A few weeks ago, a dear friend of mine and I decided the sting of our March birthdays could be made more bearable by celebrating them in New York City. We were right.
We’d originally decided to go because one of our favorite playwrights, Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Arcadia, Shakespeare in Love, etc.), has a new play running on Broadway: Leopoldstadt. It was fantastic.
After that, we attended a comedy show, “Drunk Shakespeare,” in which five actors get one of their members drunk, then try to perform MacBeth (not terribly seriously, though), running up and down mere inches from the audience’s knees. Hilarity ensued, naturally.
Suddenly finding ourselves in a decidedly literary mood, we toured the Morgan Library and Museum, originally a breathtakingly enormous library for Pierpont Morgan’s personal collection of books. When Pierpont died, his son, millionaire J.P. Morgan, turned it into a stunningly gorgeous glimpse of heaven for book-lovers of the general public, like us. Just to make sure my heart was full, the Morgan Library offered up one of the incredibly rare Shakespeare’s First Folios and an even rarer Guttenberg Bible.
In keeping with our library theme, we next visited the New York Public Library to gape at its famous Rose Main Reading Room and its current exhibition of the library’s “Treasures,” which included yet another Guttenberg Bible and one of Shakespeare’s First Folios, and even Charles Dickens’ writing desk. Even the sidewalk outside the Library (Library Way) was inspiring, lined with brass plates featuring quotes from beloved authors and their books.
One afternoon, we strolled through acres and acres of Central Park, seeing the John Lennon memorial, lunching at Tavern on the Green, and discovering the Shakespeare Garden, where flowers and plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays mimic a tranquil English cottage garden.
Another afternoon found us standing in awe before the Ground Zero 9/11 memorial.
We finished every night with a walk through raucous Times Square, a delicious dinner, and a nightcap at one of the million pubs that dot the Theatre District, where we recapped the places we’d seen that day and the many movies and shows we’d seen them in.
Finally, we nearly made ourselves late for our planes when we lost track of time in the magnificent Metropolitan Museum of Art (the MET).
The lure of New York City is unmistakable. For writers and readers like us, the sense of literary history is downright palpable. As we launched ourselves into a new year, my friend and I agreed that our NYC adventure was a very fine way to celebrate.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go make a Manhattan and crack open a new book.
What a great trip. You missed staying in the Library Hotel that is organized by the Dewey system with each floor a different category.
Each of the ten guestroom floors of Library Hotel is dedicated to one of the ten major categories of the Dewey Decimal Classification® including: Social Sciences. Literature. Languages.
Kelley Lindberg says
Well, now I know where I’ll be staying the next time I go to NYC!!! Thanks!