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Legends of the Chelsea Hotel: Living with Artists and Outlaws in New York's Rebel Mecca Paperback – 2 Nov 2007


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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (2 Nov. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568583796
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568583792
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.1 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 358,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In the 1980s I was living in Washington, D.C., going to graduate school and teaching philosophy at the University of Maryland. I was sick of philosophy by this point but, like most people in D.C., I was really into politics. I also spent more time writing about politics than I did on my work for graduate school. I convinced myself that I needed to get a PhD and teach philosophy, even though all I wanted to do was write. Finally, along with my girlfriend, I packed up and moved to New York with the express intent to live in the Chelsea Hotel.

My first non-fiction book, "Legends of the Chelsea Hotel: Living with the Artists and Outlaws of New York's Rebel Mecca," was an extension of Hotel Chelsea blog, which started as a chronicle of the outrageous events that always seem to happen at the hotel, but with the removal of the Bard Family, turned into a eulogy of sorts.

I hope that "Legends" will draw attention to this unique cultural institution, so that interested people who can help will lend a hand and hopefully save us from the greed of the developers who are overrunning New York. There ought to be a place in this city for people who are concerned about something more than simply lining their pockets. New York is the Arts capital of the world, but it will not be for long if artists cannot afford to live here. I am optimistic that the Chelsea Hotel will yet be reborn in coming years, albeit maybe in some other form, as a haven for the arts.
You can find my recent fiction in various small literary magazines and online publications.

Product Description

Review

"I recommend picking up Ed Hamilton's "Legends of the Chelsea Hotel", which has many more stories of the famous landmark where Smith, Mapplethorpe, and many other renowned writers, musicians, and artists stayed."
Kansas City's "Pitch Weekly" blog, 2/11/10
 
“One of the recurring pleasures of Ed Hamilton’s Legends of the Chelsea Hotel is his sly rendering of its former proprietor, Stanley Bard, an eccentric patron of the arts…There’s something remarkable about the way the author manages to celebrate the Chelsea’s singular atmosphere without ever forgetting how toxic the air is for many of the people who come desperate to breathe it…What really resonates in the book, what makes it so sorrowful at times, is Hamilton’s evocation of all the young and old hopefuls who have just enough ambition to push their lives past the point of no return. Legends comes close to convincing you that, as destructive drugs go, self-delusion has heroin beat.”
New York Times Book Review, October 28, 2007

"Legends of the Chelsea Hotel" is a collection of bizarre tableaux -- aging actresses, bathroom high jinks, ghosts and tricksters. It is full of affection for a passing era. Surrounded by creeping gentrification, the Chelsea may not long remain affordable to the kinds of characters Hamilton describes.”
Los AngelesTimes, January 6, 2008
 
“A fascinating group of stories of the famous and obscure… Hamilton’s tales are funny, poignant, sobering portraits of an old hotel and its storied, sometimes checkered past.”
Elmore: Saving American Music, March 2008

About the Author

Ed Hamilton’s fiction has appeared in Modern Drunkard, The River Walk Journal, SoMa Literary Review, The Journal of Kentucky Studies, Exquisite Corpse, Southern Ocean Review, Limestone: A Journal of Art and Literature, Lumpen Times, and Best College Stories. Ed contributes the weekly “Slice of Life” column to “Living with Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog” (www.hotelchelseablog.com). He has lived at the Chelsea Hotel for nearly 10 years.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By DOPPLEGANGER TOP 500 REVIEWER on 12 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ed Hamilton entices the reader to step over the threshold of perhaps one of the most famous or infamous hotels in the world, and experience almost the reality of being a guest. From Dee Dee Ramones flashbacks, lesbian activist Storme DeLarverie, Jack Kerouac, Madonna, Patti Smith, Arthur Miller, Sid Vicious(who is alleged to have murdered his girlfriend Nancy whilst staying there) and many other famous, and not so famous stars, arty types, musicians,author's and poets, eccentrics, wannabe's, drug addicts and bums.

Until recently the hotel was managed and part-owned by Stanley Bard who's management style was to ignore most requests for improved conditions, and pretend not to see or acknowledge any of the atrocities or terrible behaviour occuring on his premises. Funny though by the end of this most readable book I was developing a sneaky regard for him.

Buy it, read it, you will not be disappointed. A great write!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kaz 1 on 16 Aug. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Currently reading this book and cannot put it down. I was astounded when a work colleague said she 'didn't get it' Oh, the ignorance of youth! For all you young boys and girls out there, who are equally ignorant (but I doubt you are), the Chelsea is a beautiful, iconic New York landmark. Since it's birth, it has attracted many artistic types - some famous and others not so lucky. The author (who is also a resident) tells the tale of the hotel & some of it's many residents. The hotel has many tennants who permenantly live there and it also used to be a place you could also go and stay. Sadly, since new owners acquired the property, you can no longer live or stay there. Many tennants still call it home, but sadly they won't be getting new neighbours any time soon. I ask you, what's not to get about that!
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Format: Paperback
Ah I loved this book. Some great stories here on a fascinating hotel that rightly holds a place in the history of New York City. Great stories about the residents of the Chelsea Hotel written by a resident who still lives there. I think I read this in a few days, which is unusual for me, and was sad when I came to the closing sentence. I'm even more saddened to read about what is now happening to this great hotel. The Chelsea Hotel is truly a place for inspiration and for the dreamers who have taken the road less travelled in life. Shame on the Chetrit Brothers who are now turning the hotel into just another corporate clone. You can put as much Egyptian cotton sheets into the place as you like but you will not be able to eradicate the spirit of the Chelsea, that lives in the hearts and minds of the residents and guests past and present. Highly recommend this great book.
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By JANEY on 1 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
I ordered this book from Amazon last week after looking at the amazing black and white photographs in Julia Calfee's book of the residents of the Chelsea Hotel. After seeing all the amazing photographs, this book is full of short chapters on some of the most bizzare and famous residents, giving a brief introduction to them and a glimpse in to their lives at the hotel, either in the lift, the lobby, wandering the corridors, or just how they lived in their rooms. It is a fascinating read.

For anyone with an interest in the hotel, or just wishing to see what the hotel was about, I would highly recommend this book, it is well written and very witty, it makes you wish you could just call in to the hotel (if it was still there) and just sit in the lobby to people watch for a few hours! Highly recommended. I LOVED IT.
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By ID on 3 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
The 4th of July 2010 was a big wedding anniversary for us. Obama had revived our love for the USA. Only one place we could stay on the day. We bought 2 copies of Ed's book when we discovered it - one for each of us, and read it in Room 101 with the ghosts of Sid and Nancy looking over our shoulders.

Ed paints a great picture of The Chelsea from first-hand knowledge. If you can't visit the hotel, but know its place in 20th century culture, read the book. Toss in Hallelujah by Tim Foreman and Just Kids by Patti Smith and you have your holiday reading. At the time of writing there is hope that the spirit of The Chelsea may survive with a return of the old owners. If not Ed's book will be a sad but fitting epitaph.Leonard Cohen: Hallelujah Just Kids
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't know how somebody who doesn't know the Chelsea would take this book. You'd assume that most of it was exaggeration or fiction.

If you do know and love the place, it's a fond, sad memory of what it was in years past. It's worth reading just for that.
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By Ski on 6 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fantastic insight into life at the Chelsea Hotel and a really interesting read. Whether the Chelsea holds an ongoing fascination for you or its just a passing interest, this book will draw you into an unforgettable and chaotic world of drugs, art and insanity.
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