Help me identify a neighbourhood to stay in Manhattan for a vacation
February 26, 2013 4:26 AM   Subscribe

My family is going on vacation to New York in june for 9 days. We want to find a nice apartment in airbnb, but we have no clue on what would be an appropiate neighbourhood. My parents are over 60, don't speak the language, and want to do all the tourist-y things, so location is very important. My brothers and I are laid back and want to enjoy city life so we are looking for a neighbourhood with interesting things to do.

I also worry about my parents feeling secure; we are Spanish so in this regards a small amount of night life is preferable to quiet residential neighbourhoods with empty streets at night.

Suggestions on things to do in Manhattan are very welcome; we have an open mind and no preconceptions about the city (at least as few as possible taking into account that we're talking about New York). We all have a science/technical background, enjoy cultural events and night life.
posted by valdesm to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (25 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
What budget do you have? That is the most important factor. We can recommend neighborhoods, but if you can't afford them, our recommendations won't do you any good.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:35 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think your budget is going to heavily influence what neighborhoods you can look at.
posted by empath at 4:36 AM on February 26, 2013

Sorry, that makes sense of course. I'd say up to 500$ a night for a a 3-bedroom apartment for 5 people total.
posted by valdesm at 4:37 AM on February 26, 2013

Glancing at what's available on AirBnB in NYC, I might consider looking at Hell's Kitchen, Times Square, or Chelsea; this keeps you centrally located, near a lot of subway lines and in neighborhoods that a lot of restaurants, shops, etc.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:38 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I also must give my neighborhood a shout-out- not as much of a nightlife, but pretty much everybody up here speaks Spanish, you're a straight shot downtown on the A or 1 trains, and there are some lovely parks.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:39 AM on February 26, 2013

Yeah, came here to say Hell's Kitchen (aka "Clinton") or Chelsea.
posted by caek at 4:40 AM on February 26, 2013

I agree with TPS as far as neighborhoods. Note that Hell's Kitchen, despite the name, is a nice neighborhood.

However, keep in mind that it is unlikely that you will find an apartment as large as a 3 bedroom through a service like airbnb. (The people who can afford such a large apartment are not the kind who need to rent the apartment out for extra money.) In a quick look through what's available on airbnb, I am finding apartments that reference 3 beds, not 3 bedrooms. You may need to rent two smaller places.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:43 AM on February 26, 2013

Thanks for the suggestions so far; regarding the number of bedrooms, 2 could also be ok, I just thought 3 would be the norm for 5 people.
posted by valdesm at 4:47 AM on February 26, 2013

Yeah, I don't think that AirBnB will have 3 bedroom apartments in Manhattan to rent. Manhattan's market just is not structured that way. People who can afford to stay in 3BR apartments will likely acquire short-term rentals through corporate housing developments, etc.

The suggestion to rent two separate places makes more sense if you're looking to go through AirBnb.
posted by dfriedman at 4:51 AM on February 26, 2013

There are totally some options on AirBnB for five people. Just, some of you might wind up sleeping on couches... but check it before writing it off, for sure!

No matter where you stay, totally go visit Washington Heights at some point. In my old neighborhood I couldn't speak to 70% of the people I met because they all spoke Spanish and I didn't. It's a totally different New York than Times Square and Greenwich Village...
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:59 AM on February 26, 2013

We rented a 2BR in Hell's Kitchen last year and thought it was a really good base of operations--lots of restaurants/bars on 8th and 9th Ave., some off-broadway theater, close to Times Square/Theater District for good nighttime walking-around, also walkable to Rockefeller center and Central Park. This 3BR listing is actually from the same property manager we rented from and it was a very positive experience. Just be forewarned that the per-night rate will be higher for a less-than-month rental.

