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firsttimesacharm May 8th, 2014 08:03 PM

Safe & Quiet New York stay for mom & daughters on tight budget
I'm taking my 2 teen daughters to New York in July (going to VA for a wedding and couldn't pass up opportunity for a chance for them to see NY). One daughter has high functioning cerebral palsy, so she can walk, but we will have a wheelchair as she falls a lot when she is fatigued (which I'm sure is easy to accomplish in New York)

Because I don't know the city, I don't know what is a safe area. Also, I have a heart condition and will need to get sleep at night so I really would love a place that is not super noisy all night (some of the hotel reviews are frightening).

I know a lot of people are probably saying New York is not for you if you want quiet and inexpensive, but we don't care about daytime noise, just middle of the night stuff. Also, I have saved for a year just to get us to the wedding, so while I wish we had more for New York, this is probably the only opportunity I will ever have to take my girls and they are SOOO excited.

I would appreciate any help I could get. Must see's? Best times to see them? Hotels that will be in safe area, accommodate 3 plus a wheelchair, and not break the bank (which seems insane when I say around $200-250 a night...since that would get me a luxury suite where I live). Any money saving tips would be great on tourist stuff since the hotel is eating up the whole budget.

I tried a lot of sites, but I can't do a bidding site since I need 2 beds and it doesn't seem like that is an option. I so appreciate any help or advice you could give. Thank you!!!

nytraveler May 9th, 2014 03:54 AM

First of all, Ne York is the safest large city in the country and all tourist areas are safe - so that is simply not an issue. However, NY is also a large city and there is noise in most parts at all hours (in midtown some deliveries are made at night and commercial trash collection is required to be done then to avoid blocking the streets during the daytime. So finding a place you will think "quiet" may not be realistic - if you mean no noise at any time.

What tends to be quietest is high floors of very new hotels - due to better insulation and windows - but you may still here police and fire sirens, etc. And this type of hotel doesn't fit that well with a modest budget.

It may be less noisy in residential areas - such as the upper west and east sides or parts of the Village - but you need to be sure you aren't near any clubs.

And the potential difficulty for that is the need to use the subway to get around - which is an issue with a wheelchair (many stations don't have elevator - or at least working elevators). However city buses are fitted for wheelchairs - they kneel to access them and have a special spot where one can be secured. (I don't suggest a folding wheelchair and taxis since the cost would not be cheap.)

One you might look at is the Newton - a reliable budget property on the upper west side in a mid/upscale residential area. For random dates in July it has double/double rooms for $250 per night - but not sure if this includes tax or not. But I wold check it out right away. This has easy access to both downtown and crosstown buses within a block or so. And there are a large number of inexpensive/modest restaurants of every possible ethnicity.

Also do check several different discount websites - there are several in which you can check prices for 3 adults in a room. And you might want to look at one with a mini-kitchen - so you can save money by having at least breakfasts and snacks in the room.

doug_stallings May 9th, 2014 05:10 AM

This is a very low budget but may be doable in the summer, when rates are sometimes lower.

The wheelchair is going to be a big problem for you in terms of getting around the city, as will finding a room large enough to accommodate it.

I like the Newton, and the 96th Street subway station has an elevator, but it's an older building, so it will not be as soundproof as a new building, and the rooms are very small. I'm not sure they have accessible rooms, and since the building is old, the wheelchair may only get your daughter as far as your room door. This may be ok if she doesn't require the chair all the time, and it will give you more options for hotels. The Newton also has window A/C units, and this may drown out some of the street noise if it doesn't bother your sleep.

But the biggest thing you have to remember is that New York doesn't really quiet down that much at night compared to where you live, especially in busy neighborhoods where most hotels are located. Broadway and 96th hops into the wee hours, though there aren't any nightclubs next to the Newton or anything like that.

One of the quietest hotels I've ever experienced in Manhattan is the Novotel, which is on 52nd and Broadway, but it's going to be far above your price range.

You don't say how you are coming into the city from Virginia, but if you are driving, you also have to consider the cost of parking. There's a Travel Inn on far west 42nd Street, and it's the only hotel in Manhattan with free parking. But it's also a very long walk from everything, so you'd probably have to catch a bus every time you leave the hotel. But it will probably be in your price range.

JanetKMR May 9th, 2014 05:57 AM

Where in VA will you be traveling from? The drive is a long one....have you considered going to DC or Philly or somewhere in VA?

Not trying to be discouraging, but I think there are better options based on your budget and circumstance closer to VA.

