Ok, so I am looking for a library ladder. Turns out, like everything in New York, there is a store completely devoted to them.
In Soho, just off Canal street, Putnam Rolling Ladders has a warehouse/office space. They make beautiful custom ladders, with great hardware. Its in this old warehousey building, and you walk through their workshop to get into the office at the back. The office itself looks like a set for American Buffalo. There are file folders full of paperwork crowding every surface, and people wandering around a big open room. Old wood floors and columns, and one glassed in office where the register was (I was hoping for a little lady in a green visor counting money, but alas, that time has passed).
The man I spoke to gave me a copy of their stock list (we don’t have time to have one custom made), which was handwritten! He seemed a little freaked out when I said I preferred email to fax.
Not only did my visit to Putnam make me feel like I went back in time to the 80s or so, when business in NYC was done this way, but it seemed like the most appropriate way to buy a library ladder: from a traditional, family run business that hasn’t changed in at least 30 years. One of my favorite things about this job is that I get to wander in and out of entirely different worlds every day. This experience was no different: it was like visiting another planet. It made me wonder what it must be like to go to work in a place like that every day, and then get on the subway to iphones and business suits. The man that I spoke with was very sweet and helpful, and really believed in his product. Everyone in the office wanted to weigh in. I wish I bought library ladders more often.
Anyways, if you ever need a rolling ladder, or even a cool-looking stepstool or office ladder, use it as an excuse to go see these guys. Its definitely worth it.