I visited NY in mid-August and was once again struck by the feeling that I never wanted to leave (despite the extreme humidity, which had me dripping in sweat to the point that it wrinkled one of my dresses). I never feel more alive, confident, or smiley than when I am strolling the streets of NY (or sitting on the subway or in one of the countless adorable cafes)... And this is only partly because of my propensity to have "Welcome to New York" by T-Swift on repeat while doing so. But seriously... I am already counting down the days until I graduate from UCLA and can make the move to the East Coast. The purpose of this last visit was to see my dear friend, Evan Butler, who selfishly left me in CA to attend NYU (not bitter at all). He gets the photo cred for the shot of me in Central Park below, and I have to say... it captures my personality perfectly: sweaty & awkward.
As a fellow English major and avid reader, Evan (and his lovely boyfriend, Liam) were thankfully down to help me cross off some of the places on my bookish must-see list. Here were my top four favorites:
1) STRAND BOOKSTORE
Strand Bookstore is definitely a "duh," must-see spot for book lovers. Said to house 18 miles of books in its Manhattan location (and they ain't lying), it is impossible to see all that they have to offer in one visit (or in two, from my experience). They not only have four floors of books of every genre you could possibly think of, but also an array of tote bags (my favorite), pencil pouches, pens, pins, mugs, socks, magnets, glasses... you name it, they have a bookish version of it. Prepare to walk out of there spending a lot more money than you intended when you walked in the door.
2) THE MYSTERIOUS BOOKSHOP
Evan had to work one of the days during my visit, so I had to learn to navigate the subway on my own in order to "sleuth around" The Mysterious Bookshop in the Tribeca area (big win for this anxious / directionally challenged individual). Crime fiction has always been one of my go-to genres, so this store was particularly thrilling to me, let me tell you! Picture this: floor-to-ceiling (all crime fiction) books, Beauty and the Beast-esque ladders, a door with crime scene tape and a sign that reads: "nobody shoplifts from a store that knows 3,214 ways to murder someone." I felt right at home.
3) THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY (THE ROSE READING ROOM)
The last time I visited NY, The Rose Reading Room at the NY Public Library was one of my most highly anticipated places to visit, and to my great chagrin it was closed when I tried to see it (twice). Needless to say, I was over the moon when it was open this time, and even more so when I discovered it was worth the wait. It is definitely the most gorgeous, intricately detailed (and marbled *drool*) library I've ever seen, and the Rose Reading Room is probably one of the prettiest rooms I've ever been in. (Seriously thinking about eloping there one day). I am lightweight jealous of the people who get to read / study / work in there on a regular basis.
4) BOOKS ARE MAGIC
For this NY trip, Books Are Magic of Brooklyn was my most highly anticipated place to visit, and I am happy to report that it exceeded all expectations. It is a magical bookstore, to say the least #badpun. It had such a great selection of books (many signed by authors who have visited the store), the decor is gorgeous, the booksellers are incredibly helpful and nice. And don't forget the mural outside, which makes for the best, and possibly the most awkward, photo ops.
There are SO many bookish sites I have yet to see in NY -- already making my must-see list for the next trip -- but for now: I highly recommend adding these places to the top of your must-see list! (Also visit Milk & Honey cafe in Brooklyn... it is the spot that made me fall in love with iced almond lattes #neverforget).