Nearly fifty million visitors came to New York City in 2010. So no wonder Manhattan hotel rooms are wildly pricey and sometimes hard to find.
Here's an alternative: Brooklyn, just across the Brooklyn Bridge from lower Manhattan, offers more affordable hotel rooms, easy taxi and subway access to Manhattan, and a quite different perspective on life in the Big Apple.
1. Brooklyn Hotels: A Breed Apart (and Cheaper)
At the upper end of Brooklyn hotels are the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge and the Starwood chain's Sheraton, both located in Downtown Brooklyn.
Both have pools, onsite or nearby parking, and in-room wifi for a fee.
Pros: Cheaper than comparable rooms in Manhattan. Good service, centrally located, easy access to multiple subway lines and Brooklyn Bridge, within walking distance of Brooklyn Heights, DUMBO, Fort Greene, and BAM and the Atlantic Center's Barclay's Nets Stadium. Easily accessible to LaGuardia and JFK.
Cons: More expensive than other Brooklyn hotels. Located in business district. Close to, but not in, pretty neighborhood settings. No shuttle service to/from area airports.
Several budget and mid-tier hotels have sprung up in Brooklyn, mostly located along the Third Avenue corridor that connects the neighborhoods of Boerum Hill, Park Slope and Gowanus. These hotels are also within easy reach of Carroll Gardens.
Ask about parking, wifi.
The hotels vary, but share certain pros and cons.
Pros: Affordable. Near to subway. Known brands. Within walking distance of historic neighborhoods and attractions.
Cons: These hotels located on less attractive streets between, not in, highly residential neighborhoods. Only one subway line. Late-night taxis recommended. Limited meal service. Websites show lovely brownstone neighborhoods but these areas, Prospect Park and Brooklyn Botanic Gardens are a ten to thirty minute walk.
Brooklyn has a few smaller hotels, strategically located near, but not quite in the midst of, recently gentrified neighborhoods. These areas: Williamsburg, Gowanus, Carroll Gardens and Park Slope. All have a lively (and much publicized) restaurant, retail and night life scene.
Ask about parking, wifi.
Pros: Affordable. Located close to points of cultural and culinary interest. Discounts sometimes available. Not chain hotels. Some strive to have a neighborhood feel.
Cons: In some, not all cases, locations can feel slightly desolate late at night. Quality can be variable; it's a good idea to check a website such as YELP.com for recent customer feedback.
Travelers who enjoy bed and breakfasts will be pleased to discover the wealth of B&B options in Brooklyn.
People who want to be in a specific neighborhood in Brooklyn for business or personal reasons can often find adequate to fabulous accommodations in or near their neighborhood of choice.
Pros: Cozy and a personal touch. Get a sense of real Brooklyn life. Often cheaper than hotels. Some have liberal pet policy. Some offer kitchenette facilities. Can negotiate price for longer term stays.
Cons: In many cases, further from Manhattan. Word of mouth is only or best referral. Small places book up quickly. Ask about such amenities as wireless, parking, nearest subway lines, and availability of local restaurants.
Observant Jewish families who wish to celebrate the Jewish holidays in Brooklyn or who wish to visit Brooklyn for family or business purposes can choose from three different kosher hotels.
Learn more about kosher and Sabbath observant hotels in Brooklyn.
Find out what hotels are nearest to the Brooklyn Bridge, one of New York City's most popular tourist attractions!