New York - Midtown a good place to stay?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Febs, May 24, 2007.

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  1. Febs

    Febs Established Member

    Aug 15, 2006
    #1 Febs, May 24, 2007
    Last edited: May 24, 2007
    Hi guys,

    Having never been to New York I figured I'd ask around, and where better than here? :)

    My girlfriend and I are spending a week in NYC in Sept and we wanted to choose a decent, "central" location to stay in. We did a bit of research and came up with Midtown, which seems to be reasonably central to a lot of attractions. Obviously NYC is a huge city (and hence you can't be near everything), but is this a good location for someone wanting to experience the usual tourist NY in a week (Sun-Thurs)?

    We've booked a room at the Dylan Hotel ($225USD/night through work...almost half the best rate I could find elsewhere so can't complain! Mid Sept seems to be the most expensive period)...has anyone had any experience with this place? Reviews I've read have praised it, but if anyone has any experiences (good or bad) please share. :)

    Lastly - you hear stories about how unsafe NYC is...but really, is it just like any other major city? ie: Has its good areas, has its bad areas? Would you generally be pretty safe catching public transport at most times of the day and night?

    Oh and while I'm at it - does anyone know of a large Budget or Hertz in NYC, apart from the one at JFK? We're renting a car (doing the looong drive from NY to LA, via Grand Canyon and Las Vegas), and would rather not pick it up from an airport if I can help it. The respective websites list all the NY offices, but don't list which ones would have a large range.

    Thanks all. Much appreciated. :)

    - Febs.

  2. simongr

    simongr Enthusiast

    Jul 10, 2006
    Well second time lucky posting this :rolleyes:

    Right - I looove Nwe York. Only been there three times now but to me it really feels like home. I normally stay around mid town - Kitano, the W and one near the UN. You are walking distance to Central Park, 5th Avenue for shopping (be careful at the top of 5th near the Park as you might get steered into Tiffany's my ms. febs ;)), Empire State and Grand Central.

    I have always felt safe in NY - I havent had the need to ride the subway late at night - but I dont do that in Sydney or London either. Cabs are interesting and not too expensive (cab ride from Mid town to Staten Island Ferry/Wall Street was about US$12). I normally walk around by myself around 9-11PM.

    I have trips 4 and 5 planned there this August and September and trip 7 next July (that one with mrssimongr and probably a little more touristy than the other business trips) and I had my first trip there in August last year - did I say I looove New York.

    Definitely grab a Lonely Planet Guide (I use the "Best of XXXX" guides - neat and light for a short trip) - but its very easy to navigate in NY as long as you can count :D

    Sorry I can't help re hire cars.

    Have a great time

  3. drron

    drron Enthusiast

    Jul 4, 2002
    Sunshine Coast
    Well you are talking of my second home.We are there at least twice a year spending between 2 and 6 weeks a year there.our son lives in Manhattan.For the tourist midtown is the place to stay.a lot of the touristy places are close.However it is easy to travel around and the bus and subway systems are easy to use-always get a Metrocard you can get a 7 day unlimited use card.Late at night we walk if close to where we are staying(up to a mile) or catch a cab.We often walk from Tudor city(overlooks the UN) to the hilton on 6th ave after midnight and have not felt unsafe.I feel more comfortable than i would in sydney or Brisbane walking around late at night.
    I would suggest you chrck out trip advisor and the new york city forums where you can get lots of good advice.
    New York City Forum - TripAdvisor
    I would particularly reccomend a Big Apple Greeter-volunteers who will show you around a part of the city and give you a personal tour that you wont normally get as a tourist-it is a free service.
    I shouldnt mention the shopping should I?However as you are driving across the states you will have plenty of opportunity to visit factory outlets which although they stock the previous seasons fashion it is what is just coming in to the stores in australia.Mrsdrron swears by them.
    If you just put a dummy booking into the hertz site for the particular location you want to use you can see what is available there-usually most of their range.However New york is the most expensive place to hire a car and it may be worth getting amtrak to philly and hiring there.We now use Car Rental Worldwide - Free Upgrades & Bonuses - Best Rates - Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane - GlobalCARS as their rates include all insurance and you can choose either Hertz or alamo with them.We use hertz and despite paying through a third party still get the hertz No.1 club benefits such as not paying for mrsdrron to be a driver.At the moment they are having a sale on US rentals until May 31 but you do have to prepay.
    Enjoy NYC.
  4. Member

    Nov 28, 2006
    Plenty of decent hotels, however none with decent prices. (Can you tell I am not a fan of
    New York… although most people I know are!) You have found a good price for an ensuite room.

