Where to stay in Manhattan?

My wife & I are planning on visiting NYC for about 5 days in May during our annual vacation. I’m looking for recommendations for areas of Manhattan to either stay in or avoid. Last time I was in the city was probably 2003 or so, & we stayed on the Upper West Side for a wedding. That area is great, but it’s fairly expensive. The criteria we’re looking for, in order of importance, are:

  • safe
  • inexpensive (recognizing this is relative anywhere in Manhattan)
  • close to subway stations

I’m fairly familiar with the city; lived in New Jersey for 2.5 years & often visited my friend at Columbia’s Med School. I just haven’t been there recently, & have little experience paying for lodging there. Thanks in advance for any information or advice!

In 2005 we stayed in the W @ times square. Not the pit it used to be in the 90s, but not cheap either. ~300.$ per night for 2 adults, 2 kids.

Edit: times square isn’t the pit it was. The W was brand new, nice.

We were in Manhattan a couple of years ago and stayed at the Murray Hill East Suites. This isn’t a fancy hotel. But it was inexpensive, and clean, if a bit old. We weren’t spending a lot of time in the hotel room so as a place to come back to and just sleep, it was great. We had a suite and the rooms were large as well as having a large living room and a little kitchenette.

Recently I stayed at the Millennium UN Plaza on a travelzoo deal. It had a drop dead gorgeous view of the city and river.

You really don’t need to worry about safe anywhere in Manhattan (maybe parts of harlem, but you’re not going that far up anyway).

I personally am not a fan of the mid town area (and I work there!), I would consider staying somewhere downtown. The Union Square area is nice, centrally located on top of a bunch of subways (you can get to midtown & get to the west and east village, soho, and the like).

I’d avoid the upper east or upper west side. Nice areas, sure, but not much to do compared with midtown and downtown.

You didn’t really mention what you’re planning or like to do though, so it’s a little hard to make a recommendation.

If you want something nice but relatively affordable, check out the Park South. Karen and I have stayed there a number of times. It’s in a good location (28th St., near the subway), the rooms are nice, and the rate is around $180 a night, which is pretty inexpensive by Manhattan standards. It also includes free breakfast every morning in their restaurant, the Black Duck, so factor that in as well.

If price is less of an object, I like the Hyatt Grand Central.

I lived in NYC for 10 years before moving to FL. I have lived next to the UN, Murray Hill and Upper East Side, so I know all those areas pretty well.

You haven’t really said what you want to do while you are there. You can get alot done in 5 days, from the touristy stuff in Times Square and up/down 5th Ave (Park, Museums, food, etc.) to the more eclectic areas of Tribeca/SoHo and even the boros. (highly recommended).

I personally like the Murray Hill area the best for longer trips because you are most centralized for heading anywhere in the city and have access to most subways/buses. You still get a trailing edge of midtown, but it also has a more residential feel. I would second the Park South recommendation above.

I always stay in a hotel on the jersey side of the river right beside a path station. Its tons cheaper, a nice hotel, a beautiful neighborhood and you can jump on the path and be anywhere in manhattan in a few minutes.

Last summer a couple of friends and I stayed at Days Hotel Broadway. Considering we spent most of our time south of Houston St., the location was a maybe a bit too far north. Really close to the subway station, though, and within walking distance of a Shake Shack, which is key.

It’s not the fanciest or most modern place, and the rooms are a bit small, but we were on an extremely limited budget. It ended up being perfect, though. Once we left the place in the morning we’d basically only come back to change for dinner and then to sleep.

My apologies for not being more specific; we’re just in the early stages of planning so I haven’t been able to bring myself up to date. We like to check out museums (art & science), funky/ethnic neighborhoods (for restaurants, street vendors and farmer’s markets), college/university campuses and nearby used bookstores, and interesting architectural buildings or areas (e.g., huge churches, strange buildings). I enjoyed the Greenwich Village area when I used to visit regularly, although I don’t think there are many museums in that part of town.

We tend to avoid anything related to organized tours or gimmicky attractions (e.g., observation decks with rotating restaurants), although I might want to finally visit the Statue of Liberty this time. My wife likes to check out trendy fashion & shopping districts, but we usually just window-shop rather than go in the store or purchase high-end stuff.

We often eat cheap for breakfast & lunch so we can splurge a bit on dinner & wine, so picking restaurants will be a wonderful challenge. We rarely stay out late on vacation, & tend to head to after-dinner places like Irish pubs. Not interested in dance clubs or highly trendy bars with $25 covers and $14 martinis that have no gin. We’d probably be interested in seeing a theater performance one day, but probably something off-Broadway. I remember seeing these crazy kids that called themselves “Blue Man Group” in the early 90s…good times.

Don’t know if that helps – all that stuff is just a subway ride away in NYC, so I guess I didn’t think it mattered whether we stay really close to an action area – but I appreciate the suggestions so far & would welcome additional comments.

The only time I’ve stayed in NYC, I stayed at the Hilton near 30 Rock and the Square. I planned to hate Manhattan because it looks so crowded and noisy. I was very very wrong. Anyway, that hotel was very nice. I can’t say whether it is cheap because I got a discount for being with a conference group. I suspect it’s NOT cheap, but no decent place in Manhattan itself will be.

I stayed for a few nights in the Hotel 17 in Greenwich Village, and it was really cool. Shared bathrooms, though. It’s been used to shoot various movies.

They shoot movies in the shared bathrooms? Is it scat porn?

I don’t know, I don’t watch Woody Allen movies, as he’s a notorious pervert.