New Age New York
Places like The Chelsea Hotel and Studio 54 were only able to exist in that specific era of New York City. Fast forward to today, The Chelsea Hotel is under seemingly never ending construction and the energy of a 70’s disco club like Studio 54 can never totally be recreated. However, the ending of a global pandemic seems like it could be a new era of New York City, like the rebirth of the renaissance or the ending of prohibition.
A landmark like The Chelsea Hotel stands for everything New York City is all about. A place for stray creative minds. Photographer and author of Living at The Chelsea Hotel, Linda Troeller, spoke to me about what living at the Chelsea really meant. “The energy there was so powerful sometimes that even just staying at home there was too much to do!”
When asked why a place like the Chelsea was able to exist the way that it did her answer was Stanley. Stanley Bard was manager of the Chelsea for more than 40 years. “He ran a circus all day, and when he went home at night he just let the hotel function.” “Everyone loved him. People would sometimes just sit in his office with him to have coffee.”
In 2011 the first of soon to be 3 new buyers, bought The Chelsea Hotel. It has been under construction pretty much ever since. “Their goal is to create a commercial hip hotel. That’s it.” While it clearly won’t be the same, “That same energy will still be there. Those feelings of freedom and bohemian-ness.”
Meryl Meisler, photographer and author of New York Paradise Lost, hit the New York City nightlife scene with her camera not knowing she would use those pictures for anything artistically. Today those photos depict an era that was one of a kind. “It was explosive. Every molecule exploded in your mind.”
“The 70’s had a new sound. It was a new scene. It was all so new that you could actually feel it happening around you.”
“And there were no phones. People were just, in it.”
“With all of the club spaces available since COVID I really think when New York is ready it will be like the second coming of the roaring 20's.”
Music & Fashion
New York City is constantly evolving. While music has evolved quite a bit, the sounds heard at Woodstock seem to have crept into the city and found a way to still inspire people to this day.
For Example, In 1968, Jimi Hendrix and his manager bought a nightclub called The Generation located in New York’s Greenwich Village — and a venue that Hendrix had frequented for impromptu performances and late-night jam sessions. That club venue is now Electric Lady Studios.
The club scene in New York City especially is a melting pot of music, fashion, and the freedom to do whatever you want with it.
Towards the end of the 80’s Madonna came onto the scene and exploded the fashion industry. She elevated it. Edged it up a bit with her unique punk-y look. She made fashion her own by doing things no one else had done before, like underwear as outerwear. Eventually every brand and magazine wanted to work with her.
The energy of New York City is so rooted in creativity and self expression. The City itself is always evolving into new sights, new sounds, and new trends. So no, it may not look the way it did in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s or even yesterday. But that is what keeps it exciting. Who knows what is in store for post pandemic New York City.
Levine, Nick. “Into the New York Groove: How Madonna’s Punky Early Years Fuelled Her Rise to Superstardom.” I, 9 Aug. 2018, i-d.vice.com/en_uk/article/7xqd8e/into-the-new-york-groove-how-madonnas-punky-early-years-fuelled-her-rise-to-superstardom.
“Linda Troeller Photography.” Google Sites, sites.google.com/view/lindatroeller.