Hi readers! I just arrived back from a wonderful long weekend in New York City. I had the opportunity to visit my sister over spring break and despite the chilly weather in Manhattan I had a wonderful time. I had one day to myself in the city while my sister worked and I spent it doing some amazingly bookish things. Here are my recommendations for how to spend a book-filled day in New York City!
Start your day in the East Village by grabbing some coffee at The Bean (9th St and 1st Ave.) Okay, not strictly book related, but their coffee is fantastic and the atmosphere is really great. And they’re dog friendly, and what better way to get your day started than by petting a dog? After getting yourself a to go cup of Joe, head up a few blocks to The Strand Bookstore (12th St. and Broadway.) Y’all I spend two hours there and could have spent twice as long. They have over 18 miles of books!!! And most of them are priced at below market price. It took all of my self control to only buy three books while I was there. Even if you don’t plan to purchase anything it’s still worth it to go and look around. It’s so incredibly impressive and their displays are so aesthetically pleasing! Not to mention, they have a rare book floor which is completely open to the public. Your last stops in the East Village should be Mamoun’s Falafel (22 St. Mark’s Place) for lunch (only $3.50 for a super filling lunch!) and then Big Gay Ice Cream (7th St. near Tompkins Square Park) for a decadent cone or sundae. I promise you, they’re both worth any line you have to stand it.
For your afternoon entertainment, hop on the subway or grab a cab and head up to Midtown. Obviously New York has some of the best museums in the world, but for a bookish day, your main stop should be The Morgan Library and Museum (36th St. and Madison Ave.) Right now they have an amazing exhibition on Warhol and his involvement in illustrating books (I’m not a huge fan of Warhol and I still really enjoyed it) and the main attraction of JP Morgan’s incredible library is also there. I had serious library envy in there. Three levels of books, all beautifully bound! Not to mention Morgan’s collection of rare books, including first edition Jane Austen novels, Siegfried Sassoon’s journal, and no less than three Gutenberg Bibles. AMAZING. After the Morgan Library, make a quick trip to the New York Public Library (40th St. and 5th Ave.) The library has three levels and all are equally stunning. There are some great exhibits on the library’s history, and right now they have a great exhibit on women illustrators and engravers. Most of the actual books have been removed however, which begs the slightly philosophical question, is it still a library without any books?
As for your nightly entertainment, I of course have to recommend Broadway. I personally saw An American in Paris on my trip (which is amazing, definitely recommend!) but there are some more bookish shows on now. Something Rotten is about Shakespeare (I’m planning on seeing that one this summer on my next trip to NYC) and there are always the options of Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera, and Wicked, which are all based on books. After your show, definitely finish the night with dinner and drinks at The Shakespeare (off 39th St.) The restaurant is upstairs and a bar that serves a full menu downstairs. We sat downstairs and had some phenomenal food and cocktails. The mac and cheese is very good and the ricotta toast is out of this world. So good!
These are my recommendations for a fully bookish day in New York City! Have your own suggestions? Leave them in the comments below!