KTtravel May 9th, 2014 06:10 AM

You could try the Salisbury - an older hotel with large rooms located near Central Park. I would call them to see if you can get an accessible room. When we stayed there the air conditioner was rather noisy but this drowned out city noise. This is walking/rolling distance to Times Square and Broadway theaters but you would still have to take transportation to visit museums, the Statue of Liberty and other sights.

We stayed another time at the Lucerne on the Upper West side. Our room had no view (faced a brick wall) but was very quiet. However, the hotel is convenient to the Natural History Museum but not many other sights.

What sights are your "must sees?" That might help pinpoint the best hotel location.

bluesphee May 9th, 2014 06:52 AM

I have stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn and that usually has some very affordable rates. I am not sure if it will fit all your other criteria (especially the wheelchair), but it is in a pretty nice spot. You should try calling the hotel and asking if they have a room that will fit the bill for you. Of course call around to other hotels and do the same.

firsttimesacharm May 9th, 2014 07:14 AM

Thank you clarify, my daughter can walk. We were thinking she could still use the subway as she will just walk down stairs and my other daughter and I could carry the wheelchair down. Would that not work? There are some days we will just leave the wheel chair if we are doing something close to our hotel.

firsttimesacharm May 9th, 2014 07:15 AM

Also we are flying into Newark and taking train into New York first then taking amtrak (I think) to Virginia.

firsttimesacharm May 9th, 2014 07:35 AM

My biggest problem is that when I am searching on travel sights and when it lists hotels in areas of New York and I don't know what is what.

I kind of need a top 5 that would first be safe for a mom and two young teenagers to be walking back to at night . Second, not be a huge price tag and third, not be located by a part of the city that is noisy all night long (a lot of the reviews that I read on travel sights had complaints that the couldn't sleep from the noise and it got me nervous).

Do all hotels have air conditioning in rooms? Since we will be there in July I know it will be humid and my heart condition is affected when my body temperature gets high. As long as our hotel room is air conditioned I will be fine though.

I would love to hear places not to miss and any perks of getting better prices on things (certain free or discounted days). Would it be better to get a metro pass or just pay as you go? Does anyone recommend the hop on hop off bus tours?

My girls are so excited and this is the only time I will be able to do this for them. We have lived a life of not letting our disabilities ruin our dreams of doing things and this has been a dream. We just need a little inside information to make it work and are so appreciative of anything you could tell us.


KTtravel May 9th, 2014 08:19 AM

I still have to ask what are your "musts?" There is so much to see and do in New York that where you might want to stay may depend on what you want to do. For example, do you want to be able to walk back to your hotel after seeing Broadway shows or are shows not in the plans? How much time will you have?

nytraveler May 9th, 2014 08:29 AM

I must reiterate that safety in tourist areas is simply not an issue. In the summer there will be people on the streets (except small residential side streets) until at least midnight - since everyone walks/takes public transit - prcatically no cars except cabs.

I fear that you may not find a place that is quiet enough for you. This is a Metro area with 25 million people, and to get real quiet at night you need to head at least an hour outside of the city - and that in residences - not motels by highways.

Yes, every hotel has AC. But older hotels have individual rooms ACs which tend to be noisy - good since the drone will cover up louder street noises. Newer hotels will have central air which is much quieter making street noises more obvious.

As for the subway - for many stations it is along flight of steep stairs to the concourse and then another long flight down to the actual platform. At some stations the platforms you want may be 3 levels down from the street. You can take a folded wheelchair down there but hauling a full-size one that doesn't fold would be a huge PIA in the subway. And you need to understand that at rush hours (7 - 9:30 am, 4:30 to 7 pm)the subways are often standing room only when you get on (your daughter may find someone wiling to give her a seat or not.

Most of the larger museums will provide a wheelchair rather than hauling your own if that will work for you - and also you can consult the web sites to find ground floor entrances (rather than up all the stairs to the grand entrances) and provide info on elevators. Several of the museums have a pay what you wish police - no need to pay the $25 each to get in.

Also free is the Staten Island ferry - about 1.5 hours for the RT across the harbor - and a decent (but not up-close) look at the SoL. Another good freebie is the main branch of the NY Public Library. Incredibly gorgeous reading room and always interesting exhibits (this is research - not a lending library - I think the 3rd larges in the world).

doug_stallings May 9th, 2014 08:44 AM

It might not seem useful on first glance, but the very long thread "Mama to Manhattan" may have a lot of useful information for you. The OP wrote in very much detail about getting her mother and her mother's friend who don't walk much around Manhattan. That will help you with sightseeing. Here's the thread:

But their hotel budget was more than yours, and while nytraveler's advice that virtually all areas of Manhattan where there are hotels are safe may not help you a lot. If you have a heart condition and your daughter has CP, a lot of the best budget places are going to be out of reach because they are not in the heart of things. Requiring two beds also limits your choices.

