Living in a Library–Well, Almost
What better place for a former librarian and his mate to spend a few days than the Library Hotel in New York City (libraryhotel.com). Located one and a half blocks from the New York City Library Main Branch, each of the 10 guestroom-floors is devoted to a different category of the Dewey Decimal System. We were on floor 8– Literature– and our room was “Dramatic Literature,” so our shelves were filled with books about theater.
Breakfast and early evening wine/cheese buffets are served in The Reading Room, a lovely space to begin the day and to return to after exploring Manhattan. It is packed with a variety of books from all genres. One evening, over Prosecco and cheese, I dipped into a book called Italian Pride: 101 Reasons to be Proud You’re Italian (by Federico and Stephen Moramarco). In one of the book’s sections on proverbs, I discovered one my father often said: “Chi va piano va sano e va lontano”–“One who goes slowly goes healthily and far.” Ah yes…Italian wisdom.
To walk to the Main Library, one just scoots out the door and up 41st Street along what is called Library Way. Along the Way are bronze plaques embedded in the sidewalk, 96 of them, each with a quote about reading or poetry or novels. One of my favorites…
And then, of course, there’s the Library with its two welcoming lions, Fortitude and Patience, all decked out with green wreaths and red bows around their necks, and Bryant Park just behind it, which this time of year is filled with sparkling trees and a holiday market with tiny boutiques selling everything from raclette to churros, to ornaments, warm scarves, woven African baskets, olive wood trays, jewelry, dolls and toys. There’s also an ice skating rink with its smooth-sailing experts weaving in and out of slower skaters, and the scared newbies holding on to the side railings.
In the opposite direction, again just one and a half blocks away, is Grand Central Station with its bustle and shops and a different language being spoken by every other person.
The Library Hotel is a hub from which one can fan out and in just a few steps find food, shops, transportation, fun and inspiration. It is a sweet oasis to return to and to know that a caring person has turned down the bedspread and left gold foil-covered chocolates on the pillows, each one with a saying about libraries or books.