Book Yourself Into The Library Hotel

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By Stephen J. Gertz

Originally appeared in Book Patrol: A Haven for Book Culture, a Seattle Post-Intelligencer Reader Blog.

Bibliophiles visiting New York City and in need of a space to check into should check out The Library Hotel, a beautiful luxury boutique hostelry conveniently located on Madison Avenue and 41st Street, also known as Library Way, just steps away from the majestic New York Public Library.

Each floor has six rooms and is laid out according to the ten categories of the Dewey Decimal System: Social Sciences, Literature, Languages, History, Math & Science, General Knowledge, Technology, Philosophy, the Arts, and Religion. Each of the sixty exquisitely appointed rooms have been individually adorned with a collection of art and books relevant to one distinctive topic within the category of the floor it belongs to.

The third floor, for instance, is classified as Social Sciences with room 300,006 devoted to the Law; 300.005 devoted to Money; 300.004 World Culture; 300.003 Economics 300.002 Political Science; and room 300.001 for Education, each room containing a small library of books concerning the room's theme-subject. So, if you really want a bad night's sleep, spend your off-hours in Manhattan in the Library Hotel's room 300.002, Economics.

Need to recover after a night of tossing and turning in parallel play with the markets? No problem. Ask to be moved to the twelfth floor, Religion, where a higher power will tuck you in and say Amen after you've read about Ancient Religion (Mythology) in room 1200.006; or Native American creeds in room 1200.005; Germanic Religion in room 1200.004; New Age, 1200.003; African Religion, 1200.002; and Eastern Religion in room 1200.001.

Judeo-Christianity is, presumably, shoe-horned into Ancient Religion (Mythology), though I suspect certain members of the body politic would consider that an insult and loudly demonstrate their protest at the hotel's entrance: where oh where can I find a Bible in this joint that isn't on the same shelf as the Khorda Avesta, the book of common prayer in Zoroastrianism, or Egyptian Book of the Dead?

The other floors are (going up!):

Fourth Floor: Language

  • 400.006 Ancient Language
  • 400.005 Middle Eastern Language
  • 400.004 Asian Language
  • 400.003 Germanic Language
  • 400.002 Romance Language
  • 400.001 Slavic Language

Fifth Floor: Math and Science

  • 500.006 Astronomy
  • 500.005 Dinosaurs
  • 500.004 Botany
  • 500.003 Zoology
  • 500.002 Geology
  • 500.001 Mathematics

Sixth Floor: Technology

  • 600.006 Health & Beauty
  • 600.005 Computers
  • 600.004 Medicine
  • 600.003 Management
  • 600.002 Manufacturing
  • 600.001 Advertising

Seventh Floor: The Arts

  • 700.006 Fashion Design
  • 700.005 Music
  • 700.004 Photography
  • 700.003 Performing Arts
  • 700.002 Paintings
  • 700.001 Architecture

Eighth Floor: Literature

  • 800.006 Mystery
  • 800.005 Fairy Tales
  • 800.004 Dramatic Literature
  • 800.003 Poetry
  • 800.002 Classic Fiction
  • 800.001 Erotic Literature

Ninth Floor: History

  • 900.006 Biography
  • 900.005 Geography & Travel
  • 900.004 Asian History
  • 900.003 Oceanography
  • 900.002 Ancient History
  • 900.001 20th Century History

Tenth Floor: General Knowledge

  • 1000.006 New Media
  • 1000.005 Journalism
  • 1000.004 Museums
  • 1000.003 Encyclopedic Works
  • 1000.002 Almanacs
  • 1000.001 Libraries

Eleventh Floor: Philosophy

  • 1100.006 Love
  • 1100.005 Paranormal
  • 1100.004 Psychology
  • 1100.003 Philosophy
  • 1100.002 Ethics
  • 1100.001 Logic

(I'm anxious to experience a good paranormal night's sleep, myself. Throw in a little Shopenhauer and enjoy a side of suicidal depression with your breakfast sausage n' eggs).

Reading RoomIt's a regular Tower of Babel at the Library Hotel, with languages touted as spoken there including Slovak, Czech, Russian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Danish, French, German, Spanish, Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati and English. It pains me to report that Phuthi, the Nguni Bantu language spoken in southern Lesotho and areas in South Africa adjacent to the same border, is not amongst the hotel's tongues of choice. Take your clicking consonants elsewhere for a good night's sleep.

The hotel has a Book Lover's Deal offering bibliophiles 20% off room rates but it is unclear if and how one needs to offer proof of bibliophilia. Ink stains on fingertips? An optometrist's diagnosis of eye-strain? A bank statement as evidence that your money has been funneled into book stores?

The Library Hotel
299 Madison Ave (41st Street)
New York, NY 10017

Stephen J. Gertz is currently Executive Director of David Brass Rare Books and Vice-Chair of the Southern California chapter of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America.