Art

Another NYC artists’ residence is closed after being sold to developers for $9.5m

Another New York City artistic hub will join the historic Chelsea Hotel and Andy Warhol’s Factory as nothing more than a memory, after a group of artists were told to vacate their homes and workspaces at 14 Maiden Lane in the Financial District.

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In January 2022, the mini-skyscraper building, which had housed 14 bright and airy lofts, was sold for $9.5 million as a mixed use asset.

And by May this year, artists such as the celebrated Molly Crabapple told the New York Post, that they had been told to vacate after the new owner failed to renew their leases.

The building’s residents were given only the legally-required notice to vacate the building, even though everyone in the building had lived there for more than 10 years.

The building at 14 Maiden Lane historic is considered one of the earliest examples of a sky scraper in Manhattan

The building at 14 Maiden Lane historic is considered one of the earliest examples of a sky scraper in Manhattan

Molly Crabapple shared these photos of her former loft studio, which she's had to move out of after the building was sold

Molly Crabapple shared these photos of her former loft studio, which she’s had to move out of after the building was sold

Crabapple lived in the 14 loft building with other artists after it was turned into apartments in 2001

Crabapple lived in the 14 loft building with other artists after it was turned into apartments in 2001

In her interview, Crabapple described the building’s location in the Financial District as being ‘profoundly uncool.’ However, she went on to say that the experience of living among so many creative people was ‘beautiful.’

Crabapple lived in the building since 2010 alongside her partner, illustrator Fred Harper. She moved to Brooklyn after her lease ended.

They said their former unnamed landlord was a nightmare, who’d let the building fall into disrepair. But its spaces and low – undisclosed – rent kept residents happy.

In August 2013, Crabapple was referred to as ‘Occupy Wall Street’s greatest artist,’ in a New York Magazine feature.

The piece described Crabapple as working and living from home alongside her partner and their cat, Puddy.

Artist Molly Crabapple has lived at 14 Maiden Lane with her partner Fred Harper since 2010. During the Occupy movement, her home became an 'unofficial press room' for the protesters

Artist Molly Crabapple has lived at 14 Maiden Lane with her partner Fred Harper since 2010. During the Occupy movement, her home became an ‘unofficial press room’ for the protesters

Inside Crabapple’s former home, ‘art covers the walls’ and ‘there are a million tiny distractions,’ the article reads.

Crabapple told the Post in 2022 that her home became an ‘unofficial press room’ for the protesters who would use her shower and electricity as well as drink her liquor.

When the building came under the ownership of Diamond Lane LLC in January, the owners allowed the current tenants’ leases to run out, according to the Post.

A former resident, Crystal Thompson, told the Post said that many things about living in the building were horrific but the ‘art was so great.’

Crystal Thompson who is a former resident of the building said that while there were many drawbacks to 14 Maiden Lane, the art was 'beautiful

Crystal Thompson who is a former resident of the building said that while there were many drawbacks to 14 Maiden Lane, the art was ‘beautiful

The building at 14 Maiden Lane was built in 1894 and is considered one of the earliest examples of a skyscraper in Manhattan.

It was originally used as a place of business in the heart of what was then New York City’s Diamond District.

Up until 2001, the building had been occupied by businesses, including a rare book dealer.

In 2001, 14 Maiden Lane was converted into a residential apartment building.

Crabapple dictated the countless parties and photoshoots that occurred at 14 Maiden Lane over the years. In one instance, a photographer recorded the second tower coming down on 9/11.

In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, Crabapple said that neighbors would send cocktails to one and other.

The building originally opened as an office building in 1894 in what was then New York City's Diamond District.  It was not converted for living until 2001

The building originally opened as an office building in 1894 in what was then New York City’s Diamond District. It was not converted for living until 2001

Thompson was quoted by the Post as saying: ‘We had just been through COVID together, we felt like ‘It’s all good, we’re gonna make it,’ and then it ended up being a 90-day thing. It’s really not much time when you’ve been somewhere so long.’

Crabapple went on to slam the greed of property developers as the reason that she is losing her home calling New York City a town ‘run by real estate.’

Another former resident, Kristin Rose, expressed her concern that the building could be demolished as it’s not protected.

Rose added: ‘It was an extraordinary place, and it’s sad that it’s being lost to whatever. It’s legitimately a great loss to the city, cause it’s an interesting part of early American architecture.’

Chelsea Hotel and Andy Warhol’s Factory were once NYC’s top art hubs

The Hotel Chelsea on 23rd Street in Manhattan has been home to many famous authors including Dylan Thomas and Arthur Miller

The Hotel Chelsea on 23rd Street in Manhattan has been home to many famous authors including Dylan Thomas and Arthur Miller

Arguably, New York City’s most famous and infamous artistic hub was the Chelsea Hotel, located 222 West 23rd street.

The hotel has played host to numerous artistic triumphs such as Arthur Miller writing ‘A View from the Bridge’ and Arthur C. Clarke penning ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ while staying there.

There have also been unspeakable tragedies such as Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious stabbing his girlfriend Nancy Spungen to death in October 1978, Dylan Thomas becoming fatally ill in room 205 and the suicide of writer Charles Jackson in September 1968.

Andy Warhol was said to have written about the Chelsea in his diary following Spungen’s murder: ‘They just let anybody in over there, that hotel is dangerous, it seems like somebody’s killed there once a week.’

When the hotel came under new ownership in 2011, the Chelsea stopped taking new reservations, although long-term residents were allowed to stay.

In March 2022, the Chelsea Hotel finally opened to new reservations at reduced ‘hard hat rates’ named for the ongoing construction in the building.

Andy Warhol's Factory was one of New York City's main artistic hubs between 1963 and 1984. Warhol ended the concept and settled in to work in a more conventional office space after he shut it down

Andy Warhol’s Factory was one of New York City’s main artistic hubs between 1963 and 1984. Warhol ended the concept and settled in to work in a more conventional office space after he shut it down

Another equally famous New York City artistic hub, Andy Warhol’s Factory, shut it’s doors permanently in 1984.

Warhol’s studio operated at three different locations, first at East 47th Street in Midtown Manhattan from 1963 until 1967, then 33 Union Square West between 1968 and 1973 before it’s final home on the north side of Union Square between 1974 and 1984.

During his time working at the Factory, Warhol produced dozens of movies including one about women who lived at the Chelsea Hotel titled: ‘Chelsea Girls’

The Factory was home to some of the most famous faces of music during the 1970s. Upon leaving The Velvet Underground, the band’s front man Lou Reed wrote the song ‘Walk on the Wild Side’ about the studio.

Another frequent visitor was Mick Jagger. In 1971, Warhol designed the cover the band’s album, ‘Sticky Fingers,’ at the Factory.

Like the Chelsea however, there were controversial incidents at the Factory. None more so than in 1968 when Warhol was shot by feminist activist Valerie Solanas.

Solanas later said that she shot Warhol because he ‘had too much control over [her] life’

Warhol’s contemporary, writer Glenn O’Brien told The Guardian about the Factory’s legacy in 2012 saying: ‘One of Andy’s great innovations was realising that the idea of ​​the artist alone in his studio was not a particularly modern one, and that an artist could have a team. Today you have artists like Jeff Koons or Damien Hirst who employ hundreds of people — it’s a very understandable model for artists.’

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