Help us find a vacation rental for the end of Sept in NYC
August 22, 2013 9:07 AM   Subscribe

We're driving to New York City at the end of September for about a week. We plan to park at the Weehawken, NJ, ferry terminal ($15/night, quick trip into NYC). Finding a place to stay in NYC is a bit of a problem.

I checked VRBO and AirBandB and found good places, many managed by companies. However, a Tripadvisor search suggests that first, it's illegal for someone to rent short term (if the owner is not on site) and many of these companies are scammers. AAAAArrrgh!
So I checked sites like and found some good 4 star hotels within our budget, but slightly fearful of buying (renting) a pig in a poke.
Are we doomed to stay at a Holiday Inn Express, or is there some way that you can reassure me that the Hotwire deals or the VRBO companies are safe purchases? Please do not tell me that Hotwire is owned by Expedia or whatever. That doesn't matter. What we want is about 5-7 days in NYC for about $300-$350 per day in a reasonable place.
posted by mbarryf to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (13 answers total)
Of course TripAdvisor will try to keep you off of VRBO & AirB&B; they want your business! I would not let that dissuade me from renting a place on those sites if everything else was in order (it was well reviewed, etc). That said, is reputable, too, should you decide to stay in a hotel.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:18 AM on August 22, 2013 [3 favorites]

Okay, yes, it technically is not legal for short-term sublets, but the practical reality is that it's illegal the way jaywalking is illegal - something that technically is against the law but police frequently don't do anything about it because it's such small potatoes. Yes, there are occasional cases where some AirBnB'er may get slammed (not the guest, the host), but that's something that usually comes after a lengthy string of unease from the neighbors and then a really loud and raucous person comes to rent the place and the neighbors all say "fuck this" and report 'em.

My own friends' Airbnb space in Brooklyn is not one such case - they took pains to check with the landlord that they'd be cool with that, the neighbors are all cool, and they screen their clients fairly carefully. So that's at least one Airbnb option that would be dealable for you - and their apartment is really close to a couple subways and a short walk to some beautiful Brooklyn attractions.

I do respect if you're still not comfortable with Airbnb, but it isn't quite as shady a prospect as advertised.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:19 AM on August 22, 2013 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Any comments specific to I have been communicating with them about one of their properties.
posted by mbarryf at 9:26 AM on August 22, 2013

AirBNB totally works in NYC, particularly in Brooklyn, as do all your other options. That being said, it's like everything else (including hotels): sometimes the mattress is just on the floor. Heh.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:36 AM on August 22, 2013

My mom and her friend had a FANTASTIC time aboard, I kid you not, this Arctic expedition ship docked in Red Hook. (Her friend's review is listed under "Katharine.") The owner's name is Milo and he's pretty great.

Plus then you can tell your friends you are staying aboard an Arctic expedition yacht, which is pretty much the best part.
posted by Madamina at 9:37 AM on August 22, 2013 [7 favorites]

Another vote for Airbnb in NYC -- I use it all the time.
posted by TonyRobots at 9:51 AM on August 22, 2013

If you're not comfortable selecting a hotel sight unseen, you shouldn't go with Priceline/Hotwire or other special rates. It sounds like this is making you pretty anxious. That isn't a fun way to get ready for a vacation.

I would pay a little more and remove all anxiety and stay at a place you're really excited about.

Are you a AAA member? Seniors? Students? Try calling a hotel that you like the reviews for on Tripadvisor or similar and ask them for a discount. Personally, I've used airbnb and VRBO frequently and with great success both as a guest and host, but they are definitely services for someone who is comfortable exploring a little beyond the typical.

Hope you have a wonderful trip!
posted by arnicae at 9:53 AM on August 22, 2013

What we want is about 5-7 days in NYC for about $300-$350 per day in a reasonable place

That is really no problem at that price point.. As arnicae points out, you seem to have a certain amount of anxiety associated with reserving a hotel room sight-unseen, but this AskMe thread had a lot of good suggestions.
posted by deanc at 9:58 AM on August 22, 2013

I would consider staying on the NJ side....there are a lot of decent, reasonably priced hotels in Weehawken and Secaucus....there is also a W hotel in Hoboken. The majority of these options would cost you less than $200 a night and would be considerably quieter than staying in the city. You could park for free at your hotel and take the ferry or bus from Weehawken; the ferry, PATH train, or bus from Hoboken; or NJ transit bus or train from Secaucus. Any of these options would have you in midtown Manhattan in 20 minutes (outside of rush hour). The PATH trains and many of the buses run 24 hours a day....not sure about the ferries.
posted by kribensa at 10:24 AM on August 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

What kribensa said, x2. We are a family of four and the last few times we visited NYC we stayed at the Candlewood Suites in Jersey City, just across the river from the WTC site. It's clean and affordable (~$200/night for a 1 bedroom suite w/a kitchen, and our bedroom had a door). It was also convenient, with good access to many public transportation choices. It lacked character, so this is probably too generic if that's something you want. But I have no hesitation in recommending it as a clean, affordable, convenient place to stay.
posted by mosk at 10:51 AM on August 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

AirBnB is the way to go. You have a decent amount of purchase protection through the website and if the photos say "verified" on them, then an AirBnB rep went to the location to take the pictures. Look for people with previous reviews. While most Craigslist vacation rentals are scams, AirBnB is legit. AirBnB rentals in NYC are "illegal" in that the owner/prime tenant will be fined for zoning violations if the neighbors report it; the neighbors will only report it if it's rented out all of the time, the guests are loud, and the neighbors are assholes. Out of the tens of thousands of AirBnb properties available in NYC, this has happened only a handful of times.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:07 AM on August 22, 2013

You should not have trouble finding hotels for $350 a night. New York is full of hotels. If you don't like the first one leave and go to another one.
posted by interplanetjanet at 12:53 PM on August 22, 2013 is my new go-to for hotels. I love the layout (their map feature is especially handy) & I couldn't find better prices anywhere (ran the circuit: Kayak, Expedia, Hipmunk, etc.). Good review system too.

I found several places in your price range all over southern Manhattan (for a trip in July): the Affinia Manhattan (Midtown), funky places like Yotel (near the Garment District) & Room Mate Grace (in Times Square - ew) & our choice, a suite at the Conrad down on the Hudson in Battery Park City. There are worse places than the Holiday Inn Express, but soooo many better places to experience in NYC.
posted by East Siberian patchbelly wrangler at 9:41 PM on August 22, 2013

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