    Good location, and you can actually walk to many places from there… I suggest experiencing the sights, sounds & smells of
    New York at street level; use the subway if the walking novelty wears off. (Plus there are the hop on, hop off loop buses from Gray Line.)

    Yes. Big city street smart rule 1: don’t look like a tourist, act like a local. (I have not personally encountered problems in
    New York, however I know people who have been mugged there, but then I know people who have been mugged in Sydney too. New York does attract more than its fair share of Yankee weirdos, but they add their own special colour to the city I guess.)

    My advice, be aware of the +++ you get with some US hire companies! Some will give all inclusive quotes (including insurance/taxes/charges) and some won’t. One way cross country will be expensive (unless you can do it quickly, as part of a return the car to base deal, but what you gain in lower price you lose in time to stop and see the sights), but there are many car hire firms located through out Manhattan. Although you may get a better deal from a car hire company outside of New York (that doesn’t charge New York prices)… Your hotel is extremely close to Grand Central, so considering a train journey part of the way, then picking up a car elsewhere, may help keep costs under control? (PLUS, I am not sure if you have ever driven on the right side of the road before; if not NYC wouldn’t be my choice of place to first time!)

    US road trips are the stuff of legends, and as all my favourite parts of the US lie beyond that small island called Manhattan, I am filled with envy... When you get out there and drive, you get to see just how wonderfully diverse Americans and their country are!
  5. Febs

    Febs Established Member

    Aug 15, 2006
    Thanks guys, appreciate it. Looks like we picked a good location.

    Re: The car hire - unfortunately it will be a one-way hire (after arriving in LAX, we'll be keeping the car for a few weeks while we do LA/SD/SF/etc...), and I'll be 23 turning 24 during the hire, so there's that <25 fee as well. I have two different corporate discounts I can use with Hertz/Budget, and neither includes the young driver fee (and I think one also doesn't have a 1-way fee...but the websites always give me a different answer!) even though we may be paying a bit more up front, we should be ahead in the long run (NY <25 fees are up to $50USD per day!) We definitely want a full-size sedan (and definitely DON'T want an SUV like a Chrysler Pacifica...ugh).

    Training/flying to a nearby state is a definite option (and something I've been considering), but I don't want to travel too far from NY, as I really do want to make it a cross-USA trip (ie: I don't want to start from Dallas or anything :)).

    I've done a fair bit of driving in the US (mostly in Kansas City, but also in LA) and feel very comfortable driving on the right. Becomes second nature after about an hour I find. Girlfriend not so much, but I'll drive in the major cities and she can help with the highway driving.

    *Sigh* If only US car hire was as cheap as Australian car hire. I can get a Falcadore for ~$50/day, with all taxes, and a $500 excess (and I'm 23). :(

    - Febs.

    PS: This is what Budget gave me when I rented a full-size sedan in Kansas City a few weeks ago. Wasn't the quickest thing on 4 wheels, but with a 5.7L Hemi V8 it had plenty of torque for effortless highway overtaking. :)
  6. dragonman

    dragonman Active Member

    Apr 3, 2007
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    Been to NY many times and drove a few years ago from LA to NY and took six months to do it. So here is my advice.

    To reduce the cost of the rental car - get an Entertainment book (or check that your RACV or NRMA is affiliated with AAA). Even though the offers are aimed at Australian rentals, in my experience US firms will recognise them and offer discounts. Be prepared to pay a hefty drop-off fee. I would recommend that you pick up your car from JFK after your hotel stay. That way you do not drive in Manhattan and you can get on the freeways and keep going. You can catch the subway to JFK.

    I would also have some kind of GPS. I would buy it here, get the maps for the USA and take it with. The alternative is $10 US a day. This removes heaps of the pressure of navigating the freeways etc.

    I have taken the subways and buses in Manhattan for years with no probs. Keep your wallet in your front pocket (they call the back pocket the sucker pocket) and generally on public transport avoid making lengthy eye contact with people you do not know. You can buy multi-trip tickets in the subways that work on buses as well.

    As others have said just blend in. Street food (hot dogs etc) is cheap and good quality. They get more expensive the closer you get to a tourist attraction.

