The first question we asked ourselves while considering a Christmas Holiday in NYC was this: Can we afford to stay in the city at the busiest time of the year? And the question remains a valid one. In a city where real estate prices are outrageous, hotel stays can quickly wreck a travel budget.
Although we’d never experienced Airbnb, HomeAway, or any residences advertised by owners, we were game to try. Fortunately, TripAdvisor came to the rescue. With 192 listings for Specialty Lodging all rated by guests, TripAdvisor offered an unbelievably extensive selection. And thus it was that we stumbled (fortunately for us!) upon The West Townhouse on the Upper West Side.
On previous trips, we’ve stayed near Times Square in a chain hotel, but never in a residential area. But we’ve found we like the Upper West Side so much, we’ll probably return. Not only was the apartment spacious and affordable, it was conveniently located in a quiet area, only two blocks from Central Park and NYC subways and buses.
An unexpected bonus of renting at The West Townhouse? Interaction with Monica, one of the owners, who “from the git-go” emailed info concerning transportation from the airport to the apartment and arrival instructions. Biggest bonus of all? Well-marked maps for navigating the city and how to obtain a MetroCard for a week. (Best $31.00 we spent!) She handed us a listing of area markets, restaurants, and nearby sites on the West Side most tourists relish (Think Central Park, The Dakota, and Museum of Natural History.) and then sent us to explore on our own. Our kind of vacation.
So, for a week, we felt as if we were blending in with the locals. (With Southern accents, we knew better, but it was fun trying.) We walked the streets and admired the architecture and appointments of the homes in the area. We bought fruit from stands, sipped coffee in little shops, and stopped in for a drink at a local pub.
Pros for the stay: quiet neighborhood, helpful landlords, proximity to public transportation, kitchen for eating in, and tips on seeing the city in affordable style.
Cons — Well, there aren’t many. Since this wasn’t our first trip to NYC, we were fine not staying near the heart of downtown action. In fact, we liked the quiet, the expedient public transportation to the “other places” (the subway more so than the bus) and the safety. But you may have other preferences, especially if you’re headed to the city for the first time. Or you may like the idea of a big hotel with breakfast on site and a ready concierge.
So, think about alternative housing. And think about searching the Internet. Who says you can’t stay in NYC?!
For more information:
The West Townhouse, West 85th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Upper West Side, Manhattan, New York, NY; http://www.westtownhouse.com/
Hope you’ll follow us along in our Travel Series: Christmas Holiday in NYC!
We’re Southern folk in awe of the Big Apple!
Rusha and Bert