It's a sad thing to walk by the Chelsea Hotel these days. The big neon sign is dark, the lobby is desolate, and there's a miserable paper sign taped to the door to let everyone know the place is "closed to the public."
The Doughnut Plant downstairs isn't closed, though. It's hopping with members of the public. They make artisanal treats and do not spell their name D-O-N-U-T like the old-schoolers do. They moved into the large space formerly occupied by Chelsea Guitars.
I took a peek inside and was surprised to find the counter wrapped in the flowered, wrought-iron balustrade that frames the balconies of the hotel--the one that poet James Schuyler rhapsodized about. I kept trying to figure out if this is a copy or a piece of the original. I asked the barista and received a blank look.
Gothamist reported awhile back that the Doughnut Plant owner "temporarily removed a section of railing" from the hotel "in order to have it cast and replicated." He also plucked the flowers to make light fixtures.
Meanwhile, upstairs, the historic rooms are gutted as Chelsea tenants are evicted, and most of us have no hope of ever leaning on one of those balustrades--unless we're buying artisanal doughnuts.