New York City must have one of the highest concentrations of world celebrities per square kilometre in the world. After all, it’s an important hub for the arts, and offers luxury and entertainment while also giving the protection and semi-anonymity of being in a crowd.
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Once stars reach a certain level of fame, however, some of their anonymity is traded in for success in the public eye. So, when you’re in New York City on holiday, why not spend an afternoon discovering the past and present homes of the rich and famous? You can get a feel for the luxurious life of a celebrity for yourself by booking your hotel in Manhattan or one of the other districts of the city that celebrities prefer. Check Expedia for good deals on accommodation in New York City.
Start your celebrity-spotting exploration by paying homage to the past at the Chelsea Hotel.
This New York City landmark was built in the late 1800s, and has had dozens of artists, writers, musicians and other luminaries stay within its red-brick facade. At one time, it was the tallest building in the neighbourhood.
One of the earliest famous people to stay at the Chelsea Hotel was Mark Twain, the writer and humourist who created the characters of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Twain also spent time in New York living on West 10th Street, and local legend has it that Twain’s ghost now haunts the stairwell at his former home.
Another famous resident of the Chelsea Hotel is American folk rock icon Bob Dylan. Dylan and one of his former wives lived in Suite 2011. Around the same time, Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen began staying there, and has lived on and off at the Chelsea Hotel throughout his career, even writing several poems and songs about the structure.
Other famous people who have stayed at the Chelsea Hotel include singer Iggy Pop, poet Dylan Thomas, satirist Jean-Paul Sartre, actress Uma Thurman and comedian Russell Brand. The hotel is also infamous as the location of Nancy Spungen’s murder in 1978. Spungen was the girlfriend of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious. Vicious was suspected of the crime, but he died of a heroin overdose shortly after the murder.
The Chelsea Hotel is located at 222 West 23rd St.
The Upper West Side
Moving on to contemporary celebrities, surveys show most of the city’s noted people base their local addresses on the Upper West Side. This neighbourhood is bordered by the river to the west, Central Park to the east, and West 96th Street and West 72nd Street to the north and south. Take a stroll along the streets in this area, or stop in for a coffee in a café near the park, and you may get a few glimpses of some of your favourite actors, artists and musicians.
For example, actors Matt Damon, Al Pacino and Denzel Washington all own homes in the Upper West Side. Additionally, Irish rocker and philanthropist Bono, and singer Mary J. Blige are also part-time residents of the area.
The Upper East Side, which is directly across Central Park from Upper West Side, also has a high concentration of celebrities, according to the survey. Upper East Siders include investor and celebrity businessman Donald Trump, singers Sting and Madonna, and actor Samuel L. Jackson.
West 72nd and West 73rd Streets
Two of the most frequently-cited streets in listings of celebrity homes are West 72nd and 73rd streets, which are on the border of the Upper West Side. The Dakota Apartments, a cooperative block of flats on the corner of West 72nd and Central Park, has had many celebrity inhabitants. However, one of the most famous is Beatle John Lennon. He and Yoko Ono lived here from 1973 until his death in 1980 when Lennon was shot by a fan in front of this building. A memorial to Lennon, called Strawberry Fields, can be found in Central Park not far from the building.
In addition to Lennon, the Dakota Apartments have been home to actress Lauren Bacall and author Harlan Coben.
Across the river from Manhattan are a few other neighbourhoods that seem to be a draw for celebrities living in New York City. Brooklyn Heights, for example, is the home of superstar actor couple Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, and filmmaker Lena Dunham. In Park Slope, you might be lucky enough to spot actors Patrick Stewart, Maggie Gyllenhaal or Steve Buscemi.
Ask any New Yorker for their favourite celebrity encounter, and you’re sure to hear a tale or two. New York City is such a vibrant, busy city with so many films, drama series, theatre productions, musical performances and art exhibitions scheduled daily that the chances of seeing a famous face on the street or rubbing shoulders with him or her at a restaurant or café are high.
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