Chelsea Hotel residents hold seances, tattoo themselves in coronavirus lockdown
New York City nightlife may be temporarily paused, but inside the storied Chelsea Hotel the few remaining residents and their guests don’t need crowds or clubs to rage on — they have themselves and the ghosts in the walls.
“My first night here was Friday the 13th … so we had a seance,” guest and artist Caroline Caldwell tells The Post of her coronavirus lockdown at the hotel-turned-artist-haven that once housed Madonna, Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin and many others.
She and her quarantine-mate, longtime resident Tony Notarberardino, rummaged up an Ouija board and summoned the spirit of one of the hotel’s more famous residents, Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen, whose destructive relationship was the subject of a 1986 biopic set in the hotel.
For the record, Caldwell says Nancy revealed to them in the seance that Sid didn’t, in fact, kill her. (In 1978, Spungen, then 20, bled to death in the hotel. Vicious was charged with her murder, but less than four months later he was found dead in an apparent drug overdose.)
At the hotel — which is locked in construction limbo as tenants sue the owner over seemingly endless renovations — Caldwell and others are embracing the weirdness of the coronavirus pandemic. The souls of tenants past permeate the building with so much wild energy, Caldwell says, she’s found herself more inspired in quarantine than pre-pandemic.
“Something about this space, it’s such a portal to this creative spiritual realm. It really feels like being in this channel, it just moves through you. I’ve never been more productive,” says the Bed-Stuy resident and assistant to artist Swoon. The moment shelter in place measures began looming for NYC, she jumped to shelter through the storm in the landmark Manhattan building.
“As soon as I heard that quarantine was a possibility, I raced my ass over here,” she says. “If I’m going to get trapped somewhere, I either want to live like exiled royalty or die like a rockstar.”
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