Lewis & Glen Weilgus,
William Wilson IV & Sybao Cheng-Wilson, Judith Childs,
George & Amanda Chemeche, Colleen & Dahlia Weinstein,
Meli Pennigton, Timothy Sullivan & Hilary Farrell,
John Knoernschild, Mary Anne Rose Gentry, Tony Notarberardino,
Mark Timmerman, Rachel Cohen-Lunning.
Voices from the Chelsea Hotel Soundwalk Experience
“This is a much deeper picture of the Chelsea Hotel than the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll story that I think most people know. It seems like at its best it was more of a hive: linked as a community, with a great deal of work going on, but mostly behind closed doors. It was a nice reminder about how much of New York, even what we think of as public, is actually secret: an interesting topic to tackle in a semi-public, community-based project…Some things are best left simple; both the Chelsea Hotel itself and the soundwalk project are excellent, successful examples of this. Congratulations on your light hands and clear work.”
~ Chloë Bass, Artist & Public Practitioner ~
“It was a great event!”
~ Janet Ray Kalson, lawyer for the Chelsea Hotel Tenants Association ~
“You did quite an amazing job choosing, editing, and refining the audio material…the musical collaboration with Gerald was a gem of the experience and glued the sound-walk and history, or feeling of the Chelsea Hotel, together seamlessly. Taking the chance to collaborate so closely with a resident, and on such a crucial piece of the audio portion, was a brave choice. I felt at times during the walk that I was part of a film-noir epic…wandering with subtle clues to an imperceptible mystery.”
~ DMunk, musician and collaborator extraordinaire ~
I just want to join in the chorus of voices saying congratulations! It was touching seeing how quickly and deeply you all connected with your community, and that you were able to do something so obviously meaningful to benefit them.
~ Ellery Royston, musician and electronic sound artist ~
The group (and their volunteers) handled the beginning of the walk expertly. I was told things like “there is no wrong path” and “you can’t get lost,” and this instantly mitigated whatever anxiety I had about doing the walk as it was intended to be done. I liked the looseness of the time (viewers being encouraged to sit down and listen, people given a rough estimate of when it would be good to exit to 23rd Street), as well as the fact that it didn’t seem gimmicky at all about trying to time certain views, play head games with the listener, etc. The fact that it was not strictly timed put me in a nice, flaneur-y state of mind. There was no worrying about whether or not you were having the correct audio-plus-visual experience. I also liked the fact of seeing other people I knew experiencing the sound walk but not being able to talk to them. One potential problem with self-directed audience experiences is that suddenly people pick up a conversation from a previous meeting and quickly lose their focus on the here-and-now.
I kept thinking that the High Line seemed a long ways away from the Chelsea of Virgil Thomson and the New York Dolls. This reached a crescendo as one approached the futuristic luxury buildings near 23rd Street. It was a relief to go back to the street level. The High Line always strikes me as so mystifyingly curated. Who curated the Mexican Ice vendor? What invisible entity makes those oh-so-tasteful decisions? When you get back to street level, it’s back to the psychics and the tattoo parlors and Petland Discount. You can’t curate Petland Discount. After the audio portion, it was a pleasant shock to see the HOTEL CHELSEA sign. It was also a relief to remove the earphones and to have the city soundscape come rushing back—it hadn’t been curated completely out of existence.
~ David Grubbs, associate professor, PIMA ~
Chelsea Hiatus But Lobsterbird Flies Back Soon!
: sorry that i have been M.I.A! i had to take a brief break from NYC to travel Southeast Asia, doing a multimedia stage adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s novel The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and filming some Lobster Shenanigans…
but Chelsea has been on my mind a ton today. i will be back in less than a week and can’t wait to catch up with the residents and make some more art about and with the Hotel.
if you want to know some of what i am up to on my personal work and travels, you can check out my other blog here:
see you back here soon!
