New York City. NYC. Artist and creative minds of all kind have been gravitating towards it for years. Ayn Rand once wrote that she would give the greatest sunset in the world for just one sight of New York's skyline. She continued; Particularly when you can't see the details. Just the shapes.The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need?
Great question Ayn! That particular paragraph goes on questioning the need of pilgrimages, and being the number one advocate of any journey of self discovery and particularly the walking kind, I hope you forgive me for leaving it out. The point is, Ayn Rand loved New York, and she's far from alone. F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, Kurt Vonnegut, Patti Smith and J.D Salinger are only a fraction of all writers who have felt the need to make New York their home, and feature it in their work. It may not be considered the most literary city, such as the likes of Paris, Florence or Oxford, but there are more than enough places to give you a full book-themed day. So if you, like me, tend to spend hours browsing the isles of any bookstore you come across; Or if you buy more books than you can make space for in you home; and if you know exactly what you favorite book smells like, then continue reading, because this one is for you.
THE LIBRARY HOTEL
I don't think I've ever had a hotel on my bucket list, at least not until I came across a picture of The Library Hotel, nestled in between Grand central station and the New York Public Library in Midtown, Manhattan. This hotel has a collection of over 6000 books and each one of the ten floors is dedicated to one of the ten major literary categories; literature, social sciences, languages, general knowledge, technology, religion, philosophy, the arts, math and history. On each floor you'll find more detailed themed rooms such as the mystery or poetry room on the eighth floor or maybe the 20th century history room on the ninth floor. How incredible does that sound? I would never leave the room.
TIFFANY'S 5 TH AVENUE
I've said it before and I will say it again. No self respecting bibliophile can visit New York without (at least once) waking up at 5 am, slapping on some evening wear and grab a coffee and pretzel to go and head to the infamous Tiffany windows on 5th avenue. Truman Capote (and Audrey Hepburn) fans unite!
THE CENTRAL PARK CAROUSEL
I have read many books set in NY over the years but one of my all time favorites is The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger. I love it so much that for years I have been considering getting my favorite line It's history, It's poetry as my first tattoo. The book is said to perfectly capture New York in the 50's and m favorite site from the book is The Central Park Zoo Carousel, Where Holden feels a rare happiness watching his sister ride around. You find it near East 65th Street.
THE GREAT GATSBY AND THE PLAZA
The Plaza hotel is one of the most iconic buildings in Manhattan. Back in the 20's, this was the place to be and anyone who was anyone was a frequent guest, including F. Scott Fitzgerlald himself. Fitzgerald’s exploits were notorious and he regularly drew inspiration from his everyday life for his novels. The hotel’s presence on the New York social scene made it a natural setting for the most climactic scene in the novel (and in the film). If your budget isn't big enough for a stay at the hotel (it's expensive) why not visit champagne bar overlooking 5th Avenue or enjoy an Afternoon Tea or Cocktail Hour in the iconic Palm Court.
THE STRAND BOOKSHOP
I think many will agree that the East Village is an absolut must whilst in the city, and one of those reasons? The Strand bookstore of course! But you knew that, I think. This enormous independent bookstore, dating back to 1927, is the perfect place to get lost in during bad weather or when you need to relax after a big lunch at one of the quaint east village restaurants.
THE HOTEL CHELSEA
The Hotel Chelsea or the Chelsea hotel. Yes, another hotel but, oh, if the walls in this building could talk... The Chelsea was a creative salon where residents stayed for months and rent could be exchanged for works of art. It's where Pink floyd's Sid Vicious allegedly killed his girlfriend Nancy and where Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Thomas Wolfe, Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits (to mention a few) stayed and worked. And It's where the heart-wrenching, poetic memoir of rock icon Patti Smith, Just Kids, takes place.
THREE LIVES & COMPANY BOOKSTORE
Anyone who has been to Shakespeare and Company in Paris (you can read about it here) will like the Three Lives. Its described as an anachronism. As a shop around the corner and a touchstone in it's neighborhood. It's seems to hold within it a community of readers and authors who meet here to talk and discuss, to listen to readings, to celebrate and yes, also to buy the occasional book.
What are your favorite spots in the City?
Welcome to Wildflowers & Wayfarers. A travel blog sharing adventures abroad from all corners of the world.
BACKPACKING IN THAILAND AND THE 23 PICTURES EVERYONE RETURNS WITH
THINGS I LEARNED FROM MY GRANDMOTHER
THE ANDERSEN BOUTIQUE HOTEL