Thomas W. Hodgkinson

Where artists went to drink and die

Dylan, Kerouac, Joplin, Vidal, Vicious — all checked in at this legendary Manhattan hotel

Quentin Crisp outside the Hotel Chelsea in 1978. His first stay there coincided with a fire, a robbery and the murder of one of the guests [Getty Images/Shutterstock/iStock/Alamy]

Once below a time (to quote the man himself) the bloated poet Dylan Thomas slouched back to New York’s Chelsea Hotel in the dead of night and informed his mistress that he had just drunk 18 straight whiskies, which he suspected was a record. He then dropped to his knees, lowered his head onto her lap and mumbled his last words: ‘I love you, but I’m alone.

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