Chelsea Musings from Hal Himmelstein
What is so amazing, in this particular case, is that when I first moved to NYC in 1983 I lived down the block from the Chelsea Hotel on the 3rd floor of a dilapidated four-story apartment building next to what is now Petland. That building is gone now. I lived there from 1983 to 1989. There are so many great stories to tell about that block from the “old days.” The neighborhood is not the same any more, of course. In the basement of my apartment were a group of Puerto Rican numbers runners operating in the back room of what at night was a low-brow disco (music blaring until about 4 in the morning). The police finally arrested them in 1985. On the second floor of the building next store was a Brazilian voodoo church. On the corner of 23rd and 8th Ave was a bowling alley on the second floor of a Duane Reade drug store. And a few doors to the east of me was the famous Midnight Records, with some of the city’s greatest recycled vinyl. Toward the end of my life there (before I went to live in Finland), I was finishing work on a manuscript in between puffs on a joint. I thought I would take a walk down to little deli next to the Chelsea Hotel to get a Dove Bar. It was about midnight and I had to teach the next morning. I got the Dove Bar and headed home, but somehow missed my entryway and ended up by the Hudson River. Toward the end, my landlord sold the building which was going to be torn down to build a high rise (that never happened for some reason). He evicted the crazy former college football players on the fourth floor, and then the funky architect and his wife on the second floor. I refused to move. So one day, following my teaching day out in Brooklyn, I came home to find yellow police tape blocking the entrance; seems as though a fire had broken out in the basement. My flat was smoky but still intact, and my wonderful little black cat, LP, was OK. I managed to squeeze a few bucks out of the landlord before I vacated. Thumbnails from 23rd Street… memories brought back by the Chelsea Hotel.
: it’s against zoning laws. the Chelsea Hotel is already as big and beautiful as she needs to be.
and p.s. no one in the Hotel (and most people outside of it) want it.
“‘The hotel is already overbuilt, so there’s no room for a rooftop additional at the hotel,’ said CB4 Chair Corey Johnson at last week’s full board meeting.”
big yay to tremendous support from the Chelsea’s hero politicians, Corey Johnson and Christine Quinn!
“The residents of the Chelsea Hotel may still return to their mold-infested, dust-filled rooms this evening, but it will be with the glow of victory.
After failing to get the historic hotel’s new owner Joseph Chetrit to negotiate an agreement to repair the decaying building’s moldering walls, asbestos-filled airshafts and crumbling plaster, the tenants took the sidewalk yesterday in front of their building yesterday, along with a phalanx of politicians, to declare that they were ready to take the matter to a housing court trial.
The Chelsea Hotel Tenants Association, which filed a lawsuit against the Chetrit group to force the group to rectify unsafe conditions in the building last December, finally got its agreement today in housing court, said tenant attorney Janet Ray Kalson.
‘It’s done!’ announced a jubilant Ms. Kalson Monday afternoon. ‘The main thing was that they needed to be put under order. Now there’s a very detailed time for repairs to the building. We’re very pleased.’
The agreement is very similar to “final” one that tenants and the Chetrit group negotiated last month, Ms. Kalson said, with only a few minor changes. The landlords’ decision to renege on that deal at the last moment, insisting on yet more changes, is what prompted residents’ to seek alternative avenues to improve their living situation, she said.
But given the many promises of improved conditions that the Chetrit group has broken over its brief time as owner, did Ms. Kalson think a court order would finally do the trick?
‘We shall see… to be continued,’ she said.”
…and the battle continues on, but with support from all sides…
: apartment decorated on the 10th floor, with photos of Corey Johnson and Christine Quinn to commemorate the press conference Sunday. photo courtesy of Hotel historian Sherill Tippins
: relationships are complicated.
a blast from the past, but fascinating to consider in light of recent developments…
: press for the Chelsea Hotel as coverage on their cause starts to explode into the media!
and NYC council members speak out on behalf of the Hotel!
“’The landlord of one of Chelsea’s iconic buildings has done less than nothing to improve these conditions,’ said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. She added, ‘in fact, turning a blind eye and deaf ear to them only makes them worse.’
Neither Chetrit nor his lawyer, Fred Daniels, could be reached for comment.
The 12-story building on W. 23rd Street – which over the years has drawn artists and celebrities like Patti Smith and Bob Dylan for extended stays – was purchased by the Chetrit Group last year for close to $80 million. In December 2011, tenants sued Chetrit demanding that he repair unsafe conditions at the building.
