Where to stay in New York City?
June 9, 2014 9:36 AM   Subscribe

I will be in New York for five weeks in December/January, and need to find a relatively affordable place to stay. More inside.

This will be a fairly intense work-related trip for me, and I would like to find a quiet place to stay. I am aiming to minimize the potential for any accomodation-related issues, and am putting a priority on that. For instance, I would rather not share my living space with anyone and I would rather not use Craiglist to find a sublet.

Here are more details about my situation:

I will be working near Bryant Park and the Stephen A. Schwarzman branch of the New York Public Library. (A convenient address for mapping purposes is Fifth Avenue at 42nd Street.)

I will be relying exclusively on public transportation, and would like to stay within a forty-five minute commute if at all possible. Frankly, and probably obviously, a shorter commute would be better.

I will have around $1,000 to spend on housing. I could spend a little more, but would like to spend less.

I am hoping to be able to prepare some meals in the space. A kitchenette would be awesome, but I would settle for a microwave and a dorm-style fridge.

So, how should I go about finding a place to stay? And where should I stay? Someone I know suggested that I look for places in Long Island City in Queens. Any recommendations for particular accomodations in that area? Thanks for your help!
posted by ASlackerPestersMums to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Your office is in just about the most convenient location in Manhattan for Public Transportation. Astoria/LIC would be a fine option - as would other areas of Brooklyn and Upper Manhattan.

My main thing to tell you would be - this isn't going to be a problem, but you really can't start looking until the fall.
posted by JPD at 9:46 AM on June 9, 2014

For a budget of $1,000 for five weeks, skip hotels and look at airbnb/craigslist listings. I agree with JPD that you're going to have to wait until closer to your trip to nail down housing (unless your company will pay for a hotel, in which case your budget will need to be much more than $1,000).

As to locations: Upper Manhattan, Astoria/LIC, downtown Brooklyn, etc.
posted by dfriedman at 10:01 AM on June 9, 2014

$1000 for 5 weeks in NYC is not a lot of money, I doubt you'll find anything that ISN'T Airbnb or Criagslist. Frankly, you'd be lucky to find something for $1000 per WEEK.

Check out the New York Loft Hostel, they have private twins available with a communal kitchen. Even that is $70 per night. A 3 bed share is $55 per night.

$1000 for the whole trip is only $25 per night. I don't think you can afford to do this.

What happens if you can't find housing?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:09 AM on June 9, 2014

Are you affiliated with a university? If you are you could look for a house-sitting situation for a NY faculty member going away during that time. Or if you're a member of some professional organization you could put the word out that way. Keep networking, use social media to the max to get something lined up. $1,000 is not going to pay for much of anything, let alone the kind of peaceful space you need. Good luck.
posted by mareli at 10:20 AM on June 9, 2014

Also over your budget but check it out: The Webster, within walking distance to Bryant Park so what you spend on rent, you'd save on transport, and it includes meals.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 10:24 AM on June 9, 2014 [3 favorites]

$1000 is on the low end of what you would pay for a room in a two bedroom apartment that's close to Manhattan. If you don't want to deal with Craigslist, now would be a great time to start asking around -- friends you have in the city, other MetaFilter users -- to see if anyone has a spare room they can rent you for the time you're in town.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:32 AM on June 9, 2014

Apparently there are several places like the Webster mentioned above. I just googled "women's residence" "New York" and found too many to list here.
posted by mareli at 10:34 AM on June 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Your best bet is going to AirBNB or looking at the Columbia/NYU/etc sublet pages, especially if your trip tracks winter break at these universities. You may also want to look at something like Stamford, CT, Yonkers, NY, or somewhere else along the Metro-North line, since that will take you directly into GCT (a block away from NYPL). LIC/Sunnyside is cheaper than Manhattan, but be aware, the 7 train is always broken or delayed.

Maybe you can look at doing something like cat sitting for someone (over holidays/winter break) in exchange for a reduced sublet cost.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:35 AM on June 9, 2014

Thanks for all of the answers so far! And I really appreciate the concern about the financial feasibility of this venture---that is my main worry about this too.

To address Ruthless Bunny's questions, I will be in New York conducting research. The institution supporting my work is giving me around $2,000 to use for this trip. I was hoping to keep the trip budget within that amount, but I am also willing to spend some of my own savings. Maybe I should think of the $2000 as my housing budget and be willing to pay out-of-pocket for food and transportation?

Also, to answer mareli's question, I am/will be affiliated with a university.

Places like the Webster are exactly what I had in mind. I didn't realize that they were called "women's residences." Does anyone have any experience with any of these residences?

Thanks again!
posted by ASlackerPestersMums at 10:57 AM on June 9, 2014

Columbia University's International House used to have some accomodations as well (5 years ago or so) -- my in-laws used to stay there. That's very close to the 1 train in Morningside Heights.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:26 AM on June 9, 2014

Seconding I-House: My brother spent his grad school years in Columbia University's International House [*], and had a really good time.

Back then, they seemed to have many short term openings / sublet type arrangements - check with them. (Alas, my knowledge is also pretty old at this point.)

[*] "It's not in Harlem, dammit! It's in Morningside Heights"
posted by RedOrGreen at 11:35 AM on June 9, 2014

I lived at the Webster years ago. They're not deluxe accommodations, but for the price and location, you're probably not going to beat it. It was clean enough and safe, and I could have as much or as little social contact as I wanted since my room was all mine. The deciding factor for me was that a room could be arranged in advance, so moving into the Webster was basically like checking into a hotel.

When I lived at the Webster, there was a microwave in the common space--at least back then, fridges and microwaves weren't permitted in the rooms. (A caveat: I occasionally bought dinner out, even though dinner was included in my rent, because the food at the Webster wasn't always to my liking. So maybe factor in a little budgetary wiggle room for that.)

One other thing: are you doing research at a university here? Many universities shut down for a couple of weeks that time of year-- for instance, the university I work at in lower Manhattan is completely closed for about two weeks over the holidays, and most faculty don't come back until the term begins at the end of January.
posted by serialcomma at 12:41 PM on June 9, 2014

Another thought is to register with Care.com as a pet sitter/house sitter. I'm thinking a lot of people may be out of town for the holidays, and perhaps you can find a long-term gig. Couldn't hurt. You might even be able to get paid for it!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:06 PM on June 9, 2014

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