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Safe to stay in Brooklyn

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May 2nd, 2014, 09:03 AM
  #1
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Safe to stay in Brooklyn

We are a British family of 5 (parents and 3 older teenagers) visiting the USA in August 2014 for an east coast road trip. We are renting a car for the whole trip because we want to take in both city and countryside locations. We wish to visit New York (Manhattan) in the middle of the trip for about 4 days. We prefer to rent an apartment rather than use hotels and want somewhere where we can park the rental car. There seem to be a lot of apartments available at reasonable prices in Brooklyn - many around the east side of Prospect Park. Can anyone advise whether this would be safe to a) park a rental car on the street, b) ride the subway to Manhattan and c) walk a couple of blocks from the subway station back to the apartment after an evening out in Manhattan (up to midnight). I appreciate that it may depend upon the specific address but some general guidance as to whether it is a mad idea or whether it is feasible subject to the exact address would be appreciated.
Many thanks.

PS. We will then be driving up to Boston. Is it worthwhile driving up Long Island and getting the ferry across to New London?
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May 2nd, 2014, 09:13 AM
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Short-term apartment renting in NYC is generally illegal. Do some google research and Fodor's research and you will find mor einfo.
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May 2nd, 2014, 09:18 AM
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"We will then be driving up to Boston. Is it worthwhile driving up Long Island and getting the ferry across to New London?"

Worthwhile in what regard? To save time - no.

Don't get the rental car until you are ready to leave NYC. Turn in the one you get before you reach NYC and then rent another, unless you get a terrific price for the entire rental.

Street parking is difficult, with many regulations [alternate side of the street parking is just one] and restrictions and permits may be needed.

If you plan to spend the majority of those days IN NYC, stay in NYC. Time spent traveling, the cost and car rental for those days, possible paying for parking....won't be a bargain.
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May 2nd, 2014, 09:19 AM
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Oh, don't drive from NYC to Boston on Friday, especially in the afternoon. Best done mid week.
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May 2nd, 2014, 09:53 AM
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two bad ideas - renting an apartment (except for a legit apartment hotel) and having a car in NYC and driving to Boston. You don't need/want a car in NY or Boston. So rent one car for the front half of your holiday, and rent a different car when leaving Boston. Take a train from NYC to Boston.
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May 2nd, 2014, 10:02 AM
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Good luck with that. Rentals of < 30 days are generally illegal in NYC. This is not so with whole houses rented by the owner, although that will likely exceed hotel costs.

<>

(a) I wouldn't take a car with a non-NY license plate into the City and park on the street. I've done it before to my regret. You won't need the car in the city, therefore you should not have one. You wouldn't advise a London visitor to have a car either.

(b) Riding the subway to Manhattan and back is likely fine, depending upon where you would stay. I'd look for someplace closer to Brooklyn Heights and NOT out on the 2, 3, 4, 5 lines around the Park. [You also need to learn the express and local routes so you don't see your station wizzing past at 45 mph while you're on the wrong train.]

(c) Walking a couple of blocks is also ok, depending upon where. There is too much wiggle room in the question.

Look: NYC is the safest large city in the US. Its violent crime rate is 639 per 100,000 persons compared to the US as a whole (less than 500/100K) and that's nowhere near the top 25. The UK rate is more than 2,000 per 100,000 persons - which is worse than Oakland, St. Louis and Memphis, the #2, 3, and 4 cities in the US for violent crime. The NYC violent crime rate is LESS THAN 1/3 that of the UK as a whole! And you would feel unsafe in NYC?

That said, like any major city NYC has its warts. Don't stay in or near the warts.
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May 2nd, 2014, 10:16 AM
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Having a car in NYC or Boston is a very expensive item that you won;t be able to use at all. Parking is very difficult - even in the outer boroughs. There are arcane street cleaning rules that require you to move you car from certain places at certain times - often in the middle of the day. And if you don't you risk a very expensive ticket or worse - having the car towed (will cost more than $1,000 and take a full day to get the car back).

Agree to dump the car when you get to NYC and stay in Manhattan (and yes, almost all short-term apt rentals are illegal and many are simply scams), then take the train to Boston (tickets bought in advance can be much cheaper). Then pick up a car again if yuo want to see country side from Boston. Parking a car in a garage in eithr city will be $35 to $40 per night - plus the cost of an unused car for 6 or 7 nights).