We stayed with 5 people (3 teens/2 adults) in a 2BR but if we could have afforded $500/night we would have gone for a 3BR :-)
posted by drlith at 5:00 AM on February 26, 2013

There are 300 3 bedroom apartments in Manhattan on Airbnb. Nearly all of them are less than $500/night

Hells Kitchen is fine, though it can be pretty far to the subway especially if you are over on tenth. If you can find a place in your price range Greenwich Village/West Village has the best combination of cute neighborhood/things to do/easy access via Subway to the big tourist sights.
posted by JPD at 5:04 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you do end up staying anywhere in (somewhat-) lower Manhattan, you might want to stop in at theMakerbot Store. Not exactly thrilling nightlife, but it might be interesting given your science/technical backgrounds.
posted by graphnerd at 5:07 AM on February 26, 2013

I'd go for the Village just because it's so convenient. This 3BR is in a great location in an elevator building. You're steps from restaurants, groceries, bars, and the whole Village, China Town, Little Italy, Canal Street thing. It's ideal for subway transport as well. This area gets a lot of tourism and I think your parents would be comfortable on Thompson Street.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:12 AM on February 26, 2013 [3 favorites]

Absolutely consider Brooklyn Heights and Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill and Carroll Gardens. Just keep an eye on subway adjacency. They're all very close to Manhattan and it's easy to get in, but leafy, quiet and peaceful, with great restaurants for when you're done with Manhattan attractions for the day—and MUCH larger for your budget. For tourists, I wouldn't consider any other Brooklyn neighborhoods. (Williamsburg would be a yes for younger people, but not otherwise.)

If you want to run any particular rentals by me for Brooklyn location, memail me.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 5:51 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

valdesm: "want to do all the tourist-y things, so location is very important."

valdesm: "a small amount of night life is preferable to quiet residential neighbourhoods with empty streets at night."

With these two statements in your question, I would definitely recommend against staying in any of the places recommended by RJ Reynolds. Brooklyn is not "tourist-y" New York. And as easy as the subway is to get to Manhattan from those places, having to figure it out in the first place may not be so easy for non-English speaking tourists.
posted by Grither at 6:15 AM on February 26, 2013 [7 favorites]

Seconding - Brooklyn, Queens are bad choices for you.
posted by Kruger5 at 6:24 AM on February 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Village, absolutely.
posted by sandmanwv at 6:25 AM on February 26, 2013

Carroll Gardens? Do you want to give them a guided tour of the F?

(I actually think Brooklyn Heights is pretty solid idea - especially as Tourists will love the idea of being able to walk over the bridge to downtown and there are heaps of subway lines and express trains right there.
posted by JPD at 7:02 AM on February 26, 2013 [2 favorites]

Manhattan is a place where good neighborhoods are crammed up against bad. Your wallet may determine where you stay. A good suggestion is to stay in a motel in the suburbs in any town where a railroad runs through and is less than an hour away from Manhattan. Rents would be much cheaper. As you would be busy in the city where ever you go. (There are a bizzillion things to do and see, whatever your interests are and taxis can WHISK you to any place in minutes.)
posted by bo mar 914 at 7:29 AM on February 26, 2013

A good suggestion is to stay in a motel in the suburbs in any town where a railroad runs through and is less than an hour away from Manhattan.

No, that is a very bad suggestion, given that both want to stay in Manhattan and that they can afford to. Not to mention it'll probably be harder to find lots of people who speak Spanish out in the 'burbs.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:48 AM on February 26, 2013 [5 favorites]

I would also suggest the Gramercy/Flat Iron area. But yeah, Chelsea or the Village (though the Village can be really loud at night on the weekends) work too.
posted by greta simone at 8:49 AM on February 26, 2013

The best answer is Chelsea, in my opinion.
posted by the foreground at 1:07 PM on February 26, 2013

A friend of mine had the general advice that below the 100's and above 14th street, one should always go for the east side, for more value for money. If I travel alone or organized the trip, I always follow her advice. If someone else is organizing, they always go for the West side, because choises, broadway, blabla. Till now, my friend's advice has always served me best. Also, why not Williamsburg or Brooklyn Heights? My dad loved both areas. It's not like they die out completely at nighttime.
posted by mumimor at 1:36 PM on February 26, 2013

Williamsburg is way too young for OP's parents.
posted by JPD at 3:25 PM on February 26, 2013

« Older Considerations for choosing a solar panel provider   |   Is there a really basic computer user test out... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.