Gene Kaufman Rehab of the Hotel Chelsea Perceived as a Devastating ‘Whitewash’

If you’re the type who wept big salty tears over the closing of the CBGB club in 2006 because it meant the death of New York, then you aren’t going to like this post in the slightest. Recently you might remember reading that the Hotel Chelsea, also referred to as the Chelsea Hotel, had finally been purchased by real estate developer Joseph Chetrit for just over $80 million after a buying process that had started several months prior. The legendary hotel, where it seems nearly anyone and everyone who was famous for any sort of artistic endeavor had at one point stayed, had remained open and largely unchanged until the start of this month, when it officially closed down for Chetrit’s plans for renovation. It’s now been announced that Gene Kaufman has been hired as the architect to do said renovations. Kaufman’s hiring hasn’t sat particularly well with fans of the Chelsea, because despite his having been a very successful architect, an associate working for Rafael Vinoly at one time, and the man who recently took over ownership of Charles Gwathmey‘s firm, critics believe that a great whitewashing is in store for the famously gritty hotel. The Daily Telegraph describes the outcry against Chetrit and Kaufman as “Bohos go bonkers as Holiday Inn architect is brought it” and Ed Hamilton, a writer who has called the hotel home for the past decade and who runs the Chelsea Hotel Blog, has been documenting the affront with posts affixed with titles such as “The Whitewash of the Chelsea Hotel Begins” and “Chelsea Hotel Lobby Desecrated for Fun & Profit.” Thus far, the notoriously reserved Chetrit hasn’t responded to the criticism, but for his part, Kaufman has spoken out, telling the Wall Street Journal that the renovations are “more like a restoration” and that “it will be subtle.”