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1.  To the esteemed Reader

For years I have thought around and around

In circles, but I I have never found 

 A reasonable solution of how to retrieve

What was taken from me by Heidi, this crafty thief.

There is so much she has stolen from me,

The money is not a small fraction, but see

She meddled with my youth, my enthusiasm, my drive

And within an inch she came close to taking my life.

It literally was an inch, but let us not get ahead 

First things first, let us keep the order of what lead

To that disaster from which it is so hard to recover

It hit straight in my core, no warning, no buffer.

But first a few words, my dear reader, to you,

I ask you please stay with me through

This whole story I am about to tell

Of my descent into a deep dark well.

Maybe it will be cautionary tale how you must

Be very careful about whom to trust

Or maybe you get enthralled by all the juicy details

Of the baseness and deception it entails.

In either case, I hope it keeps you engrossed,

 because to me what matters the most

 is that you listen all the way till the end 

and decide only there and then

What you think of what happened to me, of my cause

(No, I do not want your money, I am not one of those..)

I just want you to listen and consider my claim 

because to go down without a fight seems kind of LAME?

It took me many years to get ready for this

So please do not be hasty and dismiss

My words as ramblings of a bitter old crone

As hard as it was, I tried to keep a light tone

to combat the heaviness and sheer dread 

I feel since I learned that I had been HAD.

But now, without further ado

Together let us see this through!!!

2. The Beginning

At the beginning, I want to make that clear

When I first came to New York, i was nowhere near

What could be described as mentally sound

No honestly, I was a mess when I first found

My way, like so many others before

To this hallowed and much dreamed about shore

Where Lady Liberty awaits us with the Torch in her hand

And  inflames the hope, that in this new land

We would no longer be just wretched refuse 

I felt my heart burning,I had nothing to lose….

I thought. But again I was wrong

And that is why I am writing this song.

So my state of mind when I arrived :

I was hopeless, Depressed and oh, so deprived 

Of human connection. All my life I felt empty and alone

But now, at the end of my university years, I had come 

To a crossroads, and I had not the slightest idea

How to move on. And big in my mind loomed the fear

That soon, out of pure despair,

I might put an end my life, this sorry affair

So when finally America came into view 

I was ready to fully embrace this new

World that promised, if nothing else, at least a delay

Of what I feared so much .. so I decided to stay.

But  in addition to Lady Liberty

was another gatekeeper that greeted Me.

Not comprised of metal, but warm blood and flesh

Embedded a mind that would enmesh

Me into her life with such calculating precision

That, if obliterating me would have been her mission,

It would have been considered a complete success

But that was not her goal, it was more or less

Only a minor side effect of her true aim

To make as much money as she could possible gain

From a little business operation named

The Chelsea Center Hostel, named after the famed

Chelsea Hotel, located nearby 

and which was one of the reasons why

New York held this grande fascination 

For young people from every industrialized nation.

But let me pause here so we can fully appreciate

What happened at that moment, that rotten twist of fate

When I first crossed the threshold into that raggedy looking place

Where I was to meet HEIDI  face to face.



3. Heidi (first impression)

Where to begin to describe

This very special and unique vibe

That always surrounded her

When she was at the hostel, then and there.

Maybe in the meantime it changed, I do not know

But let us not speculate because even though

She is now eighty and at an age considered ripe

- a tiger never really changes his stripe.

But I want to show how she appeared

To the young girl I was, and how I revered

Her, because she seemed to see value in me

 I succumbed to her charm immediately.

See, I was starved for love and attention

At this point should I mention

My own mother did not care about me much

And the effect of that was such

A immense blow to my SELF
That - enough, it is not yet time yet to delve

Deeper into the murky bogs that lay 

At the core of my eventual decay.


Heidi, well she  had this air of moral superiority 

She was above simple folk like you and me.

I was from the South, my German has a twang

While from her rather thin lips sprang

A German so prussian so hochdeutsch so clear

Honestly, it will make you shiver with fear

It made me feel smaller and less assured

My inferiority complex nowhere near cured.

Language is at the heart of who I am 

And only now it is that I can

Truly appreciate how it impacted me

That there was no language in which I felt like ME

Heidi spoke perfect Hochdeutsch, English and French

And here was I, still with this small town stench.

Fresh from the boat, no experience at all

Her 20 years in New York, yes, they loomed kind of tall.

