Up in the Old Hotel


The legendary Hotel Chelsea (home to a significant piece of New York City’s cultural history) took in its last guest in 2011, when the doors closed for a gut renovation. The photographer Victoria Cohen captures a lost bohemia in her new book, Hotel Chelsea.


“Although the Chelsea Hotel was a thriving creative haven, it was also be a place where one could disappear. I created this composition to convey the feeling of isolation that someone might feel there. This rather plain room is down the hall from Room 100 where Sid Vicious is said to have murdered Nancy Spungen. Room 100 was closed after the incident, never to be seen again.”

Image from Hotel Chelsea by Victoria Cohen


“This room was on the Fourth floor where Leonard Cohen and Janis Joplin had an affair, though both were staying in separate rooms. Cohen wrote about their affair in his song Chelsea Hotel #2, though in 1994, he said he regretted his indiscretion in linking her name to the song. This 4th floor piano made me think of the many songs and scores created at the Chelsea.”

Image from Hotel Chelsea by Victoria Cohen


“Walking into Room 822, you are immediately hit with the overwhelming bright orange walls and fantastic Victorian white marble mantel. It’s such a mix of everything. Like the Hotel itself, the room was a setting for many artistic projects, most famously the set for shots from Madonna’s 1990s book, Sex.”

Image from Hotel Chelsea by Victoria Cohen


“Number 1024 had a very powerful aura as I walked in. The whole room was blood red: the walls, the furnishings. And the feeling was intense. As with this photograph and many others, I saw the chairs, beds, fixtures, not as intimate objects, but rather, as portraits.”

Image from Hotel Chelsea by Victoria Cohen