New Photos Show Chelsea Hotel Basically Gutted

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Should you need any proof that Manhattan in the 21st century is a very different place from the artist-friendly (and, OK, often unsafe) urban jungle that welcomed Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe in the 1970s, look no further than the fate of the legendary Hotel Chelsea. The place where Dylan Thomas and Nancy Spungen died, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen wrote some of their most famous songs, and the Beats made their unofficial headquarters was put up for sale last fall. And now that it’s been bought by Joseph Chetrit, “the most mysterious big shot in New York real estate,” it seems the hotel and residence is slowly losing its history.

Gothamist has posted a pair of photos by Hotel Chelsea resident and author Ed Hamilton, who also blogs about the hotel, and they’re pretty freaking depressing. According to Hamilton, the images below show “the remains of American writer Thomas Wolfe’s last residence in New York City. Where he worked on You Can’t Go Home Again, in 1938.” Hamilton tells Gothamist that the gutted space is part of the new owner’s plan to get rid of as many residents as possible — ostensibly so he can renovate the spaces and, in the process, render them virtually unrecognizable.

Photo credit: Ed Hamilton

Photo credit: Ed Hamilton