Some basic geography; Manhattan is an island, a long thin island running 13.5 miles roughly north to south. Only 2.3 miles wide at the widest point and bounded by the Hudson river on the West and the East River on the East. Most visitors want to stay close to the action in Midtown with it’s famous attractions like Times Square, the Empire State Building and Central Park. When searching for “Manhattan hotels” visitors are often tempted by other less expensive areas of Manhattan such as Lower Manhattan and the Financial District (esp on weekends or in the summer months) or north to Harlem or Washington Heights. But it can take over 30 minutes on a crowded subway to get to Midtown.
Take a quick look at a map and you’ll see that there are parts of other New York City boroughs that are much closer to midtown – less than 10 minutes by Subway. Try Brooklyn or especially Queens for a more authentic New York City stay. Hotels near subway stops are just a few minutes from the centre of the action. Looking at the map below, (click on it to make it bigger) the subway stops at Queensboro Plaza and Queens Bridge are just 2 or 3 stops from Times Square or Rockefeller Center.
This part of Queens is known as Long Island City and physically is less than 2 miles from the centre of the action on Manhattan but is a world away from the glitz and expense. There are a number of hotels in this area – chain hotels and private hotels – where you will find rooms in the $100 to $200 a night range – even at the most expensive times of year. The area around the subway stops is as safe as any in New York city with lots of interesting ethnic restaurants to explore. If you are feeling energetic you can stroll across Queensboro (or 59th Street) Bridge to reach Manhattan – taking you over Roosevelt Island.
You can use the search box on the left to search for live availability and prices for hotels in all of New York City, or just Long Island City. If you think that Long Island City might be the budget location for you, these are a few of our favorite hotels in the neighborhood.