A scruffy guitar store survives the trendy renovation of the Chelsea Resort

Because the couple, giddy from their contact with a crisper New York, ready to depart, Mr. Courtenay scribbled her quantity on a card and handed it to him.

“When you get misplaced or have any bother taking the subway,” he mentioned, “name us.”

If Chelsea Guitars gained cultural significance as a uncared for holdover within the pristine new lodge, then Mr. Courtenay is its resident bard, desperate to impart the constructing’s mythology to anybody who walks into his store, whether or not or not they purchase a $6,000 1964 Epiphone Riviera or the opposite uncommon guitars worthy of worship. on the partitions When you take it, he’ll inform tales about what he says he is seen working the shop for greater than three a long time.

Joan Baez stopped by as soon as and gave her leftover Chinese language meals for lunch, she mentioned. When the band Oasis have been on the town, Noel Gallagher got here in and requested to see a uncommon Gibson acoustic saved at the back of the shop. sir Courtenay was in a nasty temper that day, so she instructed Mr. Gallagher to get him a cup of espresso whereas he retrieved it.

Throughout Patti Smith’s transient residency on the lodge within the mid-Nineties, her teenage son, Jackson, used to hang around within the retailer enjoying Inexperienced Day riffs. And there was the time ZZ Prime’s Billy Gibbons walked in earlier than heading to El Quijote, the place a confrontation ensued when the restaurant requested him to take away his signature tassel cap.

“They instructed him, ‘It’s important to take your hat off,'” Mr. Courtenay recalled. “Billy mentioned, ‘I do not take this hat off once I’m sleeping.'”

There was additionally the guitar busker named Vlad, who apparently solely knew a couple of chords and sang about his issues in a thick Jap European accent in a close-by tube station, being referred to as the Polish Bluesman of Chelsea. There was additionally the mysterious lady who lived within the lodge, and who was rumored to return from wealth, whom Mr. Courtenay watched for years as she hailed invisible cabs outdoors the constructing. And there was the store’s resident cat, a Russian Blue named Boris.

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