musings about food, travel, creativity and life

Living in a Library–Well, Almost

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 (  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.

16 thoughts on “Living in a Library–Well, Almost”

  • What a lovely idea for a hotel, and perfect for a librarian and his mate! It’s a perfect time to be in NYC, and it sounds like you are embracing all the holiday sights and sounds.
    Wishing you both the merriest of Christmases, wherever you find yourselves this year.
    Sending love and cheer to you both!.

  • I love the description of this tiny slice of the wondrous city of New York. All the small amenities of the hotel make it so inviting.

  • When I saw this week’s topic, I couldn’t wait to open the post! We’ve enjoyed hearing you talk to us about the library hotel. But reading your descriptions of this creative hotel was simply “delicious!”

    • So happy you enjoyed it! As you can imagine, I especially like any place that has a cappuccino maker in the Reading Room available all day long!
      That’s almost as good as all the books ready for perusal…spoken like a true Italian, no?

  • My goodness, this sounds like an amazing part of NYC. I’ve been 3 times and never knew about the hotel although I did pass by the library. Next time I’ll go in!! Your descriptions of the library, hotel, R Center, and Grand Central Station at this time of year are captivating. You put me there in my mind! Will you be there for Christmas. Where are you headed for New Years? What an amazing nomadic life you two are living. Excellante!!

    • Ah,yes…the nomadic life, a life you know and love, too…and at the same time, what a lovely gift home is, however
      we define it and and wherever it might be. I so appreciate a right balance between the going and the coming.
      Wherever you may be for Christmas, may it be wonderful!

  • Reading this on Christmas Eve day was perfect. I know you’re no longer at the Library Hotel, but such a warmth and winter coziness you portray. I just love your blogs, Lynn. They are not only interesting and well-written, they are beautifully illustrated with photos. We look forward to seeing you again in your “home” in Madison. In the meantime, keep wondering as you wander. Much love to you and John. And a very merry Christmas! Sing it now…

    • Thanks, Joan! I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. And I love your suggestion to “Keep wondering as you wander.” A nice
      proverb, if you will.

  • I believe you’ve struck a clear resounding bell with this entry, dear Lynn. I—we—would love to stay at the Library Hotel. Did you happen to hear Susan Orleans discussing her new historical novel, The Library Book, on NPR? It’s about the burning of the Central Library in the late 1800’s. It’s on my list.
    Blessings and Joy to you and John in 2019,

    • I think you would like the Library Hotel. And as for Susan Orleans’ new book…guess what I gave John for Christmas?! Will keep you posted what he thinks!
      And a lovely fulfilling 2019 to you two!

  • What a wonderful description of the Library Hotel! Perfect indeed for the librarian and his prose loving wife. And the quote by Emily Dickinson, the poetress, who can say more in a few lines of poetry than most say in many pages of writing. I am reading a historical novel now about Emily Dickinson called “Miss Emily” by Nuala O’Connor. Told in Emily’s voice, it is a rich characterization as the relationship between Miss Emily and her new Irish maid unfolds .

    I enjoyed your discovery of a book on Italian pride. It is amazing how memories of our families come on quiet wings and then leave in an explosion of a dear memory. Looking forward as always to your next adventure. Keep bringing “joy to the table.” B

    • Thanks for checking in and for your note about what sounds like a good book about Emily Dickinson. And, yes, you know how much I love
      my Italian heritage–and the food that goes with it! We have eaten MUCH Italian food, all good and in vibrant restaurants, on this foray. I
      figure it’s all good research for this blog adventure…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *