Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We're Making an Offer to Buy the RL Chelsea Hotel.

So the rumor mill has it that the asking price for American History is 90 Million?

In attempts to preserve the Hotel Chelsea as the Mecca that it should be, we of the Virtual Hotel Chelsea do formally make this offer of 90 Million for the purchase of the Hotel.

Of course since we are in Second Life, that offer is in Lindens.

I'll let you all know as soon as the current owners are ready to sign the papers.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

SL Chelsea Follows Suit Goes Up For Sale!!!

We thought it was such a brilliant move to put the RL Hotel Chelsea up for sale, that we decided to do the same with the SL Mecca of Bohemia.

Of course, just like the RL sellers, we aren't posting a price, so I guess you'll just have to make us an offer. :-)

Wall Street Journal: Hotel Chelsea Seeks Buyer for Rehab

Hotel Chelsea Seeks Buyer for Rehab


Hotel Chelsea, the legendary downtown landmark that's been home to famous writers, artists, musicians and innumerable down-on-their-luck bohemians, is now the latest New York icon up for sale.

Chelsea's Legendary Hotel

Hotel Chelsea, the legendary downtown landmark, is the latest New York icon up for sale. Here's a look inside the hotel, which has been home to famous writers, artists and musicians.

Krisanne Johnson for The Wall Street Journal

Hotel Chelsea on West 23rd Street.

The Chelsea's 15 shareholders, led by three Hungarian families who bought the 12-story red-brick building in 1946, are selling the property after concluding that the task of modernizing the hotel and apartment building was too challenging, one owner said. A buyer also would likely end the Chelsea's tradition of giving artists breaks on payment schedules to assist their careers.

"The way we want to run the hotel is not necessarily the way the business world works," says Paul Brounstein, one of the shareholders.

The West 23rd Street building is nearly 200,000 square feet and includes 125 hotel rooms and about 100 rental apartments, some of which are under rent regulations. It also houses the El Quijote restaurant, a famous guitar shop and other retail adjacent to the property.

Hotel Chelsea opened in 1884 as one of the city's first co-ops. Much of the early Queen Anne architecture remains, including a grand staircase and the black cast-iron balconies. But hotel analysts say its aging lobby, retail and corridors are in need of renovation.

The cost of those improvements, which could run to millions of dollars—and the infighting among the controlling families—helped motivate the decision to sell, say people familiar with the matter.

Hotel Chelsea's rich history has been well documented in books, films and American popular culture. It was reorganized as a hotel around 1905 and attracted literary figures like Thomas Wolfe and O. Henry.

Beginning in the 1960s, the Hotel Chelsea not only hosted movie stars, poets and musicians, but it served as a muse or setting for some of their work. Arthur C. Clarke wrote "2001: A Space Odyssey" there, Leonard Cohen wrote the song "Chelsea Hotel No. 2" in its honor, and Andy Warhol directed an experimental film, "Chelsea Girls," shot at the hotel. The film starred German singer Nico, who then recorded an album, "Chelsea Girl," with a track about the building's inhabitants.

Hotel Chelsea was also associated with darker episodes. Dylan Thomas was a resident there when he died of alcohol poisoning in 1953, and the girlfriend of punk-rock legend Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols was stabbed to death there in 1978.

As for its management, the hotel was known for liberal rent-collection policies with some artists. "We would sit down with folks and try to figure out a payment schedule," Mr. Brounstein says.

Getty Images

Actor Dennis Hopper, left, and author Terry Southern chat in 1971.

By 2007, there were signs that not all the shareholders agreed with this sort of policy. Hotel Chelsea hired BD Hotels, which owns and operates several New York hotels, to manage the property. The new managers succeeded Stanley Bard, whose family had managed the hotel for about 60 years but lost a power struggle with some of the other families.

"The board thought it should be run more corporate. I disagreed with that philosophy," Mr. Bard says. "Money wasn't the only consideration for me."

Under BD Hotels, management cracked down on people who were behind on their rent, and some tenants left with debts that ran to more than $10,000 that weren't pursued, a BD Hotels official says. The firm was removed as manager in 2008. Since then, the hotel has resumed a more lenient treatment of artists.

The Hotel Chelsea owners took other steps to upgrade the property, such as renovating the ballroom and opening a lounge in the basement. The hotel remained profitable, even during the economic downturn, Mr. Brounstein says.

"It's been running profitably on its good looks and charm," says Douglas Harmon, a senior managing director at Eastdil Secured, which is advising the sellers.

He says the Hotel Chelsea brand name could be valuable for any hotel company trying to break into New York's highly competitive market.

Others suggest a new buyer may well follow the example of the Gramercy Park Hotel and the Ace Hotel, formerly the Breslin Hotel, where early 20th century hotels were modernized by new owners to attract a younger, more affluent crowd.

Even Mr. Brounstein expects new owners would take into account Chelsea turning more upscale: "I think the neighborhood has changed faster than the hotel has," he says, "and it has become anachronistic for the hotel not to change as well."

