Catch Some Z’s at The Dreamery

For when the break between classes is too short to walk home, but long enough to take a nap.

Sleeping Pods at the Dreamery. (Staff Photo by Yesenia Leon)

“Come in and zzz what’s inside.”

This enticing message, written in bright white against an ultramarine sign outlined by cosmic clouds and stars, caught my attention as I rushed to the dull, gray 194 Mercer Street building.

Even though I was already running late to class, I stopped just long enough to climb the steps that led to a set of cobalt blue doors, peer through the glass panels emblazoned with the words “The Dreamery” and try to get a glimpse of what was inside.

Though I still couldn’t tell what hid behind the mysterious doors of 196 Mercer Street, a quick Google search at the beginning of class brought me up to speed. The brainchild of mattress company Casper, The Dreamery has been in the business of selling luxurious 45-minute naps for $25 since its opening last July. For almost a year now, students have walked by the shop unaware of the peaceful slumber world that exists behind the blue illumination.

As I sat in class, I was preoccupied by the very premise of The Dreamery. As someone who naps for free in my dorm room, I couldn’t imagine paying to do the same thing. Still, I had to find out for myself whether The Dreamery was a genius idea to bring rest to the city that never sleeps or an example of late-stage capitalism at its most exploitative and superfluous.

As soon as I walked through The Dreamery’s indigo entrance, I left the urban jungle behind and stepped into a magical archway fashioned to look like the night sky, complete with twinkling stars that illuminated my way through the dark passage. I was immediately greeted by two friendly employees who waited as I marveled at the sheer size of the place. Decked out in plush sofas, colorful books and snacks for pre- and post-nap, the check-in room was larger than I had imagined the entire place would be.

Once I finished checking in and exploring the lobby, one of the employees gave me a set of navy blue pajamas and led me into a corridor with changing areas and sleeping accessories such as slippers, extra pillows and earplugs. Holding a finger to her lips to indicate that we were entering the silent part of The Dreamery, she led me through a futuristic maze of napping pods.

Once she closed the curtains of my pod, I pressed a button next to the bed that said, “Press me! I’m a light switch,” and everything went dark. For the first 10 minutes, I tossed and turned. If I had been in my dorm room, I would have grabbed my phone, but since I knew I only had 45 minutes, I restrained myself. Soon enough, I felt myself slipping into a deep, delicious sleep.

I woke up to the light in my pod gradually brightening until it returned to its full intensity. I was a bit groggy, but I was mostly impressed by how deeply I slept — the bed was cozy and spacious, and the absolute silence was a delightful change from the loud traffic of Fifth Avenue that usually sings me to sleep. As I shuffled out of the napping room, I caught a glimpse of a woman who looked to be in her mid-forties, still wearing her regular clothes and exiting another pod.

Seeing as she was the only other customer I saw during my visit, the question still remained — what kind of people take naps here?

Employee Mary Margaret Coble was able to give me some insight. According to Coble, most people who come to The Dreamery make reservations rather than just walk in. Their clientele ranges from local workers on their lunch break to tourists who have been on their feet all day to Japanese businessmen who are used to similar establishments back home. But they have regular customers as well.

“We have a gentleman napping here right now who I think is here for his fifth day in a row,” Coble said.

The Dreamery even receives some NYU alumni who love the concept of a place to nap in between meetings and events.

“We get a lot of NYU alumni who were like, ‘where was this when I was in school?’” Cole said.

At first glance, The Dreamery may not seem like it caters exactly to college students. However, like attractions such as Times Square or the Statue of Liberty, it’s worth going at least once just to be able to say you did it. Lest you need more concrete reasons to justify spending $25 on a nap, the cost of the complimentary Chameleon Cold Brew coffee and Sunday Riley skincare products are worth more than what you pay to sleep. If you find yourself walking through the star-studded blue archway of The Dreamery to try it out, just know you’re getting some of the best sleep for your buck.

A version of this article appears in the Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, print edition. Email Caroline Grogan at [email protected]

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