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Chelsea Gothic with Streetscape

Chelsea Gothic with Streetscape

May 19, 2005

Glowing her unnatural welcome, Hotel Chelsea attracts her children home like a purring mother cat.

With all my misgivings about the Chelsea, I can never enter it without a certain quickening of my heartbeat. There is an indescribably homelike atmosphere which at the same time lacks a certain credibility. It is some kind of fictional place, I used to think. As in dreams things are out front that are concealed in other hotels, like the wooden bins in the corridors in which the garbage pails are kept, and for some unknowable reason this sort of candour seems so right that you smile whenever you pass the bins. It may simply be that nobody is urgently concerned about what is happening because nobody quite knows what is happening, or maybe there is a kind of freedom or severe disconnect with plain reality, or, as the saying goes, a sense that the inmates have long since taken over the asylum, which can be irritating but perhaps not altogether a bad thing, at least in the spiritual sense. It may in fact be as salutary a way as any of running a public place.- ARTHUR MILLER

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