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Chelsea Guitars

Opening Hours
Today: 1–6pm
224 West 23rd Street
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Growing up in Queens, Dan Courtenay became enamored with music when he attended a performance by Albert King — a renowned blues guitarist — in 1968. The sounds were so gripping to his fourteen-year-old self that Dan recalls the feeling vividly decades later. In 1972, aged eighteen, his taste transitioned away from rock to blues, jazz, and more esoteric music. A chance meeting with the great Tal Fallow, a sign painter from New Jersey who be-came one of the world's most acclaimed jazz guitarists, sent Dan on a quest to hear “real” rather than “contrived” music — a journey many young men of Dan's age embarked on as music “became more corporate and theatrical.”

Though he strayed from his pursuit of music for a time, Dan was forced to reevaluate what made him happiest after an elevator accident in the 1980s. In 1989, he opened Chelsea Guitars in the historic Chelsea Hotel. Built in 1885, the hotel once hosted musicians including Janis Joplin, Leonard Co-hen, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Bette Middler, and Madonna.

Dan has made full use of the quaint space, where new and old instruments jut out from the walls, creating a warm community for musicians and music enthusiasts to congregate. This has allowed him to indulge in his nostalgia for “a little taste of what New York City used to be — and should continue to be — all about.”

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Spin New York

Many months ago, I gathered a group of friends and family to celebrate my husband's birthday. No one had ever been to Spin, so it was the perfect opportunity for everyone to have a terrific night taking turns playing a sport most of us adore, and sharing in conversation, drinks and appetizers. As we walked down the steps into the dimly lit lobby we were greeted by a friendly hostess in a chic black outfit, and it felt as though we had entered any other swanky Manhattan club. And yet, as we turned the corner we saw immediately that this was not the case. Instead of the usual dance-filled floor, at this club we were presented with rows of ping-pong tables and couples in heated competition. The diversity of the crowd was vast and only became more so as the night went on. Businessmen off from work, their white collared shirts glowing in the black light, rallied next to serious athletes there for a workout in gym shorts and sweatbands. Young couples looking for a quirky date played next to groups of older friends there to enjoy the nostalgia of this classic game. Everyone is welcome at Spin. Serious ping pong players make the circuits, challenging worthy opponents to games while casual paddlers compete in a more leisurely game. It has never been easier to enjoy ping pong, as Spin has eliminated the frustrating need for constantly picking up stray balls - staff with fascinating contraptions collect all the balls and reload the buckets regularly. Perhaps even more exciting, servers come by to the tables with what could be described as high-class bar food - some of our favorites were the alcoholic mango slushies, the fried rice balls, and the truffle mac and cheese. The delicious food and drink are honestly worth a visit on their own, and as the club often hosts championship ping pong games, even those who do not want to grab a paddle themselves can fill up a plate and watch the action. Originally opened by ping pong enthusiasts Franck Raharinosy, Andrew Gordon, Jonathan Bricklin and Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon, Spin has quickly become a hot spot both in other parts of the US and abroad.