The Chelsea Hotel Is Remembering Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Cohen in 2011 Photo: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Following the death tonight of Leonard Cohen at age 82, memorials have sprung up all over social media and in the news. The beloved Canadian poet, singer, and songwriter spent many of his formative years in New York City, and like many others his age and in his cultural moment, he spent a great deal of time at the Chelsea Hotel. The hotel, then a regular residence and place to be seen for artists, musicians, and NYC creators on the verge of something very big, has seen its share of infamy over the years, including the stabbing death of Nancy Spungen (girlfriend of Sex Pistols front man Sid Vicious) in 1978, and the death of poet and playwright Dylan Thomas in 1953.

The Chelsea has also been immortalized in many pieces of art: in film, poetry, and song, the last most notably with Leonard Cohen's "Chelsea Hotel No. 2." The song details a dalliance between two famous artists in the Chelsea's hallowed halls while "a limousine waits in the street." Rumored to be about an encounter between Cohen and Janis Joplin, it's arguably the most famous of the Chelsea's many tributes. So it's unsurprising that tonight, after Cohen's death went public, a makeshift memorial to the singer formed outside the hotel, which has been under construction for several years but is still open to the public. See the photos below; the remembrances are sure to continue as word of the singer's death spreads.