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New York has changed a lot in the past thirty years, and though there’s a lot more glass and concrete than there used to be, there are still a few dinosaurs creaking around.

For instance, the Chelsea Hotel. Founded in 1883, the hotel was a favorite of Mark Twain, and in more counter-cultural days was host to Jack Kerouac, Leonard Cohen, Marilyn Monroe and Bob Dylan, gaining notoriety with the stabbing death of Nancy Spungen.

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The hotel has inspired more than its share of art, both good and bad, and its legend has grown as Old New York has become more scarce, even after some ownership shuffles and some updated anti-smoking rules.

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As a result, we’re glad to get a closer look. Inside is a trip through the innards of the building, courtesy of freelance photographer Julia Calfee. Calfee lived in the hotel for almost five years, snapping over 1,000 high-speed black-and-white photos and capturing residents’ sentiments ranging from, “One of the reasons artists have always liked this place is that you can isolate yourself” (from room 817) to “Word on the street is that my garden is haunted” (from the roof resident).

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We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

[Powerhouse Books]

-R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom