Good place to base when exploring NYC?

May 31st, 2010, 05:22 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,033
Good place to base when exploring NYC?

Well, the die is cast. The family voted for the eastern USA this year, so no Portugal for me. Damnable, given what the Euro's trading for lately, but oh well. We're talking about starting in the Baltimore/Washington area and working our way north.

No one in the family has ever been to NYC. I'm thinking about four or five days there. Where's a good neighborhood in which to base oneself, with good access to public transportation? I have no desire to drive a rental car in the City if it can be avoided. Manhattan's crowded and expensive, and if I can access its attractions with no more than a 30 minute or so metro ride, I'd consider other boroughs.

Suggestions, anyone?
RedStater is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 05:36 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,880
Id suggest staying in Manhattan and I have been hearing that this summer there are good deals on hotels since they have not been filling up.

Really anywhere you stay in Manhattan, you are a bus or subway ride away from most of the sites and if you stay somewhere in Midtown, you can walk to alot of the sites.

I'd suggest getting a book on NYC so the family can get involved with the planning on what they would like to see as well.

Check priceline, hotwire and kyack for hotel deals and I have always gotten good prices when traveling on hotels.com

Let us know as the planning continues what questions you might have.
travelbuff is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 07:17 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,712
Definitely do NOT stay in the boroughs. You need to experience Manhattan in the early AM and PM. As travelbuff said, anywhere is a quick subway ride. Check this site, frommers, and trip advisor for ideas on where to stay. I've stayed at the Red Roof In, the Blakely (used to be the Gorham) and rented an apartment. There are many places to choose from and the prices can vary greatly depending on the time of year.
Austin is offline  
May 31st, 2010, 08:35 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 26,710
As noted there is only place to stay and that is Manhattan. There are many ways to get around including subway, bus, taxis, and walking. Thus the choice of neighborhood is guided by price, activities, and interests.

Unfortunately there is a limited number of Portuguese restaurants.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2010, 03:38 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
If you give us an idea of your budget - and if you want one double double rooms or a separate one for your kids (I'm assuming 2 but you don;t say ages) people can make specific recos. Agree to start looking immediately using the discount sites listed as well as travelzoo. Just realize Priceline is good for only 2 people (and many NYC hotel rooms have just 1 double bed and no room for roll-aways - so you need to bid on a room for each 2 people.

Travel Inn on far west near 42nd St gets decent reviews for a budget property and has a pool, which few hotels in the city do - so you might look to see if they have internet specials.

Staying outside the city is not recommended. The hotels in Queens near the subways are in mixed use areas - some stores, some commercial (auto body shops, warehouses etc) and while the neighborhoods are safe they aren't esp pleasant. Jersey hotels are reasonable only if they are right on a PATH or train line - and then you still need to figure the costs involved as well as how often trains run after dinner time.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 1st, 2010, 06:48 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,465
Put your dates into Kayak or Bing, and see what comes up that's in Manhattan (not the boroughs or NJ) to get an idea. You can filter the results by price, location, etc. There are many good locations so you have some flexibility there. As long as you are near a subway line, you can get around. Also, check hotel websites besides just the booking sights. If you have AAA or other discounts, booking sights usually don't list them, but hotel websites do.
MFNYC is offline  
Jun 1st, 2010, 07:08 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 10,187
My first choice would always always be Manhattan, but I would not rule out the outer boroughs without some further research. Manhattan hotel rooms are small, and not all will accommodate 2 separate beds, so choose your hotel carefully; some hotels have suites, which can work well for families.

There is a brand-new Sheraton in Brooklyn that's fairly convenient to public transit, as well as a Marriott. There are some other hotels in Brooklyn that have been recommended as well.

Queens is not a bad place at all to base yourself for a few days, especially if you can stay in Long Island City within a couple of subway stops of Manhattan. There are several hotels there, including a Comfort Inn Long Island City and others, but choose carefully. Location in Queens matters more than in Manhattan, where it doesn't matter much at all where you stay.

Now about that rental car. You'll pay dearly to park it during your NYC stay. I'd recommend one of two options: 1) return the car and take a train or bus into Manhattan; you can take Boltbus or Megabus for about $20 per person if you buy tickets in advance, but these buses don't use a bus terminal---you get on streetside, but it's a comfortable and viable option; Amtrak can be faster, but it's at least twice as expensive. 2) Drive into NYC but pay the fee to drop off the car; that might be cheaper than parking for 4 or 5 days at about $30 per day; it's cheaper but not that much cheaper to park in Queens, where there are many lots and garages near the Long Island City hotels.

What I would NOT recommend is to stay in NJ. While you can find cheaper hotels there, you really must include the extra cost of transportation into Manhattan each day. NJ Transit just raised rates a lot, and it's not inexpensive to pay for transport for a family of 4, and then you have to buy a subway pass on top of that. On the plus side, parking will probably be free, so you must include the parking savings in your total hotel costs if you intend to drive the rental car into Manhattan. Find a hotel on a PATH line (not NJ Transit if you can help it). And avoid hotels in Secaucus (many of the NJ hotels are here), where trains are expensive and buses are infrequent except during commuting hours. There's a beautiful Hyatt Regency hotel in Jersey City, but it's served by an expensive ferry; it's a viable option, but figure in the cost of the ferry to see if it's really cheaper than Manhattan.
doug_stallings is offline  
Jun 1st, 2010, 07:53 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,465
The Larchmont Hotel has a family suite with private bathroom at a very reasonable rate which includes a continental breakfast. The location is great, in the middle of Greenwich Village, a residential area near NYU, near the Union Square subway hub, lots of stores, restaurants, and a great neighborhood all round, especially for kids (whether toddlers, teens, or young adults).
MFNYC is offline  
Jun 1st, 2010, 08:30 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,715
Make sure to look at reviews on tripadvisor before booking anything and don't be tempted by illegal apts. Budget and number of beds you need will dictate where to stay. The Embassy Suites in the financial district is often a good bet for families with 1 bedroom suites (some with 2 doubles and a sofabed) and an included full cooked breakfast in the room rate. Nice breezes from the nearby Hudson is an added bonus. The Affinia.com hotels are all suite hotels dotted mostly around midtown. Beaconhotel.com Milburhotel.com are some upper west side apt/hotel options.

