Napping in New York
December 26, 2008 8:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm arriving in New York at 5:30 AM, with nowhere to sleep until that night. Is taking a nap in a chair at Penn Station reasonable and unlikely to get me robbed/shivved? Is there a library or similar that you'd recommend instead?
posted by Simon! to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (29 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
It is likely to get you harassed by the police if not pickpocketed. Tough it out, this is what coffee is for and NYC has plenty of that available.
posted by ch1x0r at 8:33 PM on December 26, 2008


you want to sleep from what hour to what hour? just in the morning?
If you want to sleep at 5:30am I dont think there are any libraries open. You best bet is probably somewhere in the station or maybe at grand central station where there is a huge dining concourse and plenty of large benches and tables to take a quick snooze at.
If you choose your spot where there are lots of other people and its fairly well lighted I dont think anyone would try to rob you (ie, 'grab and run' scenario) but of course bring one of those long "cable" travel locks and lock your stuff to your table or to your leg.
While all that is probably safe, I dont think I'd recommend it, if you can just drink a lot of coffees and wait until you get your place at night, that would probably be best.

If you want to sleep during the day, you could probably catch some zees in the main reading room at the new york public library (which is also near grand central).
posted by jak68 at 8:35 PM on December 26, 2008


I hate to be Debbie Downer, but sleeping isn't allowed in NYPL libraries. Librarians will ask you to wake up or leave. Penn Station is a much better bet, in the previously-mentioned dining areas, or maybe in the always-busy waiting room seats near the Amtrak counter.
posted by anonnymoose at 8:36 PM on December 26, 2008


P.S. As also previously-mentioned, just staying awake is a much better bet. There are plenty of great places to wait the time out and sip coffee.
posted by anonnymoose at 8:41 PM on December 26, 2008


There is actually a place that exists where you can go and take a nap. Unfortunately, it doesn't open till 10am during the week (you don't specify what day you're arriving). Here is the link to Yelo on 57th Street.

They're not that crazy expensive, and at least you'd know that you'd be comfortable and your stuff wouldn't grow legs. It also seems like it would be a pretty cool place to hang out.

For whatever it's worth, one of Mr. dancinglamb's co-worker's has gone to this place when he's been desperate for sleep and found it to be really quite nice.

Good luck and stay safe!
posted by dancinglamb at 8:47 PM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


If I were in your shoes, I'd walk across 7th avenue and check my luggage in the Pennsylvania Hotel. You can then probably find a chair either in there or back over in Penn Station to crash in.

Another alternative that's a sure bet is the Hilton at 54th and 6th. You can check your luggage and since its a major convention / business hotel, the whole first floor has a ton of lounge / couch areas that are big and nice and dark. I've had to wait there for various work type stuff and nobody ever gives you a hard time.
posted by allkindsoftime at 9:01 PM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is taking a nap in a chair at Penn Station reasonable

No. There are too many homeless around so they make it as uncomfortable as possible to sleep there, and then the police make it even more uncomfortable. If you are sleeping in the station without a ticket you will be roused out. They are usually quite polite, but you will have to leave and it is kind of embarrassing to be kicked out of a station by the police.
posted by caddis at 9:09 PM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Maybe you don't need to actually fall asleep, but just rest in a chair for a couple of hours? Grab a beverage and ride the A or C train to Brooklyn and back. Plenty of people watching while the train is underground. Might be awkward with more than one bag of luggage, though.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:24 PM on December 26, 2008


Nap before you leave and sleep on the flight.
posted by rhizome at 9:32 PM on December 26, 2008


Stay awake until a cheap second-run movie theater opens?
posted by Jacqueline at 10:38 PM on December 26, 2008


You'd be better off spending a few extra dollars and sleeping for a few hours in the Pod Hotel on 51st. You can get a place for $159, and given how awful New York can be with nowhere to sleep, it is worth it.
posted by LGCNo6 at 11:17 PM on December 26, 2008


This forum says that that Schwartz Travel around Penn Station and Grand Central will check your bags all day for a few bucks. The Yelp reviews seem pretty good.

