As the longtime owner of the famed Chelsea Hotel, Stanley Bard became a champion of New York’s art scene, playing host to the Beat Generation of the 1950s, the counterculture of the 1960s and the punk rockers of the 1970s.
Bard died Tuesday in Boca Raton, Florida. He was 82.
The hotel in Manhattan had become a hub of bohemian life when Bard inherited it upon his father’s death in 1957.
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The list of guests, most of whom were befriended by Bard, includes such figures as Arthur Miller, Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Arthur C. Clarke, Dee Dee Ramone, Madonna, Robert Mapplethorpe. The list goes on and on.
“A stay at the Chelsea has long been regarded as a rite of passage for almost everyone who was anyone in the world of art, music, literature and the theater during the fifty years of Stanley’s brilliant tenure,” Ed Hamilton wrote on a Hotel Chelsea blog.
Hamilton, author of the book “Legends of the Chelsea Hotel,” wrote that Bard studied psychology in college and claimed it helped him relate to the artists and oddballs who spent time at the hotel.
“Stanley as a genuine New York character, one of the people who make the city the great place it is,” he wrote.
Investors in the hotel pressured Bard to financially capitalized on the landmark’s image during his final years as hotelier, but he worked to keep rents affordable for the artists, musicians, actors and writers who lived there, according to Hamilton.
The hotel is featured in many songs, films and books.
Bard was born in 1934 to Jewish immigrants from Hungary. His father, David Bard, and a pair of investors bought the hotel in 1940.
He is survived by his wife Phyllis, two children, David and Michele Bard Grabell and their spouses, and five grandchildren.