Monday, June 20, 2011
I was reminded of this gorgeous Selby post the other day .... I remember being really envious of Sally Singer and her family actually living full time at The Chelsea Hotel, then I delved a bit further and found  this (slightly old) article about what they love about living in the hotel.
 here are a few of my favorite excerpts from the feature 

The Chelsea, a landmark on Manhattan's West 23rd Street, has for decades been a mecca for bohemians - poets, painters and punks who lived and died in its rooms. Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin all once called it home. Edie Sedgwick set fire to it. Sid Vicious was charged with stabbing his girlfriend to death in room 100. In short, it's not what most people would call a great environment for families. 

 "I know there are many people who wouldn't dream of bringing up their children in a hotel, where a large proportion of the people are checking in for the night," adds Singer. "I know some people like to control the environment that children live in. They find comfort in predictability because the city is unexpected enough. But if you want to live in a sheltered world, where there's a doorman and no rogue element, you don't check into a hotel. What makes you persist, even when it doesn't make economic sense, is that people who live here deeply connect with it and don't think about things in a traditional way."

Singer enjoys the perverse glamour of living in a hotel. "I like that there are transients coming in every night," she says. "I love the continual stream of people to look at. I don't want to live in my own closed-off space. People just drop by and knock on your door. I want to open my door and let the world in - and let my kids out."

For the O'Neill boys, too, the hotel is vivid and otherworldly, like the inside of a genie bottle, teeming with magical possibilities and exotic creatures. They race their bikes and skateboards along the white marble corridors past drag queens, mad old ladies, ageing rockers and men with angel wings and tiaras. For them, as their father says, every day is Halloween. Their mother thinks it's a good, stimulating environment for children.

"They like the Chelsea," he says, referring to the children, because despite the sensationalised stories, "There's a strong sense of community and it's one of the last fragments of a counter-cultural, unselfconscious place."

Singer considers the hotel to be an eclectic, multi-generational village. "There are grandparents whose grandchildren come and visit them and the teenagers next door, who we've known since they were kids, are our babysitters. There are other families in the building so the boys have friends here. They go to the local primary school and take part in the usual round of sleepovers, parties and adventures in the hallways. We also have eccentrics of every description and everyone tolerates it. There's that old-fashioned communal attitude here."

Some thrive on the buzz of communal living. Others come here to disappear. O'Neill and Singer are drawn by the diversity of the Chelsea hotel, which is like New York itself - dark, crumbling and colourful - a microcosm of Manhattan, where everyone has a story. 

 I must say I totally agree with their views, and what an amazing education in life the boys are going to have .... (just wish I could move in with them too !!!)