New York's iconic Chelsea Hotel incubated so much art and produced so many stories it’s hard to believe it all happened under one roof -- or that all those stories could be collected in one book. But the author Sherill Tippins takes on that ambitious task in her new book Inside the Dream Palace: The Life and Times of New York’s Legendary Chelsea Hotel.
"These stories of Bob Dylan and Lou Reed and Janis Joplin have been told many times, but what fascinated me was why they happened there," Tippins tells Soundcheck host John Schaefer. "What I discovered was that it had been created intentionally to foster a creative life to jumpstart an indigenous American culture in New York at a time, in the Gilded Age, when everyone was only interested in European art."
Bob Dylan and Allen Ginsberg at the Chelsea Hotel. Dylan wrote much of his album Blonde on Blonde there, while hiding out with his new wife whom he had married in secret. (Photo © Dale Smith)
The Chelsea Hotel in 1884. (Cornelia Santomenna archives)
The longtime Chelsea Hotel landlord Stanley Bard and his father, hotel co-owner David Bard. "Stanley fell in love with his tenants," says Sherill Tippins, "and became more of a booster of the residents of the Chelsea than anyone had been before." (Photo © Steve Schapiro)