12. The Hotel Chelsea is one of NYC’s First Co-Ops

Hotel Chelsea.

Located at 222 West 23rd Street, Hotel Chelsea is a New York City landmark made famous by many of its residents — and their strange stories. The 12-story red-brick building was built between 1883 and 1885 as one of the city’s first private apartment cooperatives, but it was converted into a hotel in 1905. Philip Hubert, who created many co-ops throughout New York City including some along Madison Avenue, also designed what would become Hotel Chelsea, incorporating flower-ornamented iron balconies and a grand staircase into its Queen Anne Revival-style design. The co-op quickly went bankrupt, though, due to economic panics, the relocation of the city’s Theatre District, and the rapid development of Upper Manhattan. Most of the historic structures from the Theatre District have since been destroyed.

Soon after, it was reopened as a hotel, which in its early years provided a home to figures such as Mark Twain and O. Henry. Over the years (and after going bankrupt again in 1939), the hotel hosted dozens of celebrities including Arthur Miller, Stanley Kubrick, Jimi Hendrix, Robert Mapplethorpe, Patti Smith, and many Beat Generation poets. Arthur C. Clarke wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey while staying at the Chelsea, while Andy Warhol shot his film Chelsea Girls here. Leonard Cohen wrote about Janis Joplin’s affair in his songs “Chelsea Hotel” and “Chelsea Hotel #2.” On the more grim side, Dylan Thomas became ill and later died of pneumonia while staying in Room 205, while Nancy Spungen, the girlfriend of Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols, was stabbed to death there in 1978.