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The hotel welcomes guests, but is primarily known for its long-term residents, past and present. The hotel has always been a center of artistic and bohemian activity and it houses artwork created by many of the artists who have visited. The hotel was the first building to be listed by New York City as a cultural preservation site and historic building of note.
The building that now houses the Hotel Chelsea was built in 1883 as a private apartment cooperative that opened in 1884. It was the tallest building in New York until 1902. At the time Chelsea, and particularly the street on which the hotel was located, was the center of New York's Theater District. However, within a few years the combination of economic worries and the relocation of the theaters bankrupted the Chelsea cooperative. In 1905, the building was purchased and opened as a hotel.
It is perhaps best-known as the hotel where Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols allegedly stabbed his girlfriend Nancy Spungen to death on October 12, 1978
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