Write to Craig Karmin at

ABC News: Haven for New York Artists, Chelsea Hotel for Sale

Haven for New York Artists, Chelsea Hotel for Sale

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York hotel that inspired creative talent from Sir Arthur Clarke to Sid Vicious is up for sale.

The Chelsea Hotel, controlled primarily by three families that have owned it for 65 years, will remain a haven for struggling artists despite changing hands, a hotel spokesman said on Tuesday.

"The history itself makes the hotel what it is," said the spokesman, Loren Riegelhaupt.

"Anybody who's going to be looking to buy the Chelsea knows that the Chelsea is the Chelsea, and there's nothing you want to do to change what the Chelsea is," he said, adding that there was no asking price.

A partial list of those who stayed there includes writers such as Clarke, O. Henry and Thomas Wolfe, playwright Arthur Miller, artist Andy Warhol and musicians Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison.

Punk rocker Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols killed his girlfriend Nancy Spungen there in 1978 in a drug-induced stupor, and the Chelsea Hotel is where Bob Dylan, according to his own lyrics, wrote "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands."

The 12-floor, 250-room hotel was built in 1883 on 23rd Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues, a part of town called Chelsea that was a theater district at the time. Now it is home to a concentration of art galleries and is one of the city's best-known gay districts.

Upkeep of the old building required a $2 million to $3 million investment in recent years to renovate 25 rooms and the lobby, Riegelhaupt said.

The property is split between transient hotel rooms and residential units.

"Now it is time to let a new owner, with perhaps some new innovative ideas and resources, to re-energize and revitalize the Chelsea," said Paul Brounstein, a shareholder and board member of the hotel, in a statement.

For more than 50 years the hotel was managed by Stanley Bard, a member of one of the ownership families, who was ousted by the board in 2007.

Washington Post Reports RL Hotel Chelsea Up For Sale!!!

Chelsea Hotel up for sale; who wants to go in on it?


The archetype of New York creativity and cool is up for sale, price tag unknown. The Chelsea Hotel was the building where Janis Joplin made an exception for Leonard Cohen, where Sid Vicious lost (by killing) his girl Nancy, where Bob Dylan waited for his sad-eyed lady of the lowlands.

O. Henry, Thomas Wolfe, Arthur Miller, Andy Warhol, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison all stayed at the 12-floor, 250-room hotel built in 1883. The rooms are now divided between hotel rooms and residential flats.

I say we all chip in for it. Who's with me?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Digital Enhancement Gives New Clues to Recent UFO Sighting Over the Virtual Hotel Chelsea.

Bohemia has been buzzing about the recent "UFO" sighting over the Virtual Hotel Chelsea. Yesterday's sighting was captured by a hotel resident on a disposable camera (he later commented that he had to sell his Lieca to pay for rent).

After taking the photo to "government authorities" for enhancement, some startling things can now be seen in the somewhat grainy results. Experimental aircraft?, Shiny Balloons?, or Aliens who have more sense than the current management? You decide.

Friday, October 15, 2010

UFO Invasion Near Chelsea Hotel New York City?

For those of you who believe that Elvis never died or that John Lennon was actually taken to another planet to create music for some culturally devoid alien race, we may finally have tangible evidence.

On October 14, 2010 traffic was brought to a standstill while a glowing object in the sky hovered above the Chelsea District in New York City. 

The Alien visitations were foretold by Stanley A. Fulham, a former NORAD worker who wrote a book called "Challenges of Change".  He predicted that visitations would begin on October 14th, 2010 in major cities across the world.

In the book he claims that he communicated with the Aliens (which he calls transcenders) who informed him that "the earth and the human population are in deep trouble because of earth changes (earthquakes and tsunamis), environmental pollution, international terrorism, and the financial crisis. Of these he said that the environmental pollution caused by CO2 is the most dangerous to humans because the pollution increases at a rate of 1% annually and that humans cannot live beyond a CO2 pollution percentage of 22%, that would leave us 22 years before we are in dire straits." 

He was assured by the Aliens he spoke to that they would intervene to prevent the environmental disaster and the obliteration of human kind.

For the complete article published in The Daily Mail (UK) click here.

If the Aliens are landing I think it's pretty cool that they chose The Hotel Chelsea as a "must see" on their list of stops.  But I mean... who could blame them?  Online or offline... the Chelsea rocks.

And it rocks interplanetary ... apparently.

Fox New York reports.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Changes to the Virtual Hotel Chelsea Blog

This blog has been in operation since April 22, 2009 and since that time has had the same look and feel.. that is, until now! We are proud to unveil and offer you a much more interactive blog site and hope you will enjoy coming here.

What is there to do on this site? Well to start, come here to review our latest news, find out about upcoming events, or learn more about our history in Second Life.  In addition, we have information about some of our resident musicians, artists, and writers too.