(Your plan is the equivalent of renting a car to visit London and Paris - a complete waste of money and a general PIA.)
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May 2nd, 2014, 12:43 PM
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"the East Side of Prospect Park". I grew up across the street from Prospect Park. Note as others above have mentioned - most apt. rentals in NYC are illegal. Not sure what Debit meant by "If you plan to spend the majority of those days IN NYC, stay in NYC." The poster is saying they want to stay in NYC - Brooklyn to be precise. So I don't see a problem.

Agree with forgetting a car in the city. No reason to have it and it's just a hassel.
Big Russ - Many cars in NYC have out of state license plates mostly because many find it cheaper to buy and register their car out of state even if they live in NY. You might just have run into bad luck with yours.
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May 2nd, 2014, 12:44 PM
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BTW - If by East Side of Pros. Park you mean the Flatbush side, I wouldn't do it.
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May 2nd, 2014, 01:52 PM
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As others have said renting an apartment on a short-term basis is illegal in New York. Also you do not need a car. You are better off to stay in a hotel in Long Island City for those four days, it is only one or two subway stops to central Manhattan, a lot quicker than taking a subway from Brooklyn.

I live in New Zealand and have stayed in NYC twice now over the last few years. First time we stayed at Radio City Apartments close to Time Square. However it is usually booked up months in advance so may not be available. The second time we stayed at Country Inn and Suites Long Island City. There are other hotels in the area also.

I would take the bus or train to Boston. You can get fares on Bolt bus for example at a very low cost depending on how early you book.
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May 2nd, 2014, 02:53 PM
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#1 - The east side of Prospect Park is not the best area. Not necessarily unsafe, but the west side of the park (which is the neighborhood called Park Slope) is much nicer.

#2 - on street parking is generally safe (would depend on the specific area) in terms of the likelihood that your car will be stolen or broken into. Out of state plates don't matter. I have Massachusetts plates and I park on the street in several parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan and have never felt unsafe. My daughter has lived in several parts of NYC (including Park Slope, the 'better' side of Prospect Park) and has never seen cars broken into or damaged. Doesn't mean they aren't occasionally stolen, there are no guarantees, it's just not an everyday occurrence. (Her apartment was broken into once - different part of Brooklyn - no place is 100% safe).

#3 - even though on street parking may be safe, it can still be a pain. In Brooklyn you usually have to move your car at least twice a week for street cleaning (e.g 'no parking Tues and Sat from 8-10'). In Manhattan it's even more frequent. So depending on how long you are going to be there you'd need to move the car, and you might have to park it several blocks from where you are staying.

#4 - The "best" place to stay for a tourist visiting NYC is in Manhattan. But if you are trying to find something less expensive then Brooklyn is not a bad place to stay - but you will spend about an hour on the subway each way to get to midtown or up town. Also keep in mind, that unless you are buying a metro pass you will be paying about $30 for 5 people round trip in and out of Manhattan to Brooklyn. Plus what ever a couple hours of your time is worth to you.

#5 There are several hotels in Brooklyn and Queens that are less than most in Manhattan. Pay attention to what everyone above has said about short term apartment rentals. However, a true B&B where the owner is present is still legal. There was an article in the New York Times just this week about an AirB&B rental - but the guy rented out a room in his apartment where he lived full time, he didn't rent out some other apartment.

#6 - If the car rental deal is so great that you don't want to turn in one and then rent another when you leave NY, there are lots of garages you can leave a car in. www.iconparkingsystems.com/ nycparking.spplus.com/Brooklyn-Parking.html

#7 - If you are just going to Boston after NY I agree it makes much more sense to ditch the car before NY and then take the train or bus to Boston. But there is lots to see in New England on the way up. Depends on how much time you have and what you want to see.
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May 2nd, 2014, 03:50 PM
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I am sorry. I meant if they want to spend the majority of their time IN Manhattan [I take that to mean seeing Manhattan sights] then they should stay IN MANHATTAN.
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May 2nd, 2014, 04:07 PM
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Brooklyn is like Islington. Trendy, trendy, trendy area, dominated by the chattering classes, surrounded by the working classes and the non-working classes.
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May 2nd, 2014, 04:34 PM
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Since your NYC stop is in the middle of the trip, I consider the no car option as not practical unless you are coming from another large city where the car would not have been useful. Without a fuller itinerary it is difficult to say what travel otpions are the best.

