As the saying goes, behind every door is a different story, and nowhere else is that truer than the Chelsea Hotel. Simply known as the Chelsea, from the moment it opened in 1880, it’s been a home for New York City’s writers and artists alike. Arthur Miller repeatedly complained to the management that SCUM manifesto Valerie Solanas was becoming an increasing risk to guests. Leonard Cohen first bumped into Janis Joplin in its halls. Edie Sedgwick reportedly fell for Bob Dylan in the foyer, leaving a young Andy Warhol feeling betrayed.
This hub for creative and iconic degenerates closed for refurbishments in 2011, marking the end of an era. Although no one is sure of its future, thanks to an evicted tenant, some of the hotel’s history is being put to good use. This Thursday, Guernsey’s will auction off over 50 doors collected by Jim Georgiou over a nine-year-span. ‘Chelsea Doors’ will see the faded and paint-chipped doors to the rooms of Janis Joplin, Leonard Cohen, Jimi Hendrix, and Humphrey Bogart go to the highest bidder with half of the proceeds going to City Harvest.
Georgiou was a long-time resident at the Chelsea before his eviction in 2011 left him homeless. A year later, he spotted a group of construction workers stripping out the interiors of his former home and gathered a group of friends to try and salvage a 50-strong collection of doors. After years of research, Georgiou was able to pair names and faces with the property.
Guernsey’s president Arlan Ettinger told the French press agency AFP it was a once in a lifetime find, especially significant given Georgiou had no home to call his own: “When you’re homeless, a door takes a great meaning, a great significance. It’s a portal to a home that a homeless person doesn’t have.”