Structural engineer Zoe Pappas and her husband, architect Nicholas Pappas, have lived at the Chelsea Hotel for 25 years. With the hotel set to reopen to hotel guests this fall and a new documentary featuring residents (including the Pappas) titled Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotelwhich will screen at the Tribeca Film Festival on June 17 and hit theaters on July 8, now is the perfect time to share the spirit of New York’s beacon of creativity with a scarf.
Zoe Pappas designed a scarf based on a design she created in 1999. The design depicts the Chelsea Hotel with its neon sign outside bearing the hotel’s name. “You can use it as a cape or a shawl,” Pappas said.
“I appreciate the history of the building, the tradition it brought and the connection between the two continents, Europe and North America,” she said. “This scarf is a tribute to the building, I think it’s an artist’s labor 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 in these walls, including residents like Tom Wolfe, Arthur Miller, William S. Burroughs and Arthur C. Clarke. Computing has been a New York City landmark since 1966.
After enduring years of construction, the hotel will reopen as a luxury hotel this fall. Currently, the building’s scaffolding is being taken up again this month, showing its long-awaited restored facade after being shrouded in scaffolding for over a decade.
It all started in 1999, when she wanted to make a t-shirt. “Initially the people at the hotel didn’t want to sell it,” Pappas said. At the end of the street, there was an art store run by an Armenian family, where they bought their art and design supplies. “So they put my t-shirt in 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 think of as the Chelsea Hotel, rises from its own ashes,” says Pappas. “I said ‘okay, I’ll do it again’, so I produced my Chelsea Hotel artwork as a scarf.”
The hotel was built the same year as Pappas’ own piano in his apartment – 1884. Each scarf comes with a leaflet that reads: ‘I am the Chelsea scarf’.
She explains in detail: “I am the Chelsea scarf, and I like to dance! The smooth silk rescuing its beauty on the marvelous music of the Waltz makes my piano its best friend. The piano and the building share the same date of birth. It seems like they were meant to meet and probably fall in love. Let’s dance as the sash twirls through the air and celebrate the beauty of old and new, tradition and the beginning, and perpetual creativity!”
The scarf format was made by custom tie company Lindman New York for Pappas.
“My friend Carl Rutberg from Lindman helped me with the headscarf – when I shared with Carl that all Chelsea balconies had the script letter ‘H’ as it comes from my surname Haretia he created the edging and I was thrilled.”
Pappas creates a series of scarves. The series includes the Chelsea Hotel scarf, which Pappas is also working on, depicting the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. The ceiling of Grand Central Station will also become a scarf.
The scarves are on sale for $150 via her Zoe Designs 2022 website, or by email at [email protected].