Day 1 – The Algonquin
59 W44th Street

And so begins a new chapter in the life of Roger Spoffin. In the tradition of Jack Kerouac, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Capote, Steinbeck, Miller, Williams, in fact nearly every American writer of note, I am writing my latest book in the various hotel lobbies of New York. They’re busy places and it can be hard to concentrate but they simply ooze literary history and none more so than The Algonquin. A friend visiting from home brought the Algonquin to my attention. I’d been working on the new book’s outline, character studies etc. etc. from the comfort of my Manhattan pad and my friend listened without interrupting before telling me of the Algonquin. ‘You ought to go write there,’ he suggested.

At 59 West 44th Street, just off 6th Ave, this place is the oldest operating hotel in New York and is famous for its Round Table of writers and misfits. Read about them here: They were a little like England’s Bloomsbury Set, but they hung around for a lot longer and were, ironically, much less influential. In fact, Dorothy Parker – who was there from the start – looking back on the period many years later remarked, ‘The Round Table was just a lot of people telling jokes and telling each other how good they were. Just a bunch of loudmouths showing off, saving their gags for days, waiting for a chance to spring them… There was no truth in anything they said.’ Oh, well.

I entered the Algonquin around 8:30, sunk into one of the deep, brown leather seats, opened the iPad and Roger Spoffin took off. Over the next 4 hours I was swept back in time 100 years as Roger, Marty, Doff, Anna and others (I won’t be giving too many spoilers here) came once again to life. The coffee flowed freely, the ever-professional Algonquin waitstaff left me well alone (I couldn’t help but feel they held a certain reverence for writers – maybe loud-mouths not so much), and by the time I left, I’d clipped comfortably past 4000 words. I feel this writing-in-hotels caper will serve me well.

Today’s word count: 4004.

Total word count to date: 4004.

  • Algonquin from 44th St

  • Day 1 – the Author in the famed lobby

  • The magnificent Algonquin lobby – serene and sumptuous

  • Plaque on the Algonquin noting its famous ‘Round Table’.

  • The original Round Table – a very young Dorothy Parker seated with Harpo Marx standing behind

  • The beautiful Algonquin Hotel – one of a number of gorgeous hotels on 44th Street.