And the stories she told from her mystical past

Full of experience, from a life so vast

Berlin, then New York at its heyday

And a place in Province for the summer to stay.

And that person, that Legend seemed to be

Taking an interest in - me?

If I look back now, truth to be told

It just took one invite to her house.. I was sold.

I was the only staff member invited to see 

her private residence and she

Even brought out her Grandmas China from the Fatherland

My very own mother had thought it a sin if I went

Even near her Rosenthal too close

I was not worthy of touching those

Round Objects she held in higher esteem

Than her own daughter, yes it may seem

A minor details, not worth mentioning

But after all those years, I still feel that sting

Of losing out to a freaking plate!!!!

What a low blow, for heavens sake!

Yes, bringing out that China was a genius stroke

She did it only once, but at the right time, it awoke

All that repressed desire to be loved, to belong

I could not hold it back and it won

Over the doubts I might have had in my heart

I know how to quell them, I made it an art

So now HEIDI was written on my banner

And my life was in service of that SCAMMER

Yes, I knew well how to silence that voice

It was quiet to begin with, hardly any noise

But when I now look back I can clearly see

That deep down she had always frightened me.

Long black/grey hair with fringes deep into her eyes 

With long layers down the sides

Deep Set eyes hidden behind heavy glasses while

Those thin lips often had that Mona Lisa smile,

 at times all-knowing, at times taunting

Just like she was secretly flaunting

A little sneer, an inside joke

Before the word existed, Heidi was woke.

But that fear, and that doubt, I locked them away

And for the next fifteen years they would lay

In a chamber deep inside, hidden from myself and from all

But the day would come and those walls would fall.

And that  would cause an enormous eruption

Which in my life it caused a severe interruption

From which till today I have not fully recovered

While a minor inconvenience was all she suffered.


4. Chelsea Center

But before I tell the exciting  tale

Of how my mind, by then so frail

Slipped out of control into a manic state

I want to talk about the hostel - so that has to wait!!

The hostel was one of those hole in the wall operations

Open only to guests from foreign nations

Young people who looked for a cheap place to stay

And if they figured out what went on, looked the other way.

So let me explain, very roughly drawn out 

What Heidis operation was all about.

At the time when I first entered the scene

She was well established and between 

The 2 physical locations under one name

When we did the bed count it came

To about 50 beds altogether, give and take a few

Because we had different locations through

The many years I was involved. 

But no matter where, Heidi was always resolved

To fill up the beds to the very last spot

And when those were full, then she put

Some extra mattresses on the floor, 

Because that would make her 20 bucks more.

But were almost always full all your round

Because we could easily be found

In all the hip guide books of that time,

there were no google reviews, so we did fine.

Because, honestly the place was a dump

But there was no competition and for the lump

Sum of 30 dollars a night you could sleep tight

In a basement room without any light.

And it even included breakfast for free

Some - storebrand - wonderbread with three

Kids of Jam, instant coffee and tea

At some point there was peanut butter but see

Then Heidi decided it cost too much

She had no money to waste for such

Luxuries. NO, no unnecessary expense

And the 99 cent store was hence

The only place of commerce where she would free

Up some money, if necessary.


5. The dark side

Now what I am telling so far sounds harmless enough

Maybe unusual but not really serious stuff

But put aside and carefully hidden was the underlying fact

And that was not harmless nor funny, that the hostel lacked

Any proper registration and regulation at all

Yes it was brick and mortar, a building with walls

But officially it never existed

No matter in how many guidebooks it was listed.

Even though we always had to say tax was included

There was no tax, because Heidi completely eluded

To give its share to Uncle Sam, or the city of New York

No, Heidi did not see why with all this hard work

She should split any of her spoils at all

And I can tell you, those spoils were not small.

And as added side bonus she could force

Her own rule, like the famous Louis Quattorce. 

And she naturally embraced all this absolute power

While I would (at least metaphorically) cower

In front of that half broken office chair, and prostrate

Myself this day, I still f****g hate

Who I was. But let us not digress and let us look

At all the hazards, all the insane risks she took,

She wagered the safety of her staff and her guests,

Yes, I can see it now, she was so hard-pressed

So greedy to extract every last penny

That she felt justified to commit all those many

Transgressions against the people under her care

If money was to be made, who cared if it was fair?


We crammed 22 people (plus 4 more staff)

In a little residential apartment with only one bath

The staff slept in the main room behind a crude wall

the guests mostly in the basement in a big hall

The staff consisted of travelers themselves

They worked for the bed, so no money involved

At night one of them had to stay at home, 

But slept in his bed, with the front desk left alone.

