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‘Dreaming Walls’ Goes Inside Historic Chelsea Hotel Where Eccentric Residents Still Make Art And Atmosphere: “The People We Met, We Love Them”

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Any day now the renovated Chelsea Hotel will fully reopen, capping a drawn out process that has seen the grand edifice on the west side of Manhattan shrouded in netting and defaced by scaffolding for over a decade.Repeated construction delays, legal wrangling between residents and the building owners, as well as a dispute with the city agency devoted to historic properties all contributed to the endless postponements.

But the magic of a place that has been home to the artistic and idiosyncratic for over a century seemingly cannot be obscured by clouds of construction dust.The new documentary Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel invites viewers inside the red brick palace to spend time with long-term residents who contribute to, and perhaps are, the essence of the Chelsea’s charm.“It’s a film of encounters and the people we met, we love them,” explains Maya Duverdier, who co-directed the film with Amélie van Elmbt. “We wanted to talk about these lives that have been in the shadow, in a way, of the bigger names.”The bigger names range from Mark Twain in the 19th century to Oscar Wilde in the early 20th.

Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Madonna, Patti Smith, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Janis Joplin, composer Virgil Thomson, Jack Kerouac, Thomas Wolfe, Uma Thurman, Ethan Hawke, Stanley Kubrick and fellow filmmaker Miloš Foreman, and the artist Christo, have all been associated with the Hotel Chelsea in one way or another.

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