If you're a family in need of a suite hotel, there are no 1 bedroom suites in the outer boroughs. You'll find some commutable from New Jersey, but it's not recommended unless that's your only option. There are several suite hotels in Secaucus but it will require using a bus in and out of Manhattan which can become a slog in traffic.
mclaurie is offline  
Jun 1st, 2010, 08:45 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 25,576
I think Austin makes a great point, that you should experience Manhattan in the early a.m. and p.m. It's just "different", not only different from other times of day, but different from other cities. I've lived elsewhere for 37 years, but I still enjoy walking outside my hotel door during the time of day when other people are heading to work -- it's intoxicating, even in the heat and humidity of summer.
sf7307 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2010, 08:58 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
What's the NYC Metro? Never heard of it.

That Larchmont Hotel price of $219/suite is tough to beat in the City.
BigRuss is offline  
Jun 1st, 2010, 09:31 AM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,033
Metro = subway, Russ. I'll take a look at the Larchmont. Thanks all, for the excellent advice and resources. Manhattan it is.
RedStater is offline  
Jun 1st, 2010, 09:50 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,715
The Larchmont is pretty dumpy. When you look at reviews, go back to Sept/Oct. of 2009 and don't forget to check the photos from travelers on the review page.
mclaurie is offline  
Jun 1st, 2010, 10:08 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,342
You may as well start calling it the subway, not Metro, since that is what it is called in NYC
vjpblovesitaly is offline  
Jun 1st, 2010, 11:19 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 26,710
It is also commonly called the train. NY'ers also refer to the various lines by their numbers and letters and not the color as shown on the subway map.

And NY'ers will also call the 4 and 5 trains the Lex Express and the 6 The Lex local.
Aduchamp1 is offline  
Jun 1st, 2010, 12:08 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,880
Also look at The Ace Hotel on W29th St. The kids will love the place. The lobby is sort of National Parkish and the rooms are large by NYC standards. Also most rooms have a real guitar, lots of musicians have been staying there. The hotel has a restaurant now and a cafe, close to shopping and around the corner almost from the Empire State Building.

The subway is a block away and buses are across the street and around both corners so transportation would be easy from there. There are also add on rooms for the kids with bunk beds, so gives you a bit more room and privacy. www.acehotel.com.
travelbuff is offline  
Jun 1st, 2010, 02:27 PM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,561
RS: I know what the subway is -- have ridden it to the far ends of the City in every borough.

No such thing as a metro in NYC. No such thing as a metro in London. No such thing as a metro in Chicago.

And definitely check reviews as mclaurie said -- inexpensive hotels in NYC tend to be cheap for a reason. Considering that you said "the family" voted to go east, perhaps you should check into apartment listings (vrbo.com or similar).

Aduchamp's right -- NYers don't refer to line color. That's because so many of us know the old pre-1985 maps, and because route number/letter will determine where the train is going. Colors are for simplification on the Manhattan part of the train map.
BigRuss is offline  
Jun 1st, 2010, 04:19 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Agree not to ask locals about subway lines by color -we don;t have a clue. You can ask by number or letter - the #1 or the A train - or the designation (Broadway local) - because those tell you where the train actually goes. (And yes, we often say train versus subway (since one you're in the outer boroughs some are outside (elevated above the street).

As far as apts in NYC - have a look at some of the threads. Most are illegal and many listings are scams (either not as described or don;t exist at all). If you choose to go this route be sure that it is a building where this is allowed (a few privately owned and a few condos that "look the other way" to tenants subletting illegally.

If you contemplate this put the listings here (actual street address and details ) and locals can help you figure out if it is a scam or not (one poster didn;t listen and was scammed early in the year).
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 4th, 2010, 02:33 PM
  #19  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 1,033
How's the Upper West Side (W 108th & Broadway) as a neighborhood? Found a couple of apartments in the vicinity thru VRBO.
RedStater is offline  
Jun 4th, 2010, 04:10 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
This is a mixed area. Perfectly safe, but near a couple of large public housing projects - so it might not be what you expect is you're coming from suburbia. Also near Columbia University and $million dollar condos and mansions on Riverside drive (the area has gentrified around the hosing projects). Twenty years ago it would not have been a great place to walk after dark.

If you want an area that's solely middle class or above you really need to stay south of 96th St.

Also - have you found out what type of building it is? There are many brownstones in this area - which can mean 5 story walk-ups (and they have high ceiling and long flights of stairs. I would find out about type of building, type of security - and of course provide specific addresses here so locals can give you detailed information. You can also use google to map the spot and get street level photos of the building and the area.
nytraveler is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:54 AM.