Today I thought I’d re-post a personal story about our “off to college” experience with my youngest. She moved from LA to Manhattan at the age of 17 to go to school….
So at our hotel in Manhattan, The Hotel Chelsea “A rest stop for rare individuals”.
Over the years The Hotel Chelsea has been home to many famous residents: Mark Twain, O. Henry, Dylan Thomas, Thomas Wolfe, Janis Joplin, Andy Warhol, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Bob Dylan, Allen Ginsberg, Arthur Miller, Patti Smith, Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy, Ethan Hawke, Dee Dee Ramone, Jack Kerouac and Madonna.
The crowd outside the hotel includes two puppies and a film crew. I walk through the crowd to the front desk, side-stepping a large dog in the lobby, walking beneath a large pink papier-mâché woman swinging from the ceiling and stand in line to register for our rooms. A woman, wearing a leopard dress and black velvet platform shoes with black silk ties cross-crossing up her ankles a la ballet shoes, leaned over the front desk yelling at the guy behind it. The guy behind the desk, Pete, who Candy later got to know, yells back at her to call the police , “Dial, 911!” He says. Alive turned to edgy, raw and slightly scary. We arranged for our rooms and settled on a few but the question remained…why did that angry lady have to call 911? Pete said the woman was a mean crazy cat lady in a long-standing feud with one of her neighbors, another resident there. Gotcha…I wrote it off as what happens when many “rare individuals” live in the same place. One hundred of the rooms at the Chelsea are for tourists the other 350 are for residents.
We settled in and then went to Jake’s Saloon [served me the WORST iced tea I’ve ever had, didn’t blend margaritas and didn’t have lemonade or Stella….so we knew we had to find another bar STAT] and had a few drinks and some snacks then moseyed back to the hotel to find the crazy cat woman talking to the NYPD. An officer was also at the front desk. You know when you wonder “what the h*ll was I thinking.” In this case I was wondering what the h*ll was I thinking booking us into this hotel. Even though the gals totally gushed over how much they loved the place and the beds turned out to be extremely comfortable, I couldn’t help but feel a little guilty at booking us into a place that was so “rough around the edges” as Joe put it. The rooms featured on their website are in better shape than the ones we stayed in. We were looking to travel without spending a fortune since we needed two rooms for five nights. Honestly, when we walked by theThe International hostel a few blocks away from the hotel it looked [and prolly was] a lot more like what you would expect a hotel to look like. The big topic of conversation at the hostel as we strolled by were the best beaches in San Paulo.
But the four inch concrete walls at the Hotel Chelsea kept our rooms nice and quiet…the quietest hotel I’ve stayed at in NYC. The location was PERFECT for us because it was so close to Mx’s school and was full of artwork which I later discovered had been given in lieu of many a rent payment to the recently fired owners of the place, The Bards. The hotel had an awesome guitar shop on one side of its entrance and on the other a bar called Serena and a restaurant called El Quijote, once the dinning room of The Chelsea Hotel, where literary legends noshed. Try the El Quijote clams appetizer if you ever are lucky enough to dine there. The other really cool feature of the hotel is the wrought iron grillwork on its balconies and staircase railings. Some residents decorate their doors with sayings, statues, sculpture, paintings and quotes. The quote on the door next to us said, “Only the pure can understand the pure.” Hmmm. Lots of people hand painted their numbers on their doors.
The creepiest fact about the hotel is that there are ghosts that roam the place and a famous murder that occured in room 100, Sid Vicious murdered his girlfriend Nancy. Anyone interested in reading more can go to a blog by the hotel residents. Just days before our stay there was a huge incident involvingthe ghost of Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy. What’s even crazier? I think he visited us. More on that later.
Whew…thanks to the brave souls who read this far!
OK so the next day we went shopping with Beyonce at Mx’s local Macy’s! Beyonce doesn’t visit our local mall. I’m pretty sure I took a pic of her shoulder in one of my photos…there were so many people around her hard to even get a glimpse of her as she walked through the store promoting her new fragrance…Diamonds….
After an exhausting day of shopping with no success we made the best of it by getting dolled up and heading to El Quijote for Sangria and tapas then headed to Broadway to see Frost Nixon. Loved the show absolutely riveting….what’s even better? The girls loved the show too. Day 2 tomorrow.
Here’s a little bit from Day 3:
The best part about moving Mx into her on-campus apartment from the Hotel Chelsea was that Pete let us borrow the hotel luggage cart. He even asked if we wanted both carts. What a nice guy! We were thinking we’d have to make a gazillion trips—hard to get a cab to drive a few blocks. Many a parent eyed our luggage cart. Schlepping stuff on dollies up to dorm rooms is good but not as SWEET as a luggage cart…heh-heh-heh. Since we were moving Mx in on foot, we didn’t have to wait in the horrendous traffic and deal with the crazy parking situation.
I sat and watched the goings on the street while Mx dashed into one line and then another for IDs and stuff. I looked at the license plates of the cars parked along the curb in front of me and wondered what it would have been like to pull in after the road trip we had talked about. Our California plates would have made an impression. Texas was the furthest license plate that I could find at the time. I know there is a road trip in our future. I look forward to it.
I haven’t written any characters that are on their way to college. Yet. I’m really excited about the next book in the Starjump Series which will show Ashley at Stanford.