by Jay Lesiger
Jay Lesiger is the founder and owner of Chelsea Pines Inn.
I wish I had a dollar for every time a Chelsea Pines guest or acquaintance has said to me, “I’ve always wanted to run an inn. It must be so much fun and so interesting.” Unless I know them very well, I smile politely and say, yes, it certainly is…and then I am silent.
Yes, it is fun, and yes, it really is interesting, but let me tell you, this is 365-day-a-year, 24/7 proposition, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! The rewards can be great, but the blood, sweat and tears are very tangible too. Let me take you back a little more than 25 years ago…
My late partner, Sheldon Post, had dreamed of being an innkeeper, something on the order of Mrs. Madrigal, the famed house mother in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City,” complete with life-affirming advice (and maybe an occasional joint or two). And perhaps, in the San Francisco of the 1960s or 1970s, such a thing might have been possible. But New York in the 1980s was not so hospitable and Sheldon continued to purchase various rundown rooming houses all over the Village and Chelsea in the hopes of converting one of them to a gay-friendly guest house. The banks would have none of this; “What was a guest house?”, they would ask. But Sheldon was determined and, although the banks would offer money for condo or coop conversion, he would refuse, resell the building and then move on to the next one (as one acquaintance said of him, he may not have always been right, but he was never in doubt). Continue reading