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Hotel Chelsea


Hotel Chelsea © Hans van der Kamp
When I was young my biggest dream was to go to New York. I had read so much literature and had seen so many movies about New York, that I just had to go there and finally I went at age 25 thanks to an assignment for a Dutch magazine to interview and photograph the legendary photographer Art Kane.

I also knew where I was going to stay: the Hotel Chelsea. Not because of the Sex Pistols staying there occasionally, not because of the Grateful Dead, Charles Bukowski or William S. Burroughs. No, just because of one Leonard Cohen song entitled Chelsea Hotel:

I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel / you were talking so brave and so sweet / giving me head on the unmade bed /while the limousines wait in the street

That was the life to live, at least in the perception of a 25 year old photographer. I never got to see the limousines in the street. 23rd Street at that time was not a very classy place to be, but I did enjoy my stay there tremendously.


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