The Roots of “Hip”

As I read for the first time ever about the Chelsea Hotel, I began to think about how many other places have had so much artistic history. From the years 1884 to 2011, Hotel Chelsea has housed many of the greatest artistic minds of different eras. To think of the fact that Twain, Ginsberg, Hopper, Dylan, and Kiedis had all stayed under the same roof is truly amazing.

I like to think that at the Chelsea, even the walls ooze creativity. To be in such a historic location amongst such legacy would truly be an honor. Even when Patti Smith stayed there and wrote the song she performs in the interview, there was already a great deal of creativity, which had already occurred at the Chelsea.

The diversity of talent is worth commenting upon as well. To think that Twain, such an amazing writer could have shared a room with Alice Cooper or Jimi Hendrix, both musical greats. Perhaps the Chelsea is such a landmark, because when you stay there, you can hear the work of the artists before you in your head.

During the 1960s, it is obvious, from Patti Smith’s interview that drug abuse and other taboos were abundant. Smith even forgets the reason she wrote one of her songs. I assume this to be a result of the rampant drug use, which occurred not only at the Chelsea, ┬ábut in many 1960’s art hubs.

We see the legacy of this time period when we walk through Chelsea into the Village, and now even further into Williamsburg. The “hipster” scene can trace its roots back to Patti Smith and other influential punk rockers and beats. Those artists living in the Chelsea have shaped the culture of the United States for the past 100 years.

Chris DiBari

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About Chris DiBari

Chris is a student at Brooklyn College and Macaulay Honors College at CUNY. Born in Illiniois, Chris has lived in a number of different places including: Newport, RI, Key West, FL, Chesapeake, VA, Pittsburgh, PA, Warren, NJ, and currently lives in Brooklyn. He is living in the dorms, but soon hopes to leave and move to a different part of Brooklyn. Chris is undecided in his major, but has passions in the social sciences, and next semester hopes to take a few more history classes. Chris is currently pursuing his goal of becoming a United States Marine Corps officer through the Platoon Leader's Class option and applying to the United States Naval Academy.