Guest Post - Jim Baxter - Hotel Chelsea, Manhattan


The news that Manhattan’s Hotel  Chelsea is to change hands for the first time in almost 70 years brings deep unease to those of us who like to believe that there are living pockets of creative, resilient anarchy in the world's great cities.

I visited the Chelsea only once and only for a few minutes. I wanted to see its humane staircase, there, if needed, for many a last exit. That  would be about  enough for me. In there I would absorb  in minutes what was for me a lifetime's dose of ionising anarchy.
Having looked up at all that overwrought iron  I‘d seen enough. But I wanted one more thing - a little souvenir  for a Burroughs-loving friend of mine. I approached the small front desk. In front of me a large man was in discussions with the much smaller man behind the desk.

'You will not speak to my wife like that'.

'She was upsetting people. She was very loud'.

'You will NOT speak to my wife like that. Do you understand me?'.

'She was upsetting people. I had to say something to her'.

'You will not speak to my wife like that'.

Eventually the man moved away, no happier. Now I spoke to the man behind the desk, whose thoughts were not with me.

'Good morning. I wonder if I could have one of your business cards'.

'A BUSINESS card? Jeez, I can't cope with the stress. You wanna make my life more difficult?'

'OK, how about two business cards?'

I got my cards from there, in more ways than one I felt. I just wasn’t Chelsea enough even to begin to inspire them to  what they could really do. Not even close.

The developing story of any hateful developers can be followed here:


James said...

East Berlin still has some great hotels trapped in time. Lifts where you have to close the metal shutters and keep back from the edge. Huge rooms with balconies overlooking the city. Huge breakfasts with strong coffee and lots of sausage and omelette. Enjoyed outside in the back gardens.
No air con in a lot of them though so like an oven in July ;)

Smoking Hot said...

Ah, lifts where the only doors are on the floors and not on the lifts themselves. Reminds me of the USSR. :)

Jim Baxter said...

It makes you wonder a little if the former Soviet bloc is now the last hope for individuality. There was that Russian government minister who praised smokers for their voluntary contributions to the economy.

It's come to something.