THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ROOM IN NEW YORK CITY…
I was feeling nostalgic today for this room — the Rose reading room at the NY Public Library, on 42nd and Fifth Ave.
Remember how Virginia Woolf wrote that a woman who wanted to be a writer needed a "room of one's own"? Well, it took MANY years before I had the means to have such a thing (my own private writing room) in my own house. For all of my youth, I wrote in every quiet corner I could claim — in closets, in stairwells, in bus stations, in diners. But I never had my own room.
Until I moved to NYC, that is…broke as can be, living in a rather squalid East Village apartment (subletted from a junkie; the mattress was full of cigarette burns and the fridge contained nothing but syringes.) Still no room of my own…until I wandered into the NY Public Library one day and found this palace of silence, absolutely free, a soaring heaven of quietly studying souls sitting in rows at long wooden tables under small green lamps, working.
I wrote my first two books there, guys — in that majestic, muffled, quiet oasis. I don't know what I would've done without it.
If you ever get the chance, go visit this room. It's on the third floor, up a Cinderella-esque marble staircase. Just walk right in and take a breath — it's the holy of holies.