Everybody had a key and came and went as they pleased

There was no supervision and if one guest ceased

To close the door it would stay open all night

Or for heavens sake if there would be a fight 

Or a fire or somebody would fall down the stairs

The possibilities were endless but who cares

If hiring a night watch would add to the cost

One would clearly choose the risk of life lost.

And that brings me to episode I mentioned before

How I almost lost my life, so now I will share more

About that incident that almost did me in

she played with my life, which some consider a sin.

The big room downstairs had a wooden trap

to a little half open vestibule from which one could step

onto the ladder that led up to the building front yard.

And in there was the water main and, even though dark and hard

To see, there were the all the electric meters and a maze of those

old electrical wirings, completely exposed.

One winter, when it was bitterly cold, one the water pipes froze

And once it warmed up, the pipe burst and the water rose.

There were only two of us there, it was during midday lockout

And obviously I completely freaked out.

What to do? Call 911, but that was strictly forbidden

Because then the truth that there was a hidden

Hostel would have been exposed

And subsequently it would have been closed.

So we had to wade around the water to find the main switch

While the water rapidly  kept rising to a level in which

It would have reached the electricity board

And then, the cleaner and I would be —- mort.

Electrocuted it would have read on my headstone

Because she didn’t call for help on the phone. 

But luck was on our side on that day 

And we were able to extend our stay

On this planet, for what it’s worth

For Heidi it was $30, of course.

But the question that lingers here

Is, why I made that decision, why was my fear

To displease Heidi, one can’t help to think,

 bigger then my own  survival instinct?

Now it might be helpful to understand

That from childhood on I was used to bend

My mind around somebody elses need

All my life I was groomed never to heed

That voice inside myself that is my birthright

Instead I was told to always fight

Against that voice, until I could hear it no more

And then what’s left of a person without that core

Of self value and respect she’s an empty shell

And then those predators know too well

How to fill that shell with what benefits them

And you end up being that sacrificial lamb.

Heidi, for me, was a cult of one,

I was unable to believe she could have done

Something so negligent, so inhumane

That, eventually, I would end up …insane.

My perception of reality was completely skewed

But eventually, after years, I couldn’t elude

Anymore the truth that this episode relates

The utter contempt it demonstrates

Her lips told that she cared, that she even loved me 

Her deeds something else, that for the life of me

And for the longest time I wasn’t willing to embrace

And that would take me years of my life to finally face.


But let’s hold again, for a moment here,

And before I go on, I want to steer

Your attention to another important detail

Without which one would certainly fail

To understand the workings of that kind of control

That subjugates the will, as well as the soul.

On the outside we looked like we were the perfect team

Almost never any conflict, we made it seem

Like Heidi and Hanna were the ultimate match,

She throws the ball and I, (breathing) would catch.

But, joke aside, from the outside it was impossible to see

The real power dynamic between my idol and me.

I was almost completely in the dark in those years

cut off from my own emotional spheres

I drank the kool aid, greedily, without even a break

And once it was downed, it was too late.

I accepted the official narrative, the party line

And as long as I did that, should not everything be fine?

That there was no sign outside was to keep the wrong ppl away

No visitors allowed so the luggage left during the day

Would not be stolen. But why were Americans not allowed?

WEll, they would not mix in with the european crowd

They were not so sophisticated, not used to coed dorms

And would not adhere to the accepted norms

But lust after all pretty danes and Germans and Swedes

And maybe end up unable to control their needs.

I mean now I can clearly see that this was discrimation

Against the citizens of our host nation

While making tax free money on their sacred soil

I can see how it could bring to a boil.

the founding fathers blood. If they were alive, I mean, 

And could see what Heidi made of the American Dream.

Think about it, it is kind of perverse 

How this proofs all the prejudice…only in reverse

It is not the poor latino immigrant here to berate 

It is a Lady from the land of Goethe and his mate. 


Oh no, Again, I find myself on a rant

I am so sorry, I promise I shant

Get sidetracked again by every minor detail

And then again, It seems I might fail.

6. Rene

I have mentioned before it was a cult of two

But there was another member who

Also worshiped the grounds 

On which our Queen flounced. 

He was an import from the newly opened East

Also naive, and young and not the least

Suspicious of Heidis true intentions

Compliant and docile, not to mention

So grateful to her to give him a chance

There was nothing he wouldn’t do for her and hence

He joined our cult  and turned it into a triad

And even more money was to be made.

