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Friday, October 19, 2007

Legends of the Chelsea Hotel


The long-awaited book by Ed Hamilton, Legends of the Chelsea Hotel is now available in bookstores everywhere! You may have followed the trials and tribulations of the Chelsea Hotel on his great blog, Hotel Chelsea Blog and if you haven't, do check them out!

Here are some early reviews of the book, interspersed with my own photos of people who stayed there and partied there.

And it’s in these little quips about impatient junkies in line for the bathroom and beggars too coked up to ask for change, that Hamilton’s quiet brilliance speaks the loudest. When he recounts how he tossed out a deceased designer’s drafting table because he knew it was meant for "someone who could tap into the energy of the old designer in a way I wasn’t quite able to," one can’t help but feel the sting of irony in a wise writer’s failure to write about anything besides his failures. Then again, what better way for Hamilton to articulate Chelsea’s fusion of art and pain—the very stuff of which legends are made. --American Songwriter

tim discovers chelsea
My friend Tim James, from San Francisco wanted to see the Chelsea on his first - ever visit to NYC

Hamilton skillfully interweaves his memories of residents with a history of the 23rd Street hotel…Recent management changes and the Chelsea’s uncertain future make this nostalgic portrait of the hotel’s ‘fabled madness’ all the more poignant. —Publishers Weekly

yoga guru lance
Lance Loud lived at the Chelsea Hotel after he left California -
when his mom visited, the whole visit could be seen on the
PBS television series, An American Family.

[Hamilton’s] succinct yet conversational style makes for an engrossing read with crossover appeal for fans of Beat literature, punk music, Warhol superstars, and the gritty underside of Hollywood…The adaptation of blog posts to a monograph is smooth, and the clipped prose and brief, surreal vignettes make the book only more endearing, a delightful hybrid of journalism and gonzo mythologizing. Recommended. —Library Journal

[Hamilton] writes of the famous, the infamous, and the derelicts who have called the Chelsea ‘home’ over 100 fecund years."—Library Journal (Editor’s Fall Pick)
"A meandering history of a bohemian landmark.
—Kirkus Reviews

Hamilton has no shortage of stories to tell…Wicked good dishing. —Booklist

stiv and sid

Sid Vicious famously lived in the Chelsea, where he woke up to find his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen dead in a pool of blood. In 2003, on one of the Sex Pistols reunion tours, I attended a post-show party for the band at a club under the Chelsea Hotel. In 2003, Paul Cook looked just as good as he does in this photo! Glen Matlock looked youthful too. Sid will always be just 21...


Finally... the photo below is me in 1990 (self portrait - thank the timers on cameras and thank tripods for the execution of self portraits!) on the roof of my apartment building at 216 Seventh Avenue, at 23rd St. My bedroom window looked out at the Chelsea Hotel's back windows on one side and into Johnny Ramone's apartment on 22nd Street on the other side. And yes, both people in the Chelsea as well as Johnny and Linda could see into my apartment too! That's NYC for you.

tk 01

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