When I Met Nicola L

By Posted on 39 Comments 3 min read

On a trip to New York a few years ago, I wanted to visit the famous Chelsea Hotel. It was home for many years to some very interesting people including Nicola L.

Famous Names

Fixed to the wall next to the entrance of the hotel is a brass plaque, engraved with the names of some of its former luminaries. Leonard Cohen, Dylan Thomas and Thomas Wolfe are just a few on the list. The hotel is also the place where poor Nancy Spungeon met her demise after sharing room 100 with her boyfriend, Syd Vicious. It seemed to me to be a den of iniquity, hence why I seemed so fascinated with the place.

The Real Thing

Like a lot of things in reality when you come face to face with them, there is always a certain disappointment compared to the image you carry in your head. The Chelsea Hotel was no exception. It was encased in scaffolding that hid a lot of the beautiful facade. There was a gap for people to gain access to and from the main entrance, but the building was looking sad and neglected. That’s when I met Nicola L.

Nicola L

Who the hell’s Nicola L? I know, I hadn’t a clue either. While I was mooching around the front porch and taking no notice of the sign that forbids anyone taking photographs, by taking photographs, I was suddenly greeted by a very strong female French accent. “Nobody lives here anymore!!, everyone has gone. There used to be so many people living in this hotel, but now there is only me and the mice and the ghosts. I have been here for nearly 30 years and I’ve seen so many people come and go. Now nobody comes anymore and the hotel is up for sale.”

I Wish I Could Go In

With that, she proceeded to make her way through the huge glass doors. And with a final “Au revoir” she disappeared into the loneliness of this huge, empty brick building that was now full of ghosts. I was impressed she took time out to explain some of the hotels’ history, albeit very brief. I would have loved to follow her into the foyer, but the doors were locked by a secure, electronic number gizmo thing. So I had to make do with standing outside on the pavement, shrouded by scaffold. Oh well.

Back Home

Back home in Blighty a couple of weeks later and I was watching one of those obscure T.V. programmes about art. They spoke about an artist who had done something with a giant foot!! The artist responsible for this huge plastic trotter was none other than Nicola L. The very lady I spoke to outside the Chelsea Hotel. Apparently, she is quite a respected artist or a pop artist as they were known. You just never know who you’re talking to sometimes. Anyway, she seems a very interesting lady and I’m glad our paths crossed, even if it was just a brief moment in time. Alas, she is no longer with us. If you’d like to find out more about Nicola L, here’s a link to the Tate Gallery.

I'd love to hear from you

39 Comments
  • susiesopinions
    September 29, 2019

    How neat.

    • admin
      September 29, 2019

      Thank you, Susie.

  • Jerry Brotherton
    September 29, 2019

    A wonderful tale my friend. So true that sometimes you never know who it is you are speaking with or who they might become in the future.

    • admin
      September 29, 2019

      Thank you, Jerry.

  • Rosaliene Bacchus
    September 29, 2019

    I imagine her ghost still roaming the corridors of the Chelsea Hotel.

    • admin
      September 29, 2019

      I can imagine that, Rosaliene, Thank you.

  • librepaley
    September 29, 2019

    What an extraordinary encounter that made up for the initial disappointment of the hotel. Glad you remember it well…

    • admin
      September 29, 2019

      It was quite a surprise when she came up to me and spoke. Then again, New York is always full of surprises 😀

      • Lara/Trace
        November 1, 2019

        I’d speak to you too! Wonderful blog you have here.

        • admin
          November 1, 2019

          Thank you, Lara, that’s very kind of you

  • Peter's pondering
    September 29, 2019

    Her art is a taste that I have yet to acquire!

    • admin
      September 29, 2019

      Yes, it is a strange art.

  • sheenmeem
    September 29, 2019

    How interesting!

    • admin
      September 29, 2019

      Thank you, Sheenmeen, yes, she was obviously a very interesting human being. Just that I didn’t know at the time.

  • Author G M Cleary
    September 29, 2019

    You never know the importance of a moment…then it’s a memory.

    • admin
      September 29, 2019

      Quite right, thank you.

  • Invisibly Me
    September 30, 2019

    What a small world it is sometimes, very coincidental and perfect timing to catch that TV program. The hotel does sound incredibly fascinating, and I wonder what it’s like to live there. I’m also curious as to whether or not it’ll sell; you’d think so given its infamous history, but I hope it’s renovated rather than demolished. Thanks for the Tate link. She definitely has an interest in the human body. Will have to see what the Red Coat is all about as it’s described as “Red Coat invites the desire to share a collective skin”.
    Caz xx

    • admin
      September 30, 2019

      Thank you, Caz. Yes, I shall have to follow up on what’s happened to the hotel. She was obviously a unique character in her art world.

  • amandahoving
    September 30, 2019

    Interesting story! Happy to have come across your site today!

    • admin
      September 30, 2019

      Thank you, Amanda and welcome.

  • SueW
    September 30, 2019

    What an interesting story!

    • admin
      September 30, 2019

      Thank you, Sue.

  • Food Fonts
    October 1, 2019

    Thanks…Trev sir…thanks a lot

    • admin
      October 1, 2019

      You’re welcome.

  • gc
    October 2, 2019

    Loved the article. Thanks for sharing.

    • admin
      October 3, 2019

      Thank you very much, GC 🙂

  • Quite an encounter…you say she is no longer with us… I assume she too will now be wandering the halls in good company…

    • admin
      October 3, 2019

      Thank you, Smorgasbord and yes, she will be one of the many wandering those halls. 😀

  • This is so cool

    • admin
      October 3, 2019

      Thank you so much. Your kind words are very much appreciated.

  • Michael Ogazie
    October 6, 2019

    Awesome post!

    • admin
      October 6, 2019

      Thank you 😊

  • lorriebowden
    October 6, 2019

    Isn’t that the truth! I read somewhere recently to treat every stranger as if they are the most important person in your life because you never know if they just may indeed be.
    Thanks for the share…and for the support!

    • admin
      October 6, 2019

      Thank you, Lorrie, interesting reply.

  • America On Coffee
    October 8, 2019

    A nice inclusive write. I enjoyed the scooe.

    • admin
      October 9, 2019

      Thank you 😃

  • Thank you Sir
    for your support

  • boundlessblessingsblog
    November 13, 2019

    A fantastic read Trev and yes sometimes you don’t know who you meet in life. A beautiful picture of Nicola.

    • admin
      November 13, 2019

      Thank you again, boundless blessings and yes, you just never know who you are going to meet.




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