We did all the heavy lifting, Rene and I,

But she had us convinced that without her by

Our side,  and without her constant  supervision

We could not even make the smallest decision.

Half jokingly she started Heidis University of Life

But  Rene and I would earnestly strive

To get good grades and be the teachers pet

It was embarrassing, how we were so sad. 

She know there was a lot at stake

and even though she took the risk she would make

us crazy wiith her neverending phonecalls 

They made me want to climb up the walls.

The risk she took made her paranoid

And left to her own devices, she could not avoid

To think of the consequences this could bring

This place in upstate New York called Singsing

So she never trusted anybody, not even us

She panicked all the time, and thus

She kept a super tight lid,we were her eyes

When she was not there we had to suffice.

And we really believed all this was necessary

For her we would have gone  to the very

End of the world to proof  we deserved

Her patronage over us pitiful serfs.

And the question about legality? She 

offered some halfass explanations,we

Accepted them, no questions asked

If Heidi thought it was right, that was enough.

7. Shout-out

So now that you know the basics of her game

That she played without pity and without shame,

 we were just pawns in her effort to stash

Away those countless envelopes full of cash.

Those cheap envelopes were transported in her fannypack

And once emptied out, destroyed, so nobody could track

Her progress in accumulating considerate wealth

While moving around in an act of stealth.

And what would happen to us, once our usefulness expired

The first to find out was Rene, who was basically fired

But not directly or straightforward, but in a secret way

She acted cold and distant all of a sudden, and cut his pay

So when he went back home, and the date came to return

I was dumbfounded and  surprised to learn

That he was not going to come back, not tomorrow not any other day

But Heidi was not surprised. She had planned it this way.

And then she started to trash and badmouth him,

Now it breaks my heart because I did join in

A little only, but what was I to do? 

I could not understand how he threw

Everything away, and completely disappeared

He must have done something wrong, I feared

And how did she do it : she would first use,

Like every good liar, a  \kernel of truth

And then embellish it and twist it around

Until that kernel could not be found

Anywhere but had been absorbed

Something about it always left me disturbed

But I could never pinpoint, it made my brain spin

It was a dizzying creation, like mental bling.

But that was not the last word on my friend Rene

And I am proud to say that today

Rene and I are friends, more, he is like a brother 

To me, and I am grateful that there is another

Who went through that hell

And holds my hand, while I tell

This sordid tale

Of abuse and betrayal.

And looking back, I am also proud to say

That together, Rene and I, yes we may

Have been clueless pawns in Heidis game

But nevertheless, all the same

We loved what we did, running those places

Meeting all those people and faces

We put our heart in, completely, in what we did

And that is what made the hostel a hit

That is why everybody had such a good time

Even if they had to wait for the shower in line.

We can still reminisce and remember those days

Especially the summers, when she was away

and there was a little more flexibility and ease

because we were on a longer leash.

Rene and I both came from very oppressive backgrounds

And we reveled in the freedom, the life, the sounds

Of that giant city we came to love so much

The opportunity we were given we embraced it to such

An extent we coul not see that price that we paid

Until it was, yes, what else, too late.

So, for now, Rene, I bid you farewell,

Because what is now left is to tell

How that story would end for me

one can imagine, right, that it could not be

A happy ending that was in store

And after Rene left, it was more 

Pressure on me, day in and day out

With not a lot of downtime allowed.


8. My Romantic Life

But before getting into it, let me backtrack

And look at my romantic life, if you can call it that

It will not be surprising to learn

That it was difficult for me to discern

Who was a good guy and who was not

The EastVillage in the 90s, there were a lot

All sorts:  artists, some real, some just drifters

Musicians, actors and other shape shifters.

I was so impressed, I thought now I was cool

But, looking back, I was mostly a fool

And nothing ever substantiated, time passed

None of those relationships would ever last.

So, after a few years with one looser or another

I saw my life ahead of me, and, brother

It did not look good, it looked like a repeat

many times over, of utter defeat.

And then, all of a sudden I thought something wild

I had never considered having a child

It was something real people did, not a loser like me

But now I had a change of perspective and I could see

Myself in that role, I felt hope, and with each

day that passed it seemed more within my reach.

Now there was this small problem of a father

For the child, but soon I found someone rather


Different, with a job, some money in the bank

Well educated, with manners, a heaven sent.