    Good luck
  7. Maca44

    Maca44 Established Member

    Sep 2, 2005
    And for those with not too much driving in the USA one tip I was given many years ago with the Interstate "I" highways is the odd numbered highways go in a north/south direction and the even numbers in an east/west direction.
  8. Febs

    Febs Established Member

    Aug 15, 2006
    Thanks for the tip re: Entertainment Book. Have been getting them for the last 3 years, but never considered using it for o/s rentals. :)
    Due to the increased cost of hiring from airports, I think we'll hire from a city branch. Seeing as we'll be keeping the car for ~24 days, the slight inconvenience on the first day should outweigh the extra (daily I think) tax to pickup the car from an airport.

    Without a doubt. We're planning on buying one over there before we pickup the hire car. I figure they're getting cheaper all the time, so the price different between renting one for 24 days (over $150USD) and buying one shouldn't be too great. Then we can sell it at the end, or buy Aussie maps for it. Probably sell though - maps are $$$.

    - Febs.
  9. Keith009

    Keith009 Established Member

    Mar 6, 2005
    Brisbane / Sydney
    Enjoy NYC - one of my favourite cities. :)

    Midtown is cool for a first time visit - but don't get stuck there doing touristy things since there are so many cool neighbourhoods to check out! I got over the crowds (90% of which are tourists) after the first 2 days. But I was staying at the W Times Square so no choice but to be slaughtered by the INSANE crowds to get anywhere. It is not as bad outside Times Sq.

    Don't forget to check out NYC-style pizza. I can highly reccommend Lombardi's at Spring and Mott (in Little Italy) - ok that's not numbered like the rest but just head to Little Italy/SoHo and anyone would be able to tell you where Spring and Mott is.

    I've never felt unsafe walking around NYC or even taking the subway at night, whether taking the subway back to Manhattan from Gettysburgh or walking out of a nightclub for some early morning breakfast at 3.30am. :D
  10. Very interesting to read the comments of seasoned visitors to NYC. My wife and I will arrive there on 11th June for the first time. We are staying in the Skyline Hotel on 10th Avenue near W49th St. (Hell's Kitchen) for about $280 a night. We are doing a "global" tour of Manhattan and the rivers the following day so that we can refine what to see in a short visit. I've bought the Lonely Planet NYC and have found that the Metrocard seems to be a great way of getting around. My youngest daughter tells me that there is a great bar in the NY Marriott Marquis (48th floor) at Times Sq. 1535 Broadway. Can anyone advise me about dress codes in NY? After reading the comments in the previous posts I'm really looking forward to my first NYC experience.
  11. drron

    drron Enthusiast

    Jul 4, 2002
    Sunshine Coast
    Driving out of Manhattan is no problem.I have done it many times.The problem in Manhattan is having a car that you must park-ouch.We generally use the Hertz branch on west 55th as it is closer to the Hilton but I have used branches on the east side when staying there and about 38th and 48 th streets from memory.I find driving in the states much easier than home.
  12. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    #12 Mal, May 24, 2007
    Last edited: May 24, 2007
    I have only been to NYC once (for around 5 days), so take my advice with the value that it's worth!

    Hotel's are horribly priced for tourists. And it gets worse with the current shortage of hotel rooms. Keep in mind the various taxes that are applied on top of most rates as well - they add quite a bit (including a levy to build a new convention centre :confused: )

    One tip I've seen is to sub-let/lease an apartment for the time you are there. You avoid most/all of the taxes and get a pretty good deal (although the apartments tend to be small ... just like the hotel rooms). I'm not sure about the finer details on how to arrange though. You could also try Priceline, but normally need access to a U.S based Credit card.

    I liked New York, but didn't love it. Will head back, but lots of things about the place are a little annoying to me.

    re safety, I felt safe, but stayed very aware of my surroundings. There is crime happening, and police everywhere but not so much more than other places. I did see the kerfuffle after a (gang related) stabbing when I was there. But I didn't have any issues and have been told that the subway is relatively safe at night (ie no worse or better than Syd or any of the other major cities... use common sense!).

    I have some 2007 American Entertainment books in my possession. Check out the American website at The 2007 Entertainment® Book - Great Savings on Dining, Shopping, Travel, Attractions, Movie Tickets & More! and see if there are any deals you think you can use. If you need a card/voucher to present, then I'm sure I can get one to you. The Australian Entertainment book also has some discounts for rental, but I'm not sure they apply in America. Also check out FlyerTalk in the Hertz/Car rental Forums for some discounts that tend to be geared towards Americans.
  13. Blackcat

    Blackcat Junior Member

    Feb 21, 2007
    Re. car rental locations, there are plenty in and around NYC - I suggest that you check the Hertz (and other) websites to see if they have interactive maps that plot the locations of their depots (or get the addresses from their sites and find them on Google Maps).

