Where to stay in New York?
September 28, 2011 9:39 PM   Subscribe

I'm possibly coming to New York for a week on Oct 15th, and I have no idea where to stay. I don't really have time for any in depth research - please help.

I'm going to New York to be the witness at the wedding of a close friend and his boyfriend (because they can't get married here yet - but that's another conversation) They're staying in Soho, but I don't want to be a third wheel, so probably not there. I've looked at AirBnB, but the range of neighbourhoods is paralysing.

I'd like to stay somewhere with the following:

- Easy and interesting to explore by foot and/or by bicycle.
- Not too touristy
- Things to do at night
- Filled with quirks and unique finds as opposed to chain stores or touristy over the topness
- Pleasant/interesting architecture and streetscapes
- Easy access to the subway for going to explore the touristy bits
- Not too expensive (I know, it's New York)
- I'm 30, female and will be travelling alone, so somewhere that feels safe is preferred. (I generally trend toward fairly bold - I'm happy to wander most places alone)

One of my favourite things to do is sit in a cafe or bar and watch the world go on around me. Or explore small art galleries and interesting shops. Suggestions for things to do and other places to explore gladly welcomed.
posted by kjs4 to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
What does "not too expensive" mean? What's your price range?As for things to do, just search for the hundreds of previous "what to do in NYC threads"
posted by sweetkid at 9:44 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]

my go-to place for affordable NYC accommodations: Carlton Arms. clean, inexpensive, good location.

3 recent-ish threads on ideas for things to do in NY: one, two, three. (a whole load of threads can be found under the NYC, New York, and New York City tags.)

have a great trip!
posted by gursky at 9:51 PM on September 28, 2011

I probably should have been more specific with the exact question. "Which neighbourhood of New York should I stay in?" is what I'm really asking.

"Not too expensive".... again, I haven't really spent much time looking into this. I guess if I can get it for around $100 per night I'd be pretty happy. I want a private room, but I'm happy to share a bathroom. I was looking at rooms (as opposed to whole apartments) on AirBnB.

I will, of course, scour the "what to see in New York" previous AskMe's, but figured it couldn't do any harm asking.
posted by kjs4 at 10:22 PM on September 28, 2011

$100 is pretty tough in Manhattan. I don't have neighborhood suggestions, but for hotel bookings, you could try priceline. I've found them to be much better than all the other online booking sites for Manhattan. As an alternative, The Pod Hotel in midtown west is reasonably priced, and you can get a single room with shared bath. I stayed there in August, and it was clean, safe, and reasonably-priced at $150/night.
posted by hampanda at 11:44 PM on September 28, 2011

Just a correction, The Pod is in Midtown East (not west). 51st between 2nd and 3rd.
posted by aloysius on the mixing boards at 12:32 AM on September 29, 2011

You'd probably like the East Village or Lower East Side ... It's certainly gentrified a lot in the past 20 years, where you'll feel safe as a single urban-savvy female tourist in most parts of it, but there are still a lot of indie businesses, cafes, clubs, galleries, etc., plus people-watching. Subway access varies a bit -- the stations are generally further away as you get closer to the river -- but there are also buses. And really, Soho/Noho is also a big area, so it's not like you'd be breathing down your friends' necks if you end up there. Looks like there are a fair amount of EV places on AirBnB.
posted by lisa g at 12:59 AM on September 29, 2011

So just having done an exhaustive Airbnb search... that's a hard price range. And stuff is filling up for October.

You want to stay in: Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, Williamsburg, Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, Brooklyn Heights, or anywhere on the island of Manhattan, up to and particularly including Washington Heights and Harlem. After that, Gowanus or Prospect Heights or Park Slope or then Red Hook. (They have subway issues.)
posted by RJ Reynolds at 6:24 AM on September 29, 2011

There are a few very reasonably priced hotels in northern Park Slope, mostly on or near fourth ave. It's a little industrial looking in parts due to auto shops and such, but very safe, and the best parts of the neighborhood are a block away. My husband's city-nervous parents frequently stay at the little holiday inn express on Union Street, and have never had a problem or a complaint. You'd also be right on the subway, with easy access to the city. If you find a place in your budget, it's absolutely the neighborhood you're looking for.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 6:43 AM on September 29, 2011

