This book is the next best thing to having a room key to the Chelsea Hotel during each of its famous—and infamous—decades. An icon of American artistic invention, the Chelsea Hotel has been, since its founding by a French socialist utopian in 1884, a cultural dynamo lodged in the very heart of uber-capitalist New York City. The Chelsea was built as a creative cooperative—as a building where classes would mix, women would be freed of domestic drudgery and creativity would be central to life. Sherill Tippins, author of the acclaimed February House, delivers a lively, masterly history of the Chelsea and of the successive generations of artists who have cohabited and created there, among them John Sloan, Edgar Lee Masters, Isabella Stewart Gardner, Thomas Wolfe, Dylan Thomas, Arthur Miller, Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Patti Smith, Robert Mapplethorpe, Andy Warhol, Sam Shepard, Sid Vicious, and Dee Dee Ramone.
Today the Chelsea stands poised in limbo between two futures: Will this symbol of New York’s artistic invention be converted to a profit-driven business catering to the top one percent? Or will the Chelsea be given a rebirth through painstaking effort by the community that loves it? Set against these two competing possibilities, INSIDE THE DREAM PALACE could not be more fascinating or timely.