A Tattoo Parlor Prepares to Depart the Chelsea Hotel

The tattoo parlor on the ground floor of the Chelsea Hotel was nearly empty on Saturday afternoon, and Ivan Arte, a worker there, said he had only one scheduled appointment, a man coming in to get a half-sleeve dragon with flowers.

Mr. Arte said the snow and Halloween weekend might have combined to keep customers away.

But after the snow is cleared and Halloween is over, the shop, the Rising Dragon Chelsea Tattoo Company, will be gone.

The parlor’s owner, Darren Rosa, has operated out of the Chelsea Hotel since 1997. He said that when his lease ran out in 2007, he and the hotel’s longtime manager and part-owner, Stanley Bard, were unable to agree to terms for a new lease. Instead, Mr. Rosa said, they shook hands on a deal for him to pay rent on a month-by-month basis.

In August, however, the developer Joseph Chetrit bought the landmarked building on West 23rd Street.

In early September, Mr. Rosa met with the building’s new management and, he said, was asked to move his shop elsewhere. “He said they were looking for retail that would embody ‘lifestyle,’ ” added Mr. Rosa, 46, remarking that he was unsure what “lifestyle” meant.

The Chelsea’s other storefront tenants, he said, like Chelsea Guitars, were not asked to leave. “The guitar guys were cool,” he said, laughing.

It is still unclear exactly how the new owners intends to remake the hotel, which stopped accepting guests in August and is now undergoing renovations.

But the departure of Chelsea Tattoo may signal the direction, and renovation documents filed with the Department of Buildings offer further hints. According to a form filed by Gene Kaufman, the architect carrying out the renovations, the new ownership plans to add a gym and a rooftop bar to the building.

The building’s managers did not respond to requests for comment.

Most of the tenants of the Chelsea’s 83 apartments remain, and many of them are unhappy with how the renovation is being carried out. Three weeks ago, the residents of about 40 apartments formed a new tenants’ association and hired a lawyer, Samuel J. Himmelstein, to represent them. The two sides were scheduled to meet last Wednesday, but the Chelsea’s owners cancelled the meeting, Mr. Himmelstein said. They were likely to meet this week, he added.

Rising Dragon must move out by Monday.

Dan Courtenay, the owner of Chelsea Guitars, said he was unsure who his new neighbors would be. He got his sole tattoo years ago at Rising Dragon. “I feel terrible that it’s going out,” he said, “because they’re great guys and very talented.”

The tattoo parlors employees, however, will not lose their jobs, Mr. Rosa said. After his lease ran out in 2007, he opened a second parlor on West 14th Street, just east of Avenue of the Americas. He said that store was on a much busier block and did well.

That parlor is on the second floor. He said he was renovating other space on fourth floor for the tattoo artists who were leaving the Chelsea.

“They’re going to land on their feet,” Mr. Courtenay said.

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