November 13, 2017

1BR/1BA, $3500/month, heat and hot water included, no dogs, books OK


Love the Strand but don’t love going to the Strand? Have we got a condo for you!

You’ve finally made it: Your parents have retired as apartment guarantors, there’s no partition walling your studio into a one-bedroom (for you and two friends to share), you have an elevator and no longer need to schlep suitcases of laundry through snowy city streets — hell, you don’t even have to leave your floor to do laundry. You are in apartment paradise, in heaven, the promised land of concierges and twenty-four-hour fitness centers. You even have a goddamn garbage disposal. You are condo-living, and the Amenities. Are. Endless.

And speaking of those amenities, let’s add another: BOOKS.

As Michelle Lerner reported last week in the Washington Post, more and more apartment buildings are offering communal libraries as a luxury convenience. Here in New York, two rental buildings are providing literary comforts to their residents:

Kara Mann’s gorgeous 1000M building. One of those terraces connects to a library, we shit you not.

Lerner also writes about two other luxury spots with libraries: a very Chicago-centric library full of Chicago-relevant literature and views of downtown Chicago in Chicago’s 1000M, and an artist-curated exhibit space/library hybrid in Florida’s Oceana Bal Harbor, where artist Jorge Mendez Blake curates exhibits by other artists, assembles his own literary art installations, manages the library’s offerings of art, design, and literary books, and even, apparently, made the damn bookshelves.

This isn’t a new trend: Joanne Kaufman at the New York Times covered libraries as amenities back in 2012. Earlier this year, Tom Daykin at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wrote about the growing number of partnerships between public libraries and apartment buildings. And while these stories of Rich People Getting Free Books! are bittersweet to say the least, they are undoubtedly better stories than, say, this piece in the Real Deal about a Fifth Avenue apartment building literally demanding money from the neighboring New York Public Library, to the tune of half-a-mill, just to let the branch put up some damn scaffolding.

If these sort of stories interest you, and you can’t get enough of the sometimes-murky, often-fraught interaction between libraries and real estate, …man, have we got the book for you.



Susan Rella is the Director of Production at Melville House, and a former bookseller.