I think the Days Hotel New York City-Broadway (at $215 per night) might work for you. Please take a look. It's extremely well located and a good hotel; it's on a very busy but safe street, and I think if you get a room in the back (not on the Broadway side) you'll be fine for noise. But $215 counts as budget in NYC. Plus, it's a very quick and not expensive taxi ride to Penn Station for your train connections to and from Virginia.

Finally, a caveat about taking the train into the city from EWR. Right now, the Airtrain at EWR is suspended through mid-July. That's going to make it more difficult for you to get into the city by train. You'll have to take a shuttle bus to Newark Penn Station and then board the PATH or NJ Transit. It's a much more difficult transition, so keep that in mind.

I'd encourage you to price flights TO Virginia and BACK from EWR (i.e., an open-jaw flight). This does not always cost more, and this is the right time to be pricing such a flight. In fact, I suspect it will probably cost less than a flight to EWR and then a round-trip train to and from Virginia from Penn Station.

janisj May 9th, 2014 08:56 AM

I think your idea of the subway may not be realistic. I'm not as familiar w/ all the stations like the others who have posted since I've only been to NYC a few times. But it mostly not at all wheelchair friendly. it isnt just walk down a few steps, get on a train, get off, then walk up a few steps. There are sometimes long walks underground, almost always serious climbs, and very often VERY crowded cars. The buses would be MUCH easier.

starrs May 9th, 2014 09:14 AM

I agree that a bus would be a better option. They are MUCH cooler in summer than the subway platform. I use subways in every season except summer in NYC and then I use a bus. They are handicapped accessible and drivers and fellow passengers are very helpful, patient and nice.

As all have said above you will be safe in NYC. The bus will take you everywhere you want in air conditioned comfort.

Doug's suggestion of the Mama thread is a great one - and one of the best trip reports ever!

I'll list 5 options that may work. They may not be the "best" top 5 hotels, but they would meet your needs.

#1 and #2 - in Midtown - the Hampton Inn Times Square North and the Hilton Garden Inn Times Square. They are both in a great location - close to everything in Midtown but NOT in the craziness of Times Square. They are new buildings with good sound-proofing. The Hampton Inn offers a free breakfast.

#3 and #4 - probably less expensive options - The LaQuinta Manhattan and the Hotel Newton. Both are basic, not fancy but clean hotels. The LQ is in a busy area called Koreatown but easy access to many things, including the Macy's at Herald Square. They have a rooftop bar with a view of the Empire State Building. The Newton is on the Upper West Side which is a MUCH quieter area, a more residential area.

#5 - Holiday Inn Express

HappyTrvlr May 9th, 2014 09:41 AM

The Milennium UN Plaza is very quiet as the hotel rooms are located above offices and start at around the 32nd floor.
Check their website as they often offer good internet deals.

nytraveler May 9th, 2014 04:07 PM

A disadvantage of this hotel is that it is far east, so you will need to take the 42 St crosstown bus before transferring to a bust to go up or down the center or west sides. There's not very much except the UN this far east.

firsttimesacharm May 9th, 2014 11:02 PM

Oh my word..everyone is so helpful, thank you! It sounds like if we have the wheelchair with us the subway is out, and maybe even if we don't as it is crowded and would probably tax both my daughter and I. Are the buses easy to navigate? Should I get a pass or just pay as you go? Does anyone suggest the hop on hop off bus tour? Could that take the place of our transportation while also giving us a perk of learning bout New York or is it a waste and we should use that money for other things?

We are flying into EWR. I had seen that the air train was out of commission, but they made it seem like they had designated shuttles just for penn station and that from there it is just a one stop train into New York. Is that not right? @doug What is the difference between the Path, a train, and NJ transit? When I looked online it looked like we would take a shuttle to Penn and hop on the train for $5 and that would take us right into Manhattan. Is that not there more to the story? Also, there is not any hotels in manhattan that has airport shuttle service are there? How much would a taxi cost? I also heard that there are car services that you pay $35 for the car and it takes you and up to 3 other people from airport to hotel? Does anyone know about that?