    We're staying in NYC in July and managed to snare a Hertz site to drop off our car (210 West 77th Street) which is about 200m from the hotel we'd previously booked.
  14. Craigo

    Craigo Intern

    Sep 22, 2003
    To add to this, the major cross-country interstates are numbered in ascending order from west to east and from south to north, so the I-5 runs down the west coast from the Canadian to Mexican borders and the I-95 runs down the east coast from Maine to Florida. The I-10 runs from Florida to LA and the I-90 runs from Boston to Seattle. So an interstate ending in '5' or '0' is likely to get you a fair way across the country.
  15. IrvYalom

    IrvYalom Newbie

    May 24, 2007
  16. NM


    Aug 27, 2004
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    And odd numbers highways run North/South, while even numbers highways run East/West.
  17. Tassie

    Tassie Junior Member

    May 26, 2007
    I have rented cars in the US every year for the last 7 years and could never find out how to get around paying the high cost of insurance (doubled the cost) There are sites which offer low cost car insurance but the policies are only available to US residents. Orbitz offered all inclusive insurance, but you could not pay for it with an Australian credit card.

    Last year I finally cracked it and booked through Nova. Cheap car hire UK, Europe & worldwide from Novacarhire
    All insurance, taxes, etc are included in the quote. You pay a percentage (10%?) up front and the rest to the actual rental company you pick up the car from. It was very simple and saved me over $1000 on a five week rental.

    Often US companies don't quote insurance rates unless you specifically ask because people who live in the US get rental car insurance included with their home car insurance.

    I know many people think that travel insurance which covers them for rental car excess covers them in the US. It doesn't!! It varies by state but mostly in the US, there is no such concept as "excess" - you pay the lot. (I.e if the car is stolen you pay the entire replacement cost, if you are in an accident and there is $10,000 damage to the car you pay $10,000)

    I don't know why this is not better publicised. I have phoned major insurance comanies, major travel companies and even the insurance ombudsman here and no one knows about this. The insurance and travel companies all said they would recommend their rental car excess insurance to travellers to the US - even though it is useless.
  18. Febs

    Febs Established Member

    Aug 15, 2006
    Luckily we'll be picking up the car on our way out of NYC - so there shouldn't be any need to stop anywhere in NYC. :)

    We considered that (first read about it in "Paperplane", a great travel mag I found in the QP once) as it seemed like a pretty good option, but we're happy enough with the rate we got. Based on the on-line rates alone though, I definitely would have looked at sub-letting an apartment more closely. Thanks for the generous offer re: vouchers too. I'll check out the site (might even be worth buying one myself). :)

    Tassie - Yeah, I've always found the rental insurance situation in the US a little interesting. Never knew it was typically included in people's own car it makes a bit more sense. Thanks for the links too - I'll check them out.

    Thanks for the tips re: highway numbering too guys...very handy. :)

    - Febs.
  19. alect

    alect Member

    Jun 20, 2006
    I used to live in Manhattann before moving to LA. Love NYC.

    Midtown is fine - not necessarily my cup of tea but central - not many places in Manhattan are not central.

    NYC is safe - just like any other city - in fact I though more so since there are always people around. I used to walk everywhere at all hours of the day and night. Even caught the subway at 3am coming back from a party - no problems.

    Car hire - there are lots of Hertz garages:

    Lower East 13th (between 5th and University Place)
    12 East 13th Street
    Hours Of Operation: 0630-2300 7 Days

    Midtown East 40th (between 2nd and 3rd)
    222 East 40th Street
    Hours Of Operation: Mo-Sa 0700-2400, Su 0700-0100

    Midtown East 48th (between 1st and 2nd)
    310 East 48th Street , 1st Floor
    Hours Of Operation: 0630-2200 7 Days

    Midtown West 34th (between 8tn and 9th)
    323 West 34th Street
    Hours Of Operation: Mo-Fr 0630-2000, Sa 0700-1500, Su 0700-2100

    Midtown West 55th (between 6th and 7th)
    126 West 55th Street
    Hours Of Operation: Mo-Th 0630-2200, Fr-Su 0630-2300
    There is also a National off Union Square I used to use.

    I would also try to rent from a location outside of manahttan since I believe there is a large surcharge/premium on Manhattan rentals - try NJ or Queens/Brooklyn.

    September and fall are the best periods to visit NYC - the weather tends to be perfect.
  20. alien

    alien Member

    Nov 6, 2002
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