Samuel Himmelstein, a lawyer for the tenants going to court, accused Chetrit of trying to drive long-term tenants out of the hotel. “You know you come in, you make conditions miserable, you start eviction cases against people and then you dangle money in front of people in the hope that they’ll take it since their lives are so miserable here.
‘It’s the kind of harassment we used to see in the 70’s and 80’s. It’s come back at the Chelsea,’ Himmelstein added. His firm is also representing several of the tenants facing eviction proceedings.
There are a total of 160 rooms in the building. About half were occupied by long-term tenants when Chetrit bought the building, according to Himmelstein.
Mary Ann Rose is one of those tenants. She has lived at the Chelsea Hotel since 1983. The 62-year-old artist says she has mold in her walls from water that regularly pools outside the window of her eighth floor apartment.
‘It becomes a permanent pigeon birdbath. So that’s what started the mold,’ said Rose. She is a member of the Hotel Chelsea Tenants Association. There are 43 members of the tenant association, 36 of whom are plaintiffs in the lawsuit filed in housing court.”
We Walk Again - with Mary Anne Rose
: on Thursday 5.3.12, i revisited the Chelsea Hotel Soundwalk with long-term resident Mary Anne Rose. Mary Anne was one of the voices who contributed to This is My Home and we both wanted to take the soundwalk again after the big fundraiser event that we held on Sunday 4.29.12. For different reasons we opted for a more personal experience— Mary Anne wanted to be able to listen more carefully and hear voices more clearly and i suppose that i wanted to hear the experience one last time, to listen for an ending, or perhaps for what to do next.
it was an overcast day, much different from the sunshiny vibrant vibes of the Sunday soundwalk. it was also a Thursday, and thus the High Line was much less crowded. it was just Mary Anne and myself, and on this day, in these circumstances, it was a very different experience.
we had both done the soundwalk before and so it appeared that we took turns guiding our path to the Chelsea. it felt like a constant negotiation of who was leading, and who was guiding perceptions. i had intended to give myself over entirely to where Mary Anne wanted to go— i was doing this walk mainly so she could experience it in whatever way she wanted. but then somewhere in there, i realized that i was an active part of that experience too.
we sat down very early on, and often, at Mary Anne’s request. every time i had done the walk, it was mostly walking and sometimes sitting. the nature of this particular physical score slowed down the walk and slowed me down, in a way where i was able to really sit with my thoughts as well. this walk felt very cerebral to me, and perhaps less experiential than other times. i noticed new elements of the High Line, and of the Chelsea Hotel.
one of the benches along the path happened to oddly face this blank and dirty wall. Mary Anne suggested that we sit here and look at a darker side of the High Line.
as we listened to Stories from the residents, they began to take on a whole new hue.
i found it difficult to stay on this site for very long and perhaps i was not letting it take its effect. but turning my back to it led to a whole new perspective. as i observed Mary Anne listening to the spirits from the Chelsea telling their tales, i was haunted by the image of the Empire State Building— its presence looming behind a shield of fog. smoke and mirrors— what is presented to us and what is hiding beneath.
and as we continued on our journey, things started to change yet again. Mary Anne began to point out different types of flowers— a much appreciated shift of perspective. she knew the names of many of these flowers and when i delightfully called some of them “Blueberry Stars,” she let me (even though she gently educated me that they are technically named “Blue Stars”). for the first time walking on the High Line, the bright colors of the foliage popped out at me from against the drab background of the New York City air. and literally, like a breath of fresh air, the sweet smell of some large, pink flower started to envelop us. the rebellious side of me jumped over the ropes to get a closer smell, while my respectful nature carefully attended to my feet in the non-green spaces between.
as we experienced this elevated urban garden, we listened to the residents talk about Stanley Bard and how part of the Hotel’s success hinged on his methods and means of management. he created this place that was both an artistic home and yet run in a very political (albeit eccentric) manner. what he created was both beautiful and complicated. many of the relationships he had with people were both of love and hate, annoyance and amusement, and almost always of mutual support. he was a man who operated on his instincts, with a sharp business side which allowed for the art to shine through. the juxtaposition of the flowers and architecture of the High Line spoke to this co-existence within a space and the type of energy that can be created.
