Zoe Pappas, a structural engineer, and her husband, the architect Nicholas Pappas, have been living in the Chelsea Hotel for 25 years. With the hotel slated to reopen to hotel guests this fall—and a new documentary that features the residents (including the Pappas) called Dreaming Walls: Inside The Chelsea Hotel, which screens at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 17, out in theatres July 8—its the perfect time to share the spirit of New York’s landmark hotel of creativity with a scarf.
Zoe Pappas has designed a scarf based on a drawing she created in 1999. The drawing depicts the Chelsea Hotel with its landmark neon sign outside bearing the hotel’s name. “You can use it as a cape or a shawl,” said Pappas.
“I appreciate the history of the building, the tradition that it has brought, and the connection between the two continents—Europe and North America,” she said. “This scarf is a homage to the building, I think that it’s an artist’s work of love.”
The Chelsea Hotel opened in 1884, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that it became a beacon of bohemian counterculture, with now-famous artists and writers creating their masterpieces within these walls, including residents like Tom Wolfe, Arthur Miller, William S. Burroughs and Arthur C. Clarke. IT has been a New York City landmark since 1966.
After undergoing years of construction, the hotel will reopen as a luxury hotel this fall. Right now, the building’s scaffolding is being taken over the course of this month, showing its long-awaited restored façade after being shrouded in scaffolding for over a decade.
It all started in 1999, when she wanted to make a t-shirt. “Originally, the people at the hotel didn’t want to sell it,” said Pappas. Down the street, there was an art store run by an Armenian family, where she would buy her art and design supplies. “So they put my t-shirt the window to sell it,” she recalls.
Now, she’s bringing it back in the form of a silk scarf, which can be purchased at ZoeDesigns2022.com. “Just like a phoenix, which I consider to be the Chelsea Hotel, rising out of its own ashes,” explains Pappas. “I said ‘okay, I’ll start again,’ so I produced my art piece of the Chelsea Hotel as a scarf.”
The hotel was built the same year as Pappas’ own piano in her apartment—1884. Each scarf comes with a leaflet that reads: “I am the Chelsea scarf.”
It explains in detail: “I am the Chelsea scarf, and I like to dance! The smooth silk saving its beauty on the wonderful music of the Waltz makes my piano its best friend. The piano and the building share the same date of birth. It seems that they have been meant to meet and probably fall in love. Let’s dance whirling the scarf in the air and celebrating the beauty of old and new, tradition and start of, and perpetual creativity!”
The scarf format has been manufactured by custom neckwear company Lindman New York for Pappas.
“My friend Carl Rutberg at Lindman helped me with the scarf—when I shared with Carl that all the Chelsea balconies have the script letter “H,” as this is coming from my maiden surname Haretia, he created the border, and I was thrilled.”
Pappas is creating a series of scarves. The series includes the scarf of the Chelsea Hotel, while Pappas is also working on, depicting the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. The ceiling of Grand Central Station is also going to become a scarf.