I don't spend as much time in Chelsea as I used to before Pier 63 shut down (and again, so glad to hear it'll finally be open again this year), but one visit I made last fall was because my friend Larry told me about a reading he was attending at a local independent bookseller. The reader was Ed Hamilton, the book was Legends of the Chelsea Hotel: Living with the Artists and Outlaws of New York's Rebel Mecca and it was a really enjoyable evening. Ed's a good storyteller.
The Chelsea Hotel has been a famous haven for eccentrics, bohemians, artists, the sort of people that give this city a lot of its' flavor, all sorts of people have found a home there - Larry has his own story of being "rescued" by Stanley Bard, the old manager of the hotel. He went through a very very rough time in his life after a divorce from his husband of years. It's so very, very strange to think of the word "homeless" in relation to a friend but the fact was that there was a period of time when Larry didn't really have a place to call his own - it's so easy to make the knee-jerk connection of "homeless" to a bum on a park bench but homelessness is not always that simple, is it? He finally went to the Chelsea - Stanley heard his story & gave him a small pink room & there he was able to start to recollect himself. The hotel had it's scruffy side, but there was also a humanity there & I'm glad it was still there when Larry went there. Things are changing now though...anyways, you can hear more from Ed (and Stanley, in a video interview) on Thursday, April 3rd at the Museum of the City of New York. Full details on the Living with Legends blog.