This Ain’t No Holiday Inn: An Oral History By James Lough

This Ain't No Holiday Inn: Down and Out at the Chelsea Hotel 1980-1995
Where did Beat poets rub shoulders with machine-gun toting gangsters?

Con artists party with performance artists?

Film directors ride elevators with directors of drug rings?

Where else but New York’s outrageous Chelsea Hotel.

THIS AIN’T NO HOLIDAY INN: DOWN AND OUT IN THE CHELSEA HOTEL 1980-1995 is the insider’s book about the Chelsea Hotel, an icon in the history of American creativity. It covers the hotel’s “swan song” from 1980 to 1995, when the Chelsea was still a genuine, permissive paradise for bohemian artists – and hardened criminals.

Since 1883, New York’s Chelsea Hotel provided safe haven for countless cultural creatives. More than safe, the place was positively solicitous to its artists. Some have compared its atmosphere to that of an enormous, twelve-story artist’s colony – others to an insane asylum. It was also a “fall back” place for artists and Bohemians who were hitting the skids.

“Well,” they said, “I can always get a room at the Chelsea.”

Of course economy comes with a price. Low rent attracted not only starving artists and Bohemians but also the lowlifes, troublemakers, idlers, petty criminals, rebels, degenerates, drug dealers, pimps and their girls (or boys) and sundry Dick Tracy type characters who populated the hotel’s demimonde.