This blog post was updated on April 7, 2022.

NYC is for lovers… book lovers that is! This bustling metropolis is, was, and perhaps forever will be the home of many literary maestros and masterpieces. With the sheer number of authors, poets, and story backdrops New York City has influenced and inspired, it’s no secret why this city is THE destination for literature junkies of all kinds. Whether you’re looking for a wordsmith-driven pub crawl or you want to take a stroll through Central Park and soak in the statues of famed literati, these spots throughout the Big Apple are sure to satisfy your inner bibliotaph.

Blue Bar – The Algonquin Hotel


Have you ever heard of The New Yorker magazine? (Insert eye roll and “duh” here.) Well, it was in this 115-year-old, boutique hotel where the famous zine gained the initial support and popularity that eventually led it to become a household name for New York City residents today. From 1919 to 1929, renowned poet Dorothy Parker held her famous Round Tables (named after the court of King Arthur) where regulars such as playwright George S. Kaufman, novelist Edna Ferber, writer Alexander Woolcott, and many other journalists, authors, publicists, and actors would gather to exchange ideas and witty banter over lunch. Some other familiar (and frequent) faces at the Algonquin were Sinclair Lewis, William Faulkner, Derek Walcott, Maya Angelou, Erica Jong, Gertrude Stein, Helen Hayes, Simone de Beauvoir, Scott F. Fitzgerald, and Ernest Hemingway.

The Plaza Hotel


This posh and ritzy establishment has F. Scott Fitzgerald written all over it. The Plaza Hotel isn’t just the spot where Fitzgerald himself, along with his free-spirited wife, Zelda, frolicked through the fountain in the front. It’s also a frequent setting within Fitzgerald’s most famous novel The Great Gatsby. It’s here where the book’s protagonist, rags-to-riches Jay Gatsby spent much of his time trying to confirm his status and be a part of the 1920s most affluent and influential social circle. And, it’s here where Tom Buchanan confronted Gatsby about his feelings for Daisy.

Edgar Allan Poe Cottage

Tucked away in the Bronx, is a small wooden farmhouse where acclaimed poet Edgar Allan Poe spent the last three years of his life (1846-1849). Built in 1812, it’s now known as Poe Cottage; it offered the poet a rustic setting that led to some of his most esteemed works. It was here that Poe penned The Cask of Amontillado, The Bells, and Annabel Lee.

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Minetta Tavern

Image via Flickr CC – Allison Meier

Now a Michelin Star restaurant, another one of Hemingway’s favorite watering holes was the Minetta Tavern. Located in Greenwich Village, this place was quite the hotspot for many famous writers and poets and opened its doors in 1937. The restaurant received its namesake from the paved-over and once flourishing Minetta Brook, which ran from Union Square to the Hudson River. If that doesn’t make you want to book cheap flights in April to NYC for World Book Lover Day, maybe knowing that Ezra Pound, Eugene O’Neill, E.E. Cummings, Dylan Thomas, and Joe Gould are just a few of the perennial patrons of this quaint tavern on a weekly basis will convince you! 

White Horse Tavern

 

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Famed poet Dylan Thomas spent much of the last 18 months of his life at this Greenwich Village establishment. Legend has it that Thomas literally drank himself to death here, as just a few days before his passing he left this place with roughly 18 whiskeys in his system! The White Horse Tavern was also the birthplace of The Village Voice, an American news and culture paper, and was a beloved meeting place for other famous authors such as Kimmy Baldwin, Jack Kerouac, Hunter S. Thompson, and Edith Wharton.

Central Park

A slightly different scene from the mini pub crawl you’ve just encountered, but if you’re looking for a literary fix while also catching a breeze and serene views, Central Park is your go-to spot. There are two particular places on the premises that have immense literary significance.

The Carousel

[Above image “Central Park Carousel” by slgckgc via Flickr – licensed under CC by 2.0]

In J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye, there’s only one place where the novel’s protagonist, Holden, declares himself to be truly happy. That place is this carousel. Holden takes his sister Phoebe here at the end of the book.

Literary Walk

Sir Walter Scott, William Shakespeare, Fitz-Greene Halleck… sound familiar? Walk down Central Park’s most notable horticulture feature, and breathe in some of the freshest air the city has to offer as you walk past one of the largest and last remaining stands of American Elm trees in North America… all while gazing at statues of renowned literati.

Hey, bookworm! Know of a place we can add to the Big Apple’s literary guide? Let us know about it in the comments below!

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About The Author

In a past life, Tasmiah was either a Bollywood actress, renowned ethnographer or master chef; no questions asked. In this one, she is a shower-singing, croissant enthusiast, who also writes content for Fareportal, in that order.