I am not sure about the price range but you may want to look in Ditmas Park in Brooklyn, ~20 minutes out of downtown Manhattan by subway, and there are a bunch of b&b type places.
posted by mlle valentine at 6:45 AM on September 29, 2011

I've seen the Jane recommended before. It looks like it's $125 a night, but is sold out on the 15th (but is open during the week before and the week after, it's just the weekend that is bad).
posted by I am the Walrus at 7:02 AM on September 29, 2011

Just a heads' up. I'm going to NYC one week earlier than you are and thought that I'd try AirBnB. There seemed to be several places in your price range (which was mine) in areas of Brooklyn that are convenient to the subway (RJ Reynolds has already listed them for you). My main point is that I put in a few requests and only got one response (who said that they had friends using their apartment that week so it wasn't available). The guy who was nice enough to respond said that AirBnB has gotten crazy. He's fielding 5-10 requests a day! So yeah, if you want to try AirBnB for a room in October, you want to start contacting people ASAP. You may have better luck than I did as I'm going up on the Columbus day weekend and I'm allergic to cats, which limited the places that I could stay.

I ended up going to my old standby, The Jane. It's in the West Village, $125/night (sadly just gone up from $99). The rooms are crazy tiny, like 50 sq. ft. But they are clean and comfortable. Bathrooms are "down the hall". They are clean, well-maintained and I've never had to wait for a shower or stall. I've stayed there 5 or 6 times since they opened and never had a problem, although I've never stayed more than 2 days. I may be going a little stir crazy this trip. But I stay there mostly for the neighborhood. Oh and the Jane has free bike rentals!
posted by kaybdc at 7:15 AM on September 29, 2011

The Walrus beat me to The Jane recommendation. I hadn't bothered to look up to see what was available.

Other cheap hotels in good locations include The Larchmont (on West 11th between 5th and 6th ave) and Hotel 17 (seem to recall it being around Gramercy Park). Haven't been to either in years. I've heard that The Larchmont has gotten a bit down in the heels, but again, great location. It's been eons since I've stayed at Hotel 17, which was funky then. I think that it's since been refurbished. However to get into a cheap hotel in NYC typically takes making the reservation at least 6-8 weeks in advance.
posted by kaybdc at 7:21 AM on September 29, 2011

Hotel 17 is right around the corner from me, on 17th between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. It's reasonably priced, especially if you are willing to share a bathroom, but I don't know that I've ever seen $100/night there. They're not available on the 15th, though.

I've had friends stay at the Union Square Inn (14th & 3rd), and they liked it. Again, though, $100/night is going to be a stretch in NYC unless you stay at an airport hotel or something.
posted by bedhead at 8:12 AM on September 29, 2011

I just popped back into to add that if you go the AirBnB route, persistence pays off. I decided to try again, contacted a couple of more people and the second one emailed me back and accepted my reservation within 10 minutes (the other person never responded). I got a private room in a place in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for $75 per night. It's about 1.2 miles to the subway but I like to walk and hopefully it won't be pissing down rain while I'm there. There's also a relatively new ferry service, the East River Ferry that has stops in Williamsburg and Greenpoint, that might make some of those locations more convenient and more fun to get to/from Manhattan. For me it will be a little bit more of hike than the subway, but I might give it a go. Given that I'm in NYC for 4 nights it will save me a fair bit of money so I'm willing to put up with a little inconvenience. Plus my host sounds really nice and I get a chance to check out a new (to me) neighborhood.
posted by kaybdc at 1:12 PM on October 1, 2011

I managed to get a room on Airbnb for $105 per night in East Village. Thanks for all your help! Now off to plan a meet up and read through the old Askme questions for things to do.
posted by kjs4 at 4:57 AM on October 3, 2011

The East Village was great. I had a great time wandering the area, and got to know it quite well. My friends (staying in Soho) complained about there being too many tourists in New York - I didn't know what they were talking about - well, until I went up to Time Square!

Not the prettiest in terms of architecture, or the most convenient in terms of subway options, but after a week, it felt like home.
posted by kjs4 at 2:06 AM on November 1, 2011

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