To answer some other questions, my girls want to see the Statue of Liberty, go to the top of the Rock (heard that is a better option than the top of the Empire State Building),and go to Central Park. My oldest wants to shop(although she won't be buying since she has no someone did say there was some shopping that is not high end 5th avenue...maybe even some knock offs ). We also want to see the 9/11 memorial. My oldest 15 is into photography so some fun pictures taking opportunities would be awesome (not the typical tourist spots, but maybe some great architecture, fountains, or gardens. We heard that you had to make reservations for the Statue of Liberty. Is that right? Obviously we wouldn't do the crown, but the platform probably has an elevator, right? Is that where the museum is?

Thank you so much for the thread, I will look at that for sure. Can't thank you all enough. I know I'm taking a lot on, especially with a child with a disability, but so appreciate you all looking past that and being so supportive and helpful with your suggestions.

Peteralan May 10th, 2014 02:13 AM

You might also have a look at prices at the Milburn Hotel on the Upper West Side. I stayed there and had NO outside noise issues although the airconditioner on the wall was noisy. I have read that those air cons have been replaced but I am not sure if that is so. Its in a lovely safe residential area. Good luck!

nytraveler May 10th, 2014 05:15 AM

The HoHo bus is a really bad idea for a couple of reasons:

It's very expensive
To see anything you have to be on top which means sitting in the blistering heat or rain or whatever in traffic all day - which means climbing up a narrow, steep, curving stair

They only run every 30 minutes or so (and if the one that arrives is full you wait another 30 minutes ) versus every 5 or 6 minutes for regular city buses

They cover a very specific limited route and won't get you near most places

For the buses get a Metrocard for each of you and put on how much your think you will need - each having your own pass allows you to get free transfers

No hotels in Manhattan have airport shuttles - only tose immediately adjacent to the airports

Havenever heard of this $35 thing. Taking a car service to the city will be close to $100 with toll and tip. You best bet might be the large airport coaches where your luggage is stowed underneath that go to Penn Station or Port Authority or Grand Central - whichever is closest to your hotel - and then grab a NYC Cab.

For SoL you MUST get advance reservations for the tickets to both the ferry (airport style security) and the base of the statue - to avoid VERY long waiting lines (can be an hour or more each to buy tickets, then wait to get on the ferry). The whole thing (ferry to SoL, see SoL, ferry to Ellis Island, Ellis Island museum, ferry back to Manhattan)takes 4 to 5 hours.

As for the upper west side being safe - those living in multi-million $ co-ops on Central Park West or mansions on Riverside drive would be extremely surprised to find out that it wasn't.

ellenem May 10th, 2014 05:55 AM

Good information from nytraveler except for this error: "For the buses get a Metrocard for each of you and put on how much your think you will need - each having your own pass allows you to get free transfers." Actually, up to four people can share a Regular MetroCard and receive the correct transfers. However, it is probably more convenient for each person to have her own MetroCard.

The OP wrote: "We are flying into EWR. I had seen that the air train was out of commission, but they made it seem like they had designated shuttles just for penn station and that from there it is just a one stop train into New York. Is that not right?"

Yes, that's right, but that's not particularly easy with a wheelchair. You would load onto a bus at EWR. Then get off the bus at Newark Penn Station, buy a ticket, and make your way through the station to the appropriate train platform. Then, upon arrival in New York Penn Station, you will have to make your way up from the platform and out of the station and you will probably need some other form of transportation to get to your hotel. All with luggage and a wheelchair.

PATH = a local transport train that travels between a very limited number New Jersey cities and a very limited number of places in Manhattan.

train = might refer to the subway or a commuter railroad to the suburbs, depending on the context

NJ Transit = the commuter railroad in between points in New Jersey and Manhattan

For your group, I'd look for the option with the fewest connections. A car service would be expensive, but would take you door to door. Dial7, a well-liked car service, quotes $52 plus toll and tip and rush hour fees, so probably around $80. An airporter bus as suggested would cost about $14 each from EWR to Manhattan, and then you'd still have to get to your hotel from the bus stop. There are shared SuperShuttle services available, but these are not usually recommended because there may be a long wait time at the airport for the van to fill, and then the van will drive all over Manhattan dropping off the various passengers, adding extra time. You have to decide which is most valuable to you: time, ease, or money.

As far as using the local bus system in Manhattan, here is a thread from a few years ago. If you scroll down past all the subway instructions (which you might find helpful), you'll reach the posts where I provided step-by-step instructions for the bus.

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