When it rains, it pours, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun! Here are five great ways to pass the time during a rainy day. By Jessica Allen.
Housed in the Morgan family’s former abode, the Morgan Library & Museum is worth the trip if only to see how the other half once lived. The house itself has been converted into a three-story museum, generally featuring exhibits of or about literature, but the library remains much as it was in Pierpont Morgan’s nineteenth-century day. Designed to resemble an Italian Renaissance palazzo, the library comprises hundreds of square feet across a hallway and two rooms, a traditional sitting room and a library with four tiers of bookcases encircling the room, right up to the very high ceiling.
One of the last remaining movie houses devoted to repertory programming, and the only autonomous nonprofit cinema, Film Forum opened in 1970 with a bunch of folding chairs and an annual budget of less than $19,000. Today it shows a mix of new releases, festival favorites, foreign imports, classics, and “re-discoveries,” on three screens, and the seats are nice and plush.
Modeled on traditional lunch counters in Japan, Totto Ramen in Midtown serves some of the city’s best ramen. Alas, the secret’s out, which means the lines can be long. Get there early, write your name on the clipboard attached to the door, then take a walk (or two) around the block. When you’re seated, try the totto spicy ramen, which gets its kick from oodles of chili sauce, cutting through the pork, tolerating zero nonsense. Just like the waitstaff. Or the men working the blow torches and woks in the open kitchen, furiously focused on creating as much flavor as possible from meat, starch, miso paste, and vegetables.
When Benjamin Bass opened Strand Bookstore in 1927, the surrounding streets were known as “Book Row,” and boasted almost 50 bookstores. Fast-forward to 2014, and only the Strand remains, still owned by the family, still offering a tremendous selection of paperbacks and hardbacks, new releases and old favorites, dusty tomes and pristine first editions. Its slogan is “18 Miles of Books,” and there are some 2.5 million books for sale, as well as coffee mugs, magnets, toys, t-shirts, and tote bags. If you can’t find it at the Strand, it probably isn’t worth reading.
On a lovely street just east of Union Square sits one of the city’s most delightful tea emporiums, a temple of decadence and elegance, decorated such that an Edwardian matron wouldn’t be adverse to hanging up her bonnet and resting here for a spell. Spending the afternoon drinking tea and eating finger sandwiches requires a bit of planning ahead. (No matter: just check the weather forecast.) Guests are treated to five courses, including the aforementioned sandwiches, homemade scones with jam and clotted cream, and all kinds of tea. For the complete package, book a room at the Inn at Irving Place, the wee hotel that runs the tea salon.