and as we walked on, the nature began to take over and we were surrounded by frenetic energy of birds—in the audio of Zoe’s apartment, in the birdhouse exhibition on the High Line, and in my imagination as we walked in an area shielded by greenery.
here the residents spoke of creating art in a space with great distinctions between privacy and community. how the Chelsea has always had both— a place where you could absolutely uninhibitedly be yourself without needing to hermit entirely away. living at the Chelsea, you were surrounded by the frenetic creative energy of the particular flock of artists that inhabited the space. the Chelsea was tree that held everybody in their respective nests.
and up ahead, in the clearing, the architecture of the buildings started to creep back into view. evolving alongside the soundwalk itself was the nature of the space. it was here that i found a sculpture which i had lovingly noticed many times and now took on a whole new meaning. our species was evolving and we were moving into stories and philosophies about Gentrification.
it was also here that the High Line gave way to the architecture of the buildings.
Mary Anne pointed out things like, “hey, look at that little home up there!” or “what about this fancy apartment building?” the differences between the types of homes we are capable of creating started to glare out at me just as the flowers had done earlier in the walk. a man looked down at us from one of the top windows in the glossy piece of architecture. it shook me a little to be able to put a human face to the exterior presence of the building.
i knew from creating the soundwalk that the section on Gentrification was the second to last before the end. the idea is to finish the tour looking up at the Chelsea while listening to the finale of the audio. at first, i tried to gently push us along, but came quickly to resist that imposition of thought. it felt of the utmost importance to linger at the entrance to 23rd Street looking out to the Chelsea in the distance.
through the fog, we could barely make out the sign to the Hotel and Mary Anne and i attempted to locate the roof. the Pyramid poked through as if serving as a beacon to light the way home.
looking down onto 10th Avenue, there was a film crew directly below us at some swanky Chelsea restaurant. i thought about what we choose to create, to put out into the world, and the various lenses that we use to perceive it. through what filters do we choose to experience our lives— through sound, our sight, through someone else, even.
after a long while of contemplation, Mary Anne and i seemed to sense, together, that it was time to move on.
once on the street level, the audio hit the final section of Legacy. i had a mini moment of panic, thinking oh no, the audio is going to finish before we even get there. but as i looked over at Mary Anne— so calm and gentle and open to others and the world around her, i relaxed a little. i was convinced that it would finish before we got there and thought instead, well, that will be funny if we took too much time. and then, at least, we will have more time to discuss the soundwalk as we approach the Chelsea.
and still i found myself pushing the pace a little bit, my usual New York walking mode creeping in and my inherent sense of timing tugging at my legs. Mary Anne, as always, was one metaphorical step ahead of me saying, “oh, we have to get there and look up at the Chelsea.” we trudged along 23rd Street together.
and would you know it, between the push and pull of slowness and quickness, staying in one place and moving forward to the next, and looking back to the past and trying to create a certain kind of future, we arrived at the Chelsea in the briefest of moments before the entire soundwalk ended. to my mind, it was yet another Chelsea miracle.
in the few moments before i needed to go into the Hotel and meet with Gerald, Mary Anne and i contemplated the facade of the Chelsea. she started to point out, “oh, Nicola L. is home, her lights are on.” below her apartment, i noticed Tony was home too— his red lights and Buddha drew me in from the outside. we looked at Mary Anne’s space from this perspective and talked about who each set of windows and balconies belonged to. putting human presences and relationships to the face of the Chelsea felt incredibly intimate and oddly profound. it became clear to me in this moment how full of life this building is and how badly it needs to be preserved.
we walked around to the back of the Chelsea and looked up at the scaffolding being erected onto the roof. Mary Anne enlightened me to some of the atrocities that are being imposed on the building and about their impending court date on Monday 5.7.12. just like the transition that i perceived on the High Line, from nature to man-made architecture, i felt this shift— from our creation and execution of our art project on the Chelsea to the construction and litigation of the realities of human existence.
as i left Mary Anne, i couldn’t stop thinking— what will come of all this and what is next for the Chelsea?