If I could create the living room, dining room or den of my dreams, it would pretty much look like this - but with fewer tables.
But since that's not happening anytime soon, having this spot nearby is a pretty good substitute.
This is my favorite dining area of The Writing Room, which just happens to be two blocks from our apartment. You may not have heard of this restaurant - which opened in Fall 2013 - but you might know of the former occupant of the space, Elaine's.
Weirdly, I knew about Elaine's - even when growing up in Missouri. Remember this lyric to the Billy Joel song "Big Shot"?
"They were all impressed with your Halston dress, and the people that you knew at Elaine's."
Since I was obsessed with New York from a very young age, that lyric always stuck in my head.
I am also a huge fan of Woody Allen movies - and the opening scenes of one of my favorites, '"Manhattan," were shot at Elaine's.
Although well past its heyday as a hangout for writers and celebrities, Elaine's was still open when I moved to NYC.
By the time Scott and I moved to the Upper East Side in 2012, it had closed (the restaurant did not survive after Elaine's death in 2010). The Writing Room opened in the space a year later, and quickly became a go-to place for date nights and to take friends from out of town.
From the name to the décor and menu, the new owners paid homage to the literary history of the space. There are several dining rooms - including a gorgeous zinc bar - but my absolute favorite is booked-lined Study.
Oh - and the food is amazing. I never went to Elaine's, but always heard that people didn't go there for the food. From the short rib cannelloni to the lamb shank with grits, The Writing Room's version of upscale comfort food has never disappointed.
Last night, my friend Kay was in town, and ventured uptown to visit over dinner. The onion soup - with a savory crouton and thick, golden layer of gruyere - was perfect for a cold February night, as was the crispy skin salmon with dill sauce and fingerling potatoes. And if you're not afraid of carbs, you'll face a tough choice from the assortment of olive, cheese and rosemary breads they bring around to your table.
If you go, I recommend requesting a table in the Study if it is available. You can even browse the books - and crack one open if you wish.