Perhaps you should check your bags, and go wander around? Like Jacqueline says, go to a movie theater -- the earliest ones open at 10am. The Russian Turkish Baths open at 8am to noon, depending on what day it is. There are a bunch of spas around K-town, where you might be able to hang out and sleep.
posted by suedehead at 11:36 PM on December 26, 2008


Another alternative that's a sure bet is the Hilton at 54th and 6th. You can check your luggage and since its a major convention / business hotel, the whole first floor has a ton of lounge / couch areas that are big and nice and dark.

I do this all the time in hotel lobbies or foyers. If you are decently dressed (no torn jeans, no sandals) dozing off upright in an armchair with a newspaper in your lap, NOBODY will question or disturb you.

Check your bags in at the concierge, do NOT offer any explanation for what you are doing. A simple "I'd like to leave my bags here for [insert duration]" will do. Tip them at least $5.

Then go find a plush, high-backed armchair. Don't sleep lying down -- that's pushing it.
posted by randomstriker at 11:46 PM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Someone above me suggested the pod hotel for $159. I'm pretty sure I got a last minute room at the Pennsylvania hotel for cheaper. So if you're looking to splurge, then I would say walk to the Pennsylvania (or other cheap hotels) and ask how much a room would cost.

As for Penn Station, there is a pretty nice sitting area that I think is for NJ Transit passengers. It's the area near the model train set. If you buy a ticket on the NJ Transit line, maybe the authorities won't bother you?

Either way, good luck!
posted by carpyful at 12:10 AM on December 27, 2008


Or you could head over to the empire state building and do the Metro Nap thing. At $14/20 mins it's a little spendy for my taste but still novel none the less.
posted by lannanh at 12:25 AM on December 27, 2008


Grab a beverage and ride the A or C train to Brooklyn and back. Plenty of people watching while the train is underground.

Please don't do this. It's a great way to get robbed. Unfortunately I don't have the photo handy of the wallet-sized hole that was cut in my friend's back pocket with a razor while he was having a little rest on the way out to New Lots.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 1:12 AM on December 27, 2008


On the upper level at Penn Station is an Amtrak lounge which is intended for the use of passengers, but the few times I've been there nobody has ever checked tickets or anything. It's fairly private with a voile curtain all around, and has chairs, not benches, so you'd have to sleep sitting up, but I think it's probably do-able.

If you have luggage with you, you should be ok if challenged and can explain your absence of a ticket by saying that you're meeting someone there who's picking up the tickets (they have those machines where you book online and then put the credit card used to make the booking in the machine at the station to print the ticket). Make sure you take a look at the departures board or timetables and know the time of a fictional departure later that day, for added plausibility.
posted by essexjan at 1:18 AM on December 27, 2008


Join couchsurfing.com and see if someone there would let you come over for the afternoon. If I lived in NY I would. hehe never had a nap request before ...
posted by mannequito at 4:24 AM on December 27, 2008


If you want to sleep during the day, you could probably catch some zees in the main reading room at the new york public library (which is also near grand central).
On behalf of all the people who use the main reading room of the New York Public Library for its intended purposes, I would like to take a minute to beg you to ignore this shitty, rude suggestion. A lot of people think of the main branch of the NYPL as a pretty building or a tourist site, but it's also a functioning library. In fact, there are a lot of books that are only available at that library and that cannot be read anywhere in the world except in the main reading room. I've spent a lot of time doing research for my dissertation in the main reading room, and almost all of the people sitting at those tables are actually working. Some of them, like me, are academic types. A lot of them are high school and college students doing homework. Some of them may just be people who are interested in something and want to read scholarly books about it. But they're all folks who are trying to accomplish something. Thoughtless tourists are just a fact of life when you're working in the NYPL, but sitting at a table and snoring is an unacceptable level of rudeness in my book.
posted by craichead at 6:32 AM on December 27, 2008 [2 favorites]


