The real-life Chelsea Hotel always seemed a little threatened before it closed to renters last August, and apparently that's a universal Chelsea condition as a Second Life player who maintains a virtual version of the hotel has launched a fund-raising campaign to keep it open. Until it actually did close to renters, the Chelsea always seemed to be in danger of closing or changing and there always seemed to be a campaign in the works to save it. That the hotel's virtual version has its own "save the Chelsea" campaign makes it all the more true to the original.
The iconic West 23rd Street flophouse for artists, punks, poets, musicians, and bohemians featured fantastic artwork on the walls, a storied history, and a general air of grime and disrepair before it closed for redevelopment. The virtual space, created in 2009 by Pennsylvanian fanboy Michael Brown, and maintained by Brown's avatar, Mykal Skall, now also needs quite a bit of rebuilding, as Skall's been documenting on his Facebook page. On March 15, Skall announced he'd be closing the virtual hotel because it was costing him real money (to use the space in Second Life), and becoming a drain, personally: "I've tried to move things around, scale it down, etc. But I can't find a way that I can afford to continue to give the build what it needs. And quite frankly, I have enough stressers in RL, that something needs to give and unfortunately this is one of them."