CHELSEA — He didn’t go gentle into that good night.
Since the hotel’s board pushed its longtime manager out in 2007 — leading to years of evictions and strife between tenants and the hotel’s revolving door of managers and owners — Nash has fought to ensure Thomas’ apartment remains unscathed by renovations.
Following a lawsuit, a counter lawsuit and months of negotiations, the co-owner of BD Hotels — which has a managing interest in the Chelsea Hotel — signed a court stipulation vowing to preserve the apartment’s “footprint, kitchen and bathroom,” along with items like the apartment’s door, Curbed reported
“It’s a small victory, but it’s a victory nonetheless,” Nash told DNAinfo. “It means that we don’t go down in defeat.”
The hotel’s owner will also place a bronze plaque with an inscription commemorating Thomas outside the apartment, he said.
The storied hotel at 222 W. 23rd St., between Seventh and Eighth avenues, stopped accepting guests when developer Joseph Chetrit purchased it in 2011, with plans for a luxury hotel conversion.
Along with working to preserve Thomas’ apartment, Nash and a small group of tenants have been protesting the hotel’s “corporate takeover” since 2007, he said.
The poet John Malcolm Brinnin — a close friend of Thomas’ who the New York Times reported wrote extensively about him and acted as his “unpaid lecture agent and ignored financial adviser” — inspired Nash’s dedication to the fight, he said.
Nash and Brinnin became friends after meeting at Hofstra University, he said.
“It seemed like there was some sort of cosmic imperative that I sit on the room, because of my relationship with [Brinnin],” Nash explained. “It made me feel like, well, this is the right thing to do.”
He plans to move out of the hotel soon, though he hasn’t decided where he’ll go.
Nash's prevailing feeling at the thought of leaving is one of relief, he acknowledged.
“Every day I miss living there, but where is ‘there'? ‘There’ hasn’t existed in nine years,” he said.
“I’m not really cut out to live in a luxury hotel — It’s not why I came to the Chelsea. Other people will, but it’s not for me.”