From early November till mid December, we spent 7 weeks living in glorious, gritty, amazing, intimidating, spectacular New York City. Our plans changed during our stay and we ended up moving around a little more than we hoped for.
Our first stay for 2.5 weeks was at the AKA Times Square Serviced Apartments. Located at 123 West 44th Street, only 1 block from Times Square, the location could not be beat to throw ourselves head first into the frantic city pace. We had a spacious 2 bedroom apartment which although had no view, it was whisper quiet which is unheard of in the city. Our kitchen wasn’t huge but more than adequate to prepare breakfast and lunch for the kids. On the top floor was a new communal space which included a terrace, residents lounge, bar and work space.
From Times Square we moved downtown to a private Air BnB rental near Tribeca. This apartment was absolutely gorgeous. The 2 bedroom apartment located in the Frank Gehry building ‘New York’ on Spruce Street soared into the sky on Level 54 and overlooked the entire city from Central Park, over to Jersey City and the Statue of Liberty too. We spent 5 days celebrating Thanksgiving here. Just as we sat to lunch to celebrate our first American holiday, the grey skies opened up and snowflakes drifted down like magic. The apartment is owned by a lovely couple who opened their home to us so generously. Every morning we would wake up to the clouds, the tops of the most famous buildings in the world and of course, the sirens!
From lower Manhattan, we were due to move to an apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn but alas, it did not work out for us. The inappropriate living conditions for a young family meant we had to find last minute accommodation and spent 2 nights at the Wythe Hotel just around the corner. This hotel was beautiful in every way. The type of place James and I would have stayed when we were younger and preferred the boutique hotel standards. Unfortunately the hotel was very busy and we had to get 2 separate rooms next to each other and the family was split up. This wasn’t ideal but only temporary. The blow was softened with phenomenal views of the river and Manhattan. The rooftop bar was utterly hip and vanguard. The entire hotel smelled of wood, pine, beard oil and some sort of room essence that took my breath away every time I walked into the lobby. I felt like a fish out of water without a beard, beanie, plaid shirt or tight torn black jeans.
Accommodation was scarce as Thanksgiving was just over but the Christmas season had begun so we took a gamble and booked a One Bedroom Suite at the Eventi Hotel in Chelsea. We were spoiled with views of the Empire State Building that was so close, I could almost reach out the window and touch it. We were cramped like sardines though and had to store more than half our luggage downstairs with the concierge. The area was a little *loose* at night and James was followed on more than 1 occasion whilst picking up dinner at night. Sirens galore here too as they screamed up 6th Avenue. This area was ideal for anyone attending events at Madison Square Gardens which is only a few blocks away.
After 5 nights in the tightest quarters of our adventure, we made our way to our last hotel, the Trump Soho, located on Spring Street in Soho. The location cannot be topped. I loved staying in this area, the boutique shopping and eateries are fabulous. And a close walk from the hotel is the Highline, Chelsea Piers and West Village. We had an oversized One Bedroom Suite but this time we had 2 bathrooms, a kitchenette and large living area. The Hudson River sparkled outside our large windows with views to Jersey City.
In the end, I actually enjoyed moving around like nomads in New York City. So after spending 2 months in NYC, where is best place to stay when visiting New York? It’s impossible to answer. The city is covered in micro villages, all suited to different people with different tastes.
If you like parks, space and peace and quiet, I would recommend the Upper East Side or on the fringe of Central Park.
If you like a faster pace, lights, people, sights and shows, I would recommend Times Square.
If you want good coffee, breweries, bowling, vintage stores and up and coming eateries, I would recommend North Williamsburg in Brooklyn.
For great eateries, boutique shopping, celeb spotting then I recommend Soho. Pedestrian traffic close to 6th Avenue is a little chaotic, especially on weekends so try the fringe.
Pick the West Village for a family friendly area, quiet tree lined streets, upmarket label shopping, and great food.
The East Village is a little grittier but hosts some of the most amazing restaurants and Australian owned cafes serving up the classic ‘flat white’!
Chelsea / Meat Packing District is amazing for celeb spotting, high end designer shopping, eateries, Chelsea Market, the Highline and spotting the models doing photoshoots on the street.
Lower East Side / Manhattan doesn’t jump to people’s minds for a great place to stay but I absolutely loved staying there. New businesses are sprouting up everywhere, it’s a close commute to Brooklyn and Williamsburg, the ferries to Liberty Island and Jersey are only blocks away.
Midtown is without a doubt the busiest area to stay in the city. Walking around here was a little shady with the 3 kids, we saw more than our fair share of colourful characters. With Macy’s, the Empire State Building, Penn Station and MSG only a few blocks away, the pedestrian traffic is hectic to say the least.