If you're staying at a hotel in the city, have you called them and explained your dilemma? They may be able to check your luggage and offer you a spot in their lobby or an unoccupied room with no problem. Also, I stayed at the Hilton on 54th and 6th and second Allkindsoftime's suggestion. There is a Starbuck's in the lobby too.
posted by suzeQ at 7:15 AM on December 27, 2008


The trick to sleeping in a public place is to wear sunglasses so people can't see your eyes.
posted by hermitosis at 8:20 AM on December 27, 2008


Second run theatres no longer exist in Manhattan, and every time I've used the lounge at Penn Station, I've had to show a ticket. If you're returning by train, you MIGHT be able to get in there by flashing that ticket at the attendant.
posted by brujita at 8:57 AM on December 27, 2008


Isn't there a little alcove by the LIRR in Penn Station where you could take a nap? Not a comfortable one, but couldn't you sit in one of those chairs? I don't think homeless people are in there. You might have to have a ticket. I haven't been there in a long time though...might have changed.
posted by sully75 at 9:08 AM on December 27, 2008


Grab a beverage and ride the A or C train to Brooklyn and back. Plenty of people watching while the train is underground.

Please don't do this. It's a great way to get robbed. Unfortunately I don't have the photo handy of the wallet-sized hole that was cut in my friend's back pocket with a razor while he was having a little rest on the way out to New Lots.


I'm pretty sure the comment was intended to mean grab a beverage and stay awake. It's hard to people watch if you're asleep.
posted by Airhen at 9:39 AM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


What you want is a college library. Try NYU's Bobst Library (SE corner of Washington Square Park) or Butler Library at Columbia University (the building that faces the grand staircase leading up to Low Library).

The secret passphrase for entering college libraries is, "I'm here to do some research in government documents." Libraries that are government document repositories are required to make them available to the general public.

Wander around a little and find the place where exhausted students take naps. Join them!
posted by gum at 9:55 AM on December 27, 2008 [4 favorites]


Okay, I don't know why that comment was deleted, but if you wind up taking a nap on the train, sitting or standing, or riding around aimlessly for a few hours, do not leave your wallet in your back pocket. I have no idea why that broke the guidelines.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:41 AM on December 27, 2008


Thats funny, gum, you suggested sleeping in a library, and when I suggested the same thing in passing, my response got a "shitty, rude" response from craichead, while yours gets 2 favorites. Lol!

For me the take-away message of that, is that different people follow different strategies while in NYC, and have very strong feelings about their particular strategies, to the point of violence.
posted by jak68 at 6:22 PM on December 27, 2008


metronaps
posted by fumbducker at 6:44 PM on December 27, 2008


What you want is a college library. Try NYU's Bobst Library (SE corner of Washington Square Park). . . . The secret passphrase for entering college libraries is, "I'm here to do some research in government documents." Libraries that are government document repositories are required to make them available to the general public.

Bobst requires you to swipe a student ID card to get in, and security takes itself seriously. I do know of a "secret passphrase," but that isn't it, and the archive it references is closed from Dec. 27–30. In fact, although parts of Bobst are usually open 24/7, no part of the library is available until 7 am during winter break.

Simon!, I would go to Grand Central. The main concourse opens at 5:30, so I would kill time there until the lower/dining concourse opens at 7. Then buy a coffee and a paper, and take them to a corner table in the middle of the room. If you have luggage, wedge a bag between your legs or put one on your lap. This won't allow for deep sleep, but you can definitely doze off over the crossword.

Of course, success is more likely if you look clean, tidy, and just a little overworked, rather than unkempt, itinerant, or cracked-out.
posted by booksandlibretti at 8:29 PM on December 27, 2008


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