By Henry Kane
I visited Nap York for the first time on the weekend of the Del Close Marathon, our annual 72-hour improv festival -- a.k.a., the perfect excuse for a midday nap. Located midway between Port Authority and Penn Station, Nap York is a sleekly furnished midtown oasis filled with "sleep pods" for anyone with long or odd hours, exhausting commutes, or timezone-hopping travel schedules (read: night-owl comedians and executives alike).
Just step inside Nap York and you'll see the appeal. The quiet facilities offer much-needed respite from the sirens and jackhammers of midtown; the predominantly pitch-black furnishings are easy on the eyes; plants are tucked into every nook and cranny imaginable, promoting a subtle yet pervasive calm; and the downstairs self-serve cafe has coffee and snacks to get you refueled after your downtime.
Most importantly, the sleep pods themselves are a dream. Comfortable mattresses, perfect lighting, and the soft hum of white noise make relaxation and sleep effortless. Guests are asked to keep their voices low when possible, and silence is a must in all sleeping areas. In addition to standard services, you can call ahead and add extra items to your stay, like a drink, linen sheets, or a $5 upgrade to a first-class pod. There's an impressive degree of customizability on display at Nap York.
So, cut to me, a 21 year UCB intern out on a sunny, 96-degree DCM afternoon. As I entered Nap York from bustling 7th avenue, I was immediately struck by its soft, relaxing atmosphere. The staff behind the reception desk were exceptionally friendly and helpful; they set me up with a room in minutes, no reservation or advance notice required. (Although Nap York can fill up during peak hours on weekday afternoons, so reserving a pod ahead of time isn't a bad idea.)
The upper floors, including the nap space proper, are suffused with white noise and dim, atmospheric lighting. Lockers are provided, for your shoes and other bulky belongings, on a floor separate from the sleep pods. When I finally clambered into my pod, I was immediately struck by how pretty the ceiling of glowing LED imitation stars was. These are easily shut off, as is the reading light that accompanies the bed. And to put the last of a wary napper's concerns at ease, an outlet and USB charging cables adorn a small shelf near the mattress.
I was naturally concerned for a moment about sleeping on a public mattress, but the feel of it quickly put those concerns to rest. The eco-friendly mattress is initially firmer than your average twin bed -- this made it easy for me to sit up or lay on my side without crushing my back. Simply put, it's a great place to take a nap -- but it's also an ideal place for some relaxing isolation. Case in point, I noticed an older gentleman enter a nap pod with a cup of coffee and a light novel.
All told, my Nap York experience was one of surprising serenity. (I actually napped for almost an hour). Outside of the napping experience, Nap York offers yoga classes, a rooftop space with hammocks, and massage experience. I certainly appreciate the value in having a hidden oasis a few blocks from work!
Henry Kane is a UCB intern. He currently attends NYU.