If you do have a car, consider stopping in Mystic to visit the historical seaport, or make a detour to Old Sturbridge on your way to Boston.

http://www.osv.org/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca...57623081257993
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May 2nd, 2014, 05:19 PM
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To many New Yorkers the City means Manhattan - although there are in fact 5 boroughs in NYC - the other 4 being primarily residential. Most everything you will want to see is in Manhattan - or on islands in the harbor - and the atmosphere in Manhattan is in general very different than the primarily suburban/residential areas - and what people come to NYC for.

Agree that is you provide your entire itinerary people can give better advice as to what to do abut a car.

But don't underestimate the inconvenience of having a car in NYC (you don't want to have to waste time because the only parking spot you could find requires you to move the care between 11 am and 1 pm. Or to drive around 30 minutes looking for a place to put the car that won't require moving it in the middle of the day (there are WAY more cars than places to put them).
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May 3rd, 2014, 06:48 AM
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Isabel - Getting forom Brooklyn to Manhattan will not necessarily take "1 hour". Brooklyn is a very large place ( bigger than Paris). Depends on where in Brooklyn one is staying. Please don't comment on a city you obviously don't know enough about!

If you stay in Brooklyn Heights it is 1 stop from lower Manhattan. Hardly takes "1 hour". More like 5 minutes. Park Slope is further into Brooklyn and can take 30-45 minutes.

I live in the Forest Hills neighborhood of Queens. It takes 20 minutes to midtown by the "F" or "E" train. LIC (Long Island City) neighborhood of Queens is one stop from midtown.
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May 3rd, 2014, 11:01 AM
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The key is that Brooklyn is not a neighborhood. It is one of hte 5 boroughs (counties) in NYC, has a population of approximately 2 million people and has dozens of different neighborhoods. A few are very upscale, many (most?) are safe - but there are some that I wouldn;t go near with a barge pole.

Also - depending on where you are - and how long a walk - or bus ride - it is to the subway - you could be 10 minutes from Manhattan or you could be well over an hour.

If you provide specific addresses (people renting apts are often "flexible" in their descriptions of where they are) someone can give you a realistic idea of the neighborhood - safety and transit time to "the city". But do understand what no matter where it is trying to park a car will be a PIA and possibly quite time-consuming dealing with local regulations.
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May 3rd, 2014, 01:08 PM
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kenav - I was born and raised in NY. From the east side of Prospect Park, which is where the OP was saying they were considering staying, to mid town or up town can easily take an hour. The OP was not talking about Forest Hills (I used to live there) or Astoria (I lived there too) or LIC or Brooklyn Heights. So please don't be rude - my comment was correct and for you to say what you did makes you look ignorant. Yes technically it does take five minutes to ride the subway one stop from Brooklyn or Queens to Manhattan. But that hardly gives an accurate impression of what their commute would be like. Most people (especially tourists) do not get off the subway at the first stop in Manhattan. And you are not allowing for time to walk to the subway stop, wait for the train, etc.
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May 5th, 2014, 11:46 AM
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Nope. Would be the fourth most populated city in the country (behind NYC w/o Brooklyn, LA and Chicago) if it were not already part of NYC. The sign from the old Welcome Back Kotter opening credits still applies: "Welcome to Brooklyn, the Fourth Largest City in America."
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May 11th, 2014, 04:32 AM
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Wow - thanks for your replies everybody. There's loads of helpful stuff there.

On the basis of the replies my thoughts now are to perhaps stay in an apartment hotel in Jersey City and ride the PATH / Ferries into Manhattan. Thoughts on that?

It also sounds wise to turn the rental car in when we arrive in NY and either get another one when we leave or catch the train up to Boston. We won't save any money on the rental costs but will save the hassle and expense of parking.

DebitNM - My question about driving up Long Island was not about whether it is quicker but whether it is a scenic drive and might be quieter / more relaxing. Our itinerary is pretty fixed now so we will have to go on Friday but we can get away in the morning.

One follow-up question - the kids are keen to visit at least one of the Board Walks on the East Coast. Any suggestions? Coney Island? Or perhaps drive up the New Jersey Coast on our way from Philadelphia to NYC and visit one or more boardwalks on the day.

Thanks again for al the helpful replies.
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