Chelsea Hotel Doors Open Up Opportunity to Buy History

Nick Bello, Social Media Manager

On April 12, memorabilia hunters had the opportunity to purchase the doors of Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley and even Mark Twain at the Ricco/Maresca Gallery located on West 20th Street in Manhattan. The gallery has partnered with Guernsey’s to auction off the doors from the famous Chelsea Hotel at the gallery as well as online.

The doors up for auction were on display at the gallery from April 5 -12. A portion of the profit made from the auction will go to City Harvest, an organization dedicated to fighting hunger in New York City.

According to Kylie Ryu, the manager of the Ricco/Maresca Gallery, the space was lent  to Guernsey’s for the auction. Ryu also said that the gallery had not done an event like this before.

The Chelsea, which closed in 2011 for renovation, was home to many famous celebrities. The doors up for auction were the gateways to the rooms of writers, musicians, artists and even some politicians.

The Chelsea is also where an affair between Janis Joplin and Leonard Cohen is rumored to have taken place. That door is one of many up for auction this month.

The doors were previously owned by Cigdum Tankut, who rescued the doors when the hotel closed for renovation. Tankut received a tip from a man she had met on her way home from her art booth in Manhattan.

Tankut claims that the man came up to her one day on her way home from her booth on 25th Street, Manhattan with a proposition to help save the doors which were going to be thrown out.

Tankut brought the doors to her own storage space when they were removed from the hotel, although the doors eventually had to be moved shortly after when the storage building closed down.

With the help of Jim Georgio and a few others, Tankut found another space for the doors to be stored. The doors changed storage locations multiple times until they found a suitable auction house for them.

The process of finding a suitable home for the doors took five years, according to Tankut. These five years were challenging, as they were faced with many problems along the way.

“It’s been five long, heavy, difficult, troubling, challenging, over-worked, over-labored years,” Tankut laughed.

Over the past five years, Tankut developed an almost a parent-like relationship with the doors.

“It’s like sending your child off to college,” Tankut said. “I want them to go, but I don’t want them to go.”

Tankut wants the buyers to look beyond the fact that they are doors from a famous hotel.

“This is not a door, it’s not an antique door, it’s not a door from a hotel,” she said. “They’re confidants of incredibly intense characters that gave us twentieth century pop culture.”