Living in New York City means it's hard to get away from the hustle and bustle. But it's not impossible. We've picked the five best places to curl up with a book. So grab a cup of coffee and a seat on the couch because it's time to finally crack open that book you've been meaning to read. By Carly Petrone.
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Grab a spot on the couch at Grounded in the West Village and make yourself comfortable because you're going to want to stay a while. This cozy café is a great alternative to your living room with a skylight above, oversized chairs, and bookshelves in the back. Make sure to grab a cup of organic coffee before opening up your book. Vegetarians will love the breakfast and lunch menu -- it's filled with fresh, healthy options like portobello mushroom sandwich on ciabatta bread with arugula, gorgonzola and balsamic or the hummus sandwich with tomato, alfalfa, sprouts, cucumber, and romaine lettuce on multigrain bread.
If you want to buy a book while helping a good cause, make your way over to Housing Works Bookstore. The organization is entirely run by volunteers and all proceeds go toward fighting HIV/AIDS. The two-story bookstore and café is the perfect Soho spot to grab a cup of coffee and read up on your favorite topic. With baked goods from nearby Balthazar, a decent stock of records, and great prices, this place makes it hard to walk away without a bag full of things. Store is open from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
If you want to experience what it would be like to read in a drawing room or an old English club, check out the Library Bar inside the Hudson Hotel. Sit by the enormous fireplace and pick a book from their extensive collection – ranging from film & theater to travel and politics. If you need to take a break, play a round of billiards on the antique table or grab a cocktail from the bar. Sit back in one of the wing chairs and people watch before diving back into the pages. Bar is open daily from 5 p.m. – 1 a.m.
Where can you order a beer cheese plate to go with your favorite book? Union Hall in Brooklyn. This 5,000 square foot bar in the heart of Park Slope offers cozy fireplaces and a stately library for you and your literary friends. When the weather warms up, feel free to stake out your spot at the outdoor garden. Need a break? Check out the two indoor bocce ball courts or stick around to hear a live band or comedy show happening downstairs. Doors open on weekdays from 4 p.m. – 4 a.m., weekends from 1 p.m. – 4 a.m.
If you can handle the hustle and bustle going on around you, nothing compares to cracking open a book inside Grand Central Terminal. It might be hard not to people watch while sitting inside this historic building, but you'll certainly get your "New York moment" reading underneath Paul Cesar Helleu's beautiful zodiac mural in the main concourse. Grab a cup of joe or a Magnolia cupcake (or choose from one of the 35 other dining options) and start your adventure. Whether you're an early bird or a night owl, you can get some reading done since the terminal is open from 5:30 a.m. – 2 a.m.
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