In the summer of 2007 we had the pleasure of being shown around the Hotel Chelsea by Stanley Bard, who was in the midst of being ousted from the hotel by its board of directors. His father David purchased the hotel in 1939, and Stanley took over when he died in the 1970s. He is likely one of the most beloved landlords in New York City history, and his forced departure from the hotel was confusing, depressing, and the first of many changes that have taken place since.
Currently the hotel is owned by Joseph Chetrit, who has been evicting long time residents, gutting rooms, stripping the art from the walls, and angling to turn the roof into a nightclub. Below, you can watch our long lost video (it went missing for a long time) of Bard telling us about the changes the hotel was undergoing five years ago... the beginning of the end.
It's worth revisiting Bard when he was still allowed in the home he created, albeit absolutely heartbreaking to hear his words from that time:
"I created something over a lifetime that I thought was beautiful and worth preserving, and so respected... by everyone. I felt it would be a shame to have that disturbed in any way. I never wanted the Chelsea to be a conformist community. It's uncomfortable to me, to say the least. I have to protect the integrity, the people... and I feel these are my friends, and they're worth protecting, and that's the beautiful part of it. Why would anyone want to change that? My tenants like me and respect me, and I respect them, totally and wholeheartedly. It's a Mutual Admiration Society. It took me one lifetime to create that, I hope I live another lifetime to see that it's preserved."