That I hardly knew him did not matter at all,

He was also good-looking, and rather tall

He checked all the boxes, as far as I was concerned

and within three months he already learned

That he would be the future father of my offspring

He did not bat an eye, I have to give it to him.

But, oh boy, with a heavy heart I made that phone call

To Heidi, who, on the other hand,  would not at all

Be pleased with the developments inside of my womb

And to what extent, I would learn very soon

Amongst other things she accused me

Of wanting to create an instant family

In hindsight,no I knew even then, she was not wrong

Actually, like a surgeon, she was spot on

But that did not prepare me for what would come next

It can neverbe justified, not in this, not in any context

She said that that the timing was bad, it did not fit into her plan

That we had just just gotten to the point when

Everything was running smoothly, like a well-oiled machine

And now this upheaval would it not seem

A better idea to get an abortion and not let

The creation of life disturb and upset

The creation of those green treasury notes

Stashed in said cheapo envelopes.

But this time, even though on a short loan

I for once exhibited some back bone.

I still ponder how I was able to stand my ground

I still wonder where inside of me I found

The strength and the courage to say NO

To assert myself for once, even though

I was so scared of her, and of what laid ahead

In some ways it was reckless, but I knew I had

To have something for me, something that was mine

Some reason to live, not just cigarettes and wine.


And somehow those little two lines on that test

For a little while,  put all those fears to rest

And for once in my life I had certainty

That this was the only decision for me.

And never, not even at my lowest, I regretted that choice

My children were the reason I first found my voice

My authentic voice that I had rarely heard before

And that would  reverberate deep inside my core.

9. Mothering

But now without (almost no)  further delay

Let us head to the main event (kind of) straightaway.

So I had the kids, I was a busy bee

But before that I made partner, yes, you can congratulate me.

We had opened a new location, across the street

From where I lived, called the Chelsea East.

It was housed in a former funeral parlor and soon

There was a lot of life in that embalming room.

Heidi was good, so good in sniffing out

A greedy landlord who was notabout

To say no to a considerate amount of cash

Delivered every month, by yours truly,  in a neat stash.

So he looked the other way and we signed the lease

Under some pretense, and we did as we please.

But what was different this time, my name was on it so

that would make me a partner, no?

Did I realize back then that once I would sign

it was my neck  on that dotted line?

That I was carrying half of the risk  with this fools crown

It isstill hard t face up to the fact, I was such a clown

I was actually proud that she had faith in me

But what really took the cake was that she

Withheld my fair share of the proceeds

Now I opened that can of worms that leads

to this smell of rancor, still lingering to this day

Not matter how hard I try, it will not go away.

With everything else I was a willing participant

She did not have to force me, not at all, I went

Along with all her schemes, gave her my full support

But somehow in this case I felt I was sort

Of cheated, I was partner, it did not feel right

And eventually, hard to believe, I did pick a fight.

In the beginning she gave me 20 percent

Then, and after all that waiting, I went

Directly to her, and asked her for my full share,

50, hello, it was nothing but fair.

And that conversation is engraved in my mind

She said she could not afford it, again, it was kind

Of bad timing, she first had to feather her own nest

Which was a townhouse in Harlem, in the best

Area, near Strivers Row, and then, my time would come

Only after all the renovations were done.

She was older and therefore her security came first

And I had to be patient for now and handle my thirst

35 Percent was the maximum with which she could part

But the time would come, and hand on her heart

she would make up for it and I would get the bigger chunk

But, before that happened, our partnership had sunk.

But it all was only a bunch of lies to begin with

Back then there wasn’t a term for this

But now it is called FUTURE FAKING

It’s an effective method in making

Somebody wait and wait

Until, yes, again, it is too late.










Who we are:

The Chelsea Center offers a unique hostel experience in New York. We provide a relaxed and open atmosphere for people to meet and share their experiences. Because our hostels are small, it is easy to get to know the other guests - around the breakfast table or when you come home in the evening and relax with a cup of tea in the common-room.

Our shared rooms are spacious and quiet. Each bed has it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s own little night lamp so that you can read or write at night without disturbing the others. We don\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t have a curfew and think you should enjoy what New York has to offer as long as you want to - but once you get back home to the hostel we expect that you are considerate. A good night\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s sleep is what you pay for and we do everything necessary to make sure that is what you get!


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Chelsea Center Eastside 83 Essex Street, New York, NY 10002