Chelseay / Gramercy

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Andy Warhol’s Third Factory (33 Union Square)

Shortly after he was shot and almost killed by Valerie Solanas in June 1968, Andy Warhol closed his famous Silver Factory on E 47th Street, which had been centre of an incandescent scene that had defined hip New York in the 60s.

After the shooting, Warhol moved the whole operation downtown to Union Square (which was conveniently located just a couple of blocks from Max’s Kansas City, his favourite bar) where he based himself until he died in the late 80s.

Max's Kansas City (213 Park Ave Sth)


Throughout the last half of the 60s, Andy Warhol held court in the exclusive back bar at Max’s, where he was to be found every evening between midnight and 2 am.

Warhol’s proteges, The Velvet Underground, played a 10-week residency at the club in 1970, shortly before Lou Reed left the band. The performances are documented in the record Live at Max’s Kansas City.

Patti Smith and her friend, photographer Robert Maplethorpe, used to hang out at Max’s in the vain hope of getting noticed. Smith eventually got to perform at the club: she opened for Phil Ochs in 1973, and afterwards performed there regularly. In the late 70s the club became an important centre for the growing punk rock movement, but the club closed in 1983.

The Kitchen (512 West 19th Street)

This well-known avant-garde venue has hosted performance, dance and film events by Philip Glass, Laurie Anderson, The Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and Cindy Sherman.

The venue was originally located in the unused kitchen of the infamous Mercer Arts Centre (484 Broome St). The Mercer Arts Centre was the main venue for New York’s early 70s glam rock movement – which was led by the New York Dolls. But after the decrepit Mercer building collapsed in 1973, the Kitchen moved to a fine old loft at 59 Wooster Street, and it moved again to the current building (which was built in 1929 as an icehouse) in 1985.

Chelsea Hotel (222 W 23rd Street)

If New York is the world capital of bohemia then the Chelsea Hotel must be Bohemia’s decrepit royal palace.

The list of residents reads like a roll call of hip aristocracy: Janis Joplin, Jack Kerouac, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Brendan Behan, William Burroughs, Leonard Cohen, and John Cale. Patti Smith shared rooms with photographer Robert Maplethorpe and later with Sam Shephard. Dylan Thomas drank himself to death at the hotel. Andy Warhol lived here for a while, and later returned to film Chelsea Girls. Marc Bolan stayed at the Chelsea for a short time in 1969, during his first tour of America, but he soon moved on to the Drake Hotel, finding the Chelsea far too grungy.

The most notorious residents of the Chelsea were Nancy Spungeon and John Richie (aka Sid Vicious). Nancy was killed in room 100 (which no longer exists: it was converted into a larger room shortly after the incident) and Sid died a few weeks later of an overdose at the basement flat of a current girlfriend (63 Bank Street), while he was on bail for her murder.

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