What's new in a nutshell:
  • Comments! Yes now you can add your thoughts and opinions, regardless of whether or not you follow this blog regularly, or if you have an account with Google.
  • Resident links! If you are a resident musician, artist, writer, or shop owner we will gladly provide a link to your website, simply contact Gwen Difference and provide her with your SL name, and URL.
  • Pages! We now have pages which are separated by topic, allowing you to quickly browse information about Music, Art, and Literary happenings throughout the virtual Hotel Chelsea. These are conveniently located at the top of the blog for quick navigation.
  • Calendars! That's right friends, we now have embedded our official calendar in our Pages!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Revisiting The Inspiration Behind The Chelsea Hotel in Second Life

He was building it for the second time in Second Life.

A gorgeous replica of the historic Hotel Chelsea in New York was being built by my close friend Mykal Skall and I was invited for weeks to come and sit with him, watching him move prims into place and try out different textures.

We'd sit and have conversations about his visits to the Hotel Chelsea in real life.  Mykal has been a lifelong musician and passionate artist (he paints and writes poetry as well) but the Chelsea was something that both inspired and haunted him.  One time when he was building the replica of the famous Chelsea staircase he commented that many people had thrown themselves down that staircase in real life.  I mused that Mykal himself was a reincarnated artist from the Chelsea.

A couple of drinks later he kind of dug that idea.

Nearing the end of his build he began to ask  "what next?"  The build itself was breathtaking and meaningful particularly to Mykal but it had the kind of magic that only something built with passion can posses.  You could feel the magic of it.

No sooner was it created than Mykal discovered the historical Chelsea in New York was in the process of being gutted for condominiums having changed hands in ownership.  While the exterior of the building would remain the same the creative tenants and the entire culture of the site was being destroyed and evicted to make room.

He was heartbroken.  Angry and incensed and began to correspond with residents of the Hotel Chelsea to find out what was happening.  Mykal joined the protest to "Bring Back the Bards" and preserve the rich history and culture of the national treasure and heritage site.

He became determined to preserve the spirit of The Hotel Chelsea in Second Life indefinitely and considered how to make it a self-sustaining venue that would continue to foster creativity and provide a home for people to collaborate and support each other as an artistic enclave.

"Build community" I said to him.  "If you really want the Chelsea to live in Second Life... build community around it".

There is no shortage of poetry venues in Second Life.  It seems like a new one opens every day promising to be the "best on the grid".  Both Mykal and I agreed that the concept of creatives "competing" was complete and utter bullshit.  All creative expression has value.  Stifling creativity in any way is a crime to anyone who has an artistic soul.

The 'competitive artist' is an oxymoronic term.

He built "Living with Legends Lounge" (even though the actual Chelsea features a spanish restaurant called El Quixote in that location) with the intention of showcasing Second Life musicians and I helped him design the place.  I'm totally going to take credit for the beat up couches, rugs and the awesome carved wood bar (which were gifts from me).  By the time we were done collaborating on the space it had a wicked vibe of understated cool.  Enola and other friends absolutely loved it and we began to get excited about hosting spoken word events there also.

In a bizarre coincidence while corresponding with a historian of the original Hotel Chelsea Mykal discovered that the Hotel had featured a performance venue in that exact spot.  Incredible serendipity! The venue space had been known as "The Lyceum Lounge" and Mykal promptly changed the name.

I was home the day he got the call from Saki Knafo of The New York Times.

"Sky. New York Times is coming in two hours.  I need a poetry event organized" he stated.
"Yeah you are funny Mykal" I replied sarcastically.
"No.  Dead serious.  Please?" he responded calmly.
"Oh my God... the New York Times?" I restated in disbelief.
"Yeah.  It's pretty cool" he said calmly.  "Now get your ass in gear."

The rest is the kind of history that makes Second Life look good.  We hosted the New York Times and journalist Saki Knafo and treated him to a spoken word event featuring some of the most amazing literary talents on the grid.   Beat poetry was read by Pooky Amsterdam, Serene Bechir, Rosedrop Rust, Sabreman Carter, Alethia Jacobus and many other talented writers.

Poetry Unleashed at The Hotel Chelsea from Russell Boyd on Vimeo.

The article which appeared in the New York times did much to highlight the protest against the destruction of the Hotel Chelsea.  It also validated the creative community of Second Life.

To read the article that appeared in the New York Times click here.

I hired Pooky Multimedia to film a machinima of the event as a gift.  The inscription to my creative mentor and friend at the end of the machinima simply states:

"We live in a world where dreams are possible.  

Photograph One By Chestnut Rau
Machinima By Pooky Multimedia

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Remembering John Lennon: Saturday, October 9th, 2010

John Lennon would have been 70 years old today. Please stop by Strawberry Fields in Central Park, where today only, you can get a copy of Mykal Skall's oil on canvas painting of John for Free. Happy Birthday John. We miss you.