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The Library Hotel

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My base of operations in the middle of Manhattan.

A few weeks back, I was called to New York on business—called into Midtown Manhattan, specifically. I was happy to find myself booked in a place called the Library. What better place for a bibliophile to stay?

Upon arrival, the hotel's theme is very clear: the reception desk looks more like a library check-out desk. Books line one wall to the side, while behind the staff are tall columns of a library's card catalog. I was checked in easily and given directions to my room. The boring way to refer to it was “905” but all room number references after the key handoff followed the hotel's faux-Dewey-Decimal-System numbering. On the ninth floor, I located room “900.005,” which carried the theme of travel and geography.

Just as the entire interior of the hotel has a library theme, the interior of room 900.005 carried the room's unique theme. The room has a library of its own to match the theme, carrying such titles as In America, a Novel, Our Man in Belize, The Art of Travel, Down the Volga, and so on.

Investigation of the common spaces took me to the hotel bar and patio garden on the fourteenth floor. The bar was doing a brisk business, full but not unpleasantly overcrowded. Opting for a quieter way to wait for my party to assemble for dinner, I headed down to the second floor reception area, where an offering of wine and cheese is made daily as afternoon turns to evening. There I found a quiet spot at a small table, I had a glass of wine—a decent but otherwise unremarkable Cabernet Sauvignon—along with a variety of cheeses while I read a copy of the New York Times Magazine and waited. In so doing, I also learned that from here breakfast can be had each morning.

After dinner, I took advantage of the in-room wireless Internet service to check email and so on. Seeing that nothing in particular required attention, I paid no particular attention. I enjoyed the late evening hours in my small but comfortable room. After browsing some of the titles in the in-room library, I opted instead to spend some more time with the books that I myself brought.

The following morning I wandered down to the second floor for breakfast. Finding the room completely full, I took my breakfast—a hard-boiled egg, small cinnamon bagel, and coffee— up to the fourteenth floor's rooftop garden. Weather there was just about perfect—just a bit of a breeze, about 70 degrees Fahrenheit—as was the spot that I found in the middle of Manhattan. A significant amount of white noise comes up from the streets, a constant reminder that this garden sanctuary is high in th sky above a densely-populated industrial center, with millions of people going about their daily work.

After breakfast I headed downstairs, into the city, ready for the day even while looking forward to returning to the Library that evening. Having stayed in many hotels in New York and otherwise, I think that the Library might well be my favorite of all.

Created by cmcurtin
Last modified 2007-10-15 12:47 PM
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