Thursday, February 4, 2010

10 Great Places to Read in NYC

Jill at Fizzy Thoughts is hosting a NY Challenge (woo hoo) to coincide with the lead up to BEA and BloggerCon. I keep promising no more challenges but how could I resist this one? I am a born and bred NY-er plus the requirement to read only one book set in or about NY before May 15, 2010 is totally do-able! Read all about the challenge over here.

Each month there will a mini-challenge. February's Mini-Challenge is to post a list of 10 things about NYC. Here is my list of where to read in the city - some of these locations are a little futher afield than the immediate vicinity of the convention center but I hope that attendees will explore a little while they are here - or use this info for another trip to the Big Apple!

1. Subway or Bus - with no car, most of my transport is via public transportation (or foot but I don't read while I walk) and I do quite a bit of my daily reading while I zip around the city on buses and subways. The mass transit system in Manhattan can seem overwhelming but it is an affordable way to get most place across the 5 boroughs and there is some great people-watching to boot. is a great resource to help navigate the city via public transport

2. Central Park - The Park is really a jewel in the city and a must-see if you come to NYC. All that wide open green space in the midst of the concrete jungle is a sight not tbe missed. CP is big and there are lots of places to read in there but one of my favs is Sheep Meadow - I have whiled away many a summer afternoon with book there soaking up the sun!

3. Border's Columbus Circle - Ok - Border's Bookstore is available in most cities but I like this location for a few reasons - its on an upper floor of the Time Warner Center overlooking Central Park (cool location - central to a lot of things in the city), there are comfy chairs scattered about and there is a cafe in there with gourmet snacks, sandwiches etc from the gourmet shop Dean and Deluca - yummy treats while you read - what more can one ask for?

4. Housing Works Bookstore Cafe - Housing Works is the largest community-based AIDS service organization in the United States and they provide lifesaving services, such as housing, medical and mental health care, meals, job training, drug treatment, HIV prevention education, and social support to more than 20,000 homeless and low-income New Yorkers living with HIV and AIDS. This cafe/ used book store is one of the ways they raise the money they need to do all this great work - and its a great used bookstore and place to hang while you read to boot!
5. Bryant Park - a Park with its own blog - wow! But that, of course, is not why I like Bryant Park as a great reading locale. It a small, manageable with seating scattered about and its location behind the Main Branch of the NY Public Library (see below)makes it an ideal place to sit with a book and a sunny afternoon.

6. New York Public Library - Main Branch - the main branch of the NYPL is a landmark building and certainly a sight in it's own right. There are reading rooms throughout the library where you can relax with a good book and just surround yourself with literature. There are even docent-led tours if you want to explore the history and architechture of the building.
7. Tea Lounge - this is a great little cafe/tea shop/lounge in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. They have a lovely tea/coffee bar where they serve organic coffees and also a real bar with wine, cocktails and beer, including the local Brooklyn Lager and salads, sandwiches and treats from the cafe. There are lots of comfy couches to sit and read or listen to the live music that is often there in the evening.

8. 'Snice - another great cafe (I see a theme developing here) that is totally open to letting you stay awhile - perfect for reader looking for a perch and something to eat and drink. This cafe's specialty is vegetarian eats.

9. Columbia University - this campus is an oasis of lush lawns amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. There are 25 libraries across campus and lots of places both indoors and out to nestle in with a good book.

10. Orchard House Cafe - this is really my neighborhood favorite. This coffee shop is about 3 blocks from my apartment and is a great place to sit and read and enjoy a really good cup of coffee and a lite bite. They actually have a few bookshelves scattered about where patrons leave books for others to read or pick-up. I have spent many an afternoon in there catching up with my latest book.

Hope you get to check out at least some of these places out when you are in the Big Apple!


  1. Great list! Unfortunately, I won't be in NY long enough to get much reading done.

  2. What a fun challenge! I, too, do the vast majority of my reading on the subway. When the weather is nice, the rest of my reading is done in Madison Square Park - I work two blocks up from the park. Best lunch hour ever: a good book and a burger from Shake Shack!

    Also last year after I got my coveted Catching Fire ARC at BEA, I sat in the then-new lounge chairs in Times Square to enjoy the first few chapters. It was my own mini-oasis of calm in the insanity of Times Square.

  3. ahh Shake Shack - that is a good one and coupled with a good book can see how that would be make for a good lunch hour!

  4. Fantastic list! I have to keep this one for my next visit to NY :)

  5. Now I know more about NYC than I did before - thanks! I might do something similar about great places to read in Sydney.

  6. What a great list! (I followed you over here from the link at Fizzy Thoughts).

    I've only been to NYC once but have always adored the city from afar and am totally envious of anyone who lives there, lol! I also have the subway on my list and Bryant Park. I had no idea there was a BLOG for it... thanks for the link!! I'm hoping to possibly explore Brooklyn this time so I may have to stop at that tea lounge.

  7. This is a great list! I haven't been to Orchard Park or Housing Works yet.

    The NY Challenge sounds good - am signing up now!

  8. Hey, great list! Bryant Park is one of my favs (I used to work near there) and Central Park is of course a must-see. I also like that you included Brooklyn--too many people forget about the boroughs!

    I'm also participating in the New York Challenge (and am a born-and-bred New Yorker too!), and if you'd like to see my list of NYC musts, it's here!

  9. What a public service you have provided! I am planning our spring break trip to NYC and we have a whole week this year, and I'm looking forward to trying out a few of these spots.

    I am falling in love with Bryant Park, having just discovered it on my last trip to NYC in Jan. Will bookmark this post and the BP blog.

  10. Oh, I do love a good list! I am going to remember this next time I go to New York.

  11. Thanks for this great post - I have sat and read in Bryant Park; the smaller setting is very comfortable to me.