Image via Wikimedia: Velvet
To say the least, the Chelsea Hotel is not your average New York City hotel. One notable guest, sci-fi author Arthur C. Miller, recalled in his memoir that you could get high from solely the marijuana fumes lingering in the elevator of the hotel. For over 100 years, this counter-cultural landmark has served some of the world’s greatest poets, musicians, and artists of all time. In 2011, the hotel was sold to developers for $80 million, and is currently undergoing a major face lift. Even so, its legacy is far from forgotten. Now, New Yorkers can take a little piece of its history home with them as Guernsey’s auction house is selling 55 original doors from the hotel, which are linked to “the iconic individuals who lived behind them.”
According to amNewYork, roughly half of the doors can be traced back to celebrities like Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Jack Kerouac, Mark Twain, Andy Warhol, W.E.B DuBois, Humphrey Bogart, Jackson Pollock, Tennessee Williams and Bob Marley. Research about their origins is still continuing, and while the doors might not all be connected to a celebrity figure, they still represent a piece of Chelsea’s history.
Guernsey’s notes that the doors were discovered by a once-homeless man, Jim Georgiou, who came upon the “well worn, white-washed, and plain” wooden doors while looking for shelter. They were reportedly discarded due to the renovation taking place inside. Georgiou did formerly live at the Chelsea Hotel with his dog, and has therefore requested that part of the proceeds from the auction go to CityHarvest, a non-profit organization that delivers food to New Yorkers facing hunger.
If you’re interested in claiming a door, mark your calendars on April 12, when they go on auction at Chelsea’s Ricco/Maresca Gallery, located on 529 West 20th Street. The doors will also be on display there starting on April 5. Bids will begin at $5,000. For more information, visit guernseys.com.