Recommend a good hotel in New York City

My niece’s high school choral group is performing in New York City the Sunday after Thanksgiving Day. We’d like to go see her. I’ve never been to NYC before, so have no idea of where to stay.

The choral group is staying at the Hyatt near Grand Central Station. We’ve looked into that, but it’s quite pricy. I’d like to find a moderately priced hotel (for New York City, that is! I understand things are pricy there) with some character near Grand Central Station. Can someone recommend something?

There are approximately one billion hotels in NYC. They’re all pricey. However, I have found a nifty feature on hotels.com that allows you to search hotels by proximity to landmark. Included in the landmarks is Grand Central Terminal. (Terminal, dammit, it’s Grand Central Terminal)

Anyway, Here ya go.

Last December we stayed at a place called Park Central Hotel. It was just off Broadway and very near Times Square. It was also very reasonable for NYC. The public transit system makes everything reachable in short order.

Stayed at a place called the Floatel…weird name…really nice. I mean really nice and if I recall, not too expensive…relatively speaking. It’s walking distance to Times Square, right in the city. Let us know what you choose!

At the moment I’m looking into furnished apartments. I forgot to mention, my brother (my niece’s father) and my mother are coming with us, so that makes hotel reservations a bit icky - my brother and mother would rather not share a room, but 3 rooms in the heart of NYC don’t come cheap.

A couple places on line do the apartment brokering thing, so I’m checking into that. I’ll also check some of the hotels recommended on this thread.

Oh, one more thing - I know absolutely nothing about NYC. Saying stuff like “it’s off Broadway” means nothing to me. All I know is that I wanna be near the Hyatt near Grand Central Station, which I think is Midtown East. Does that sound right?

I forgot, here’s more questions:

Safety: Mr. Athena is very concerned about safety. He’s been to NYC before. It was many years ago, and from what I’ve heard things are much better than they were 10 or 15 years ago. But he’s constantly telling me things like “We can’t take subways, they’re unsafe” and “You can’t be stopping on the street and pulling out your map to check directions - that marks you as a tourist and Bad Things Will Happen.”

I understand that there’s crime in NYC, but it’s not like I’ve never been to a big city before. Obviously, none are as big or the same as NYC… but still, I know enough not to walk down dark alleys at night, and to stay in areas with lots of people. What’s NYC like nowadays? Are subways safe? Are they safe in the day but not at night? Can I walk around at night with a group of people in the touristy areas (ie, the areas where there’s lights, people, etc. etc.? I’m not going to take a moonlight walk through the park or anything!)

Thanks in advance.

When my wife and I were in NYC over the Xmas holidays a few years ago, we stayed in a Comfort Inn that was just a couple blocks from Times Square and it was very reasonable–not more than a CI would cost in another big city. Not a lot of amenities, but central to everything. Try their website.

I usually stay out by La Guardia because I have to drive, but I can give you one recommendation - DO NOT get tempted byt the low pricing at the Hotel Pennsylvania. It is right across the street from Madison Square Garden, and a few block from Times Suare, also less than a mile from Grand Central Station.

While it has some history (Glenn Miller played in the ballroom there - Pennsylvania 6-5000 is still the phone number), it is full of sweaty tourists and reeks of 70 years of cigarette smoke. As a bonus, it is staffed by surly employees who hate their jobs. Bring a shoehorn to fit into the rooms, too.

Athena:
As a native, I don’t have much direct experience with hotels in Manhattan, but I do know that the immediate area of Grand Central (yes, that would be Midtown East) is very pricey. I believe that the Hyatt is a little above average in price for the area, but if proximity to Grand Central is your goal, you can’t beat it (it’s right on top of the terminal).
Other options in the area that may be a bit cheaper are the Roosevelt, the Shelburne Murray Hill, the Eastgate, and the New York Helmsley (all of those should be easily found on hotels.com or the like).

You can definitely get cheaper rates in other parts of Manhattan. It all depends on how close to Grand Central you want to be.

As a city guy who has lived around NYC all his life, I may be biased - but NYC is a very safe city, as long as you use some common sense. Both of the quotes you attributed to your husband are untrue. Midtown Manhattan on the weekend is always crawling with tourists, and believe me, it is not in the city’s interest to let Bad Things happen to them.
The subways can be confusing, and are not always particularly clean - but during the day or evening they are perfectly safe. I wouldn’t recommend them late at night if you’re not familiar with them.

One last thing - that guy you’ll meet who tries to sell you a bridge? Don’t believe him.

I visited NYC a few times recently. It is really quite safe these days. We took the subway lots and had no problems other than the odd homeless asking for money. It wasn’t very clean, and yes, it was alittle confusing, but we made it fine.

You have to use common sense like you do in any city. Don’t go far from the area you know at night, stay in well lit areas, that sort of stuff.

Athena,

You may want to try the Hotel Olcott. It’s on the Upper West Side, just down the block from where I live, and it has one and two bedroom suites, which may solve your problems with family members. It’s in a bit more residential area than Midtown, but it’s near enough to things that it isn’t a problem for a tourist. Also, if you’re here for Thanksgiving itself, the parade goes right past the end of the block, and the ballons are blown up a couple of blocks away the night before.

As to safety, New York is one of the safest big cities these days, particularly in Manhattan. I’m on the streets and subways at all hours, with no problems. There are tourists all over, and they really aren’t targets.

I take the subway to Grand Central every day (my office is right across the street), and it’s quick, safe and easy.

Drop me a line before you come, and perhaps we can get the NY dopers together to meet you.

Billdo: Hotel Olcott looks good. How far away from Grand Central station is it? A taxi/subway ride, or within walking distance?