Crowding in New York City is reaching epidemic proportions. Especially in Midtown and particularly in Times Square.
In the rare case you haven’t been to Manhattan lately, you should know that the number of tourists visiting New York City hit an historic high last year. This week the NYC Mayor’s office proudly proclaimed that a whopping 56.4 million showed up to take in its sights and sounds.
That’s over 20 million more visitors than 14 years ago, in 2000, when 36.2 million showed up.
If you have been to New York recently and dared to venture into the Times Square area, you know that it feels like all 56 million showed up on the day you got there, right? Roughly 480,000 pedestrians pass through Times Square every day. Before 2009, that number was 350,000.
Sometimes you have to fight just to get in or out of your hotel room door. Finding a cab or open seat at a restaurant is nearly impossible. Bumping into first timers looking up and pointing from sidewalks, hawkers or people dressed up as costumed characters is a regular occurrence.
It’s become so crazy that I now take the advice of aggravated locals and just avoid Midtown and Times Square completely. (The New York Times opined about the problem last month)
The problem for me, and I’m sure for many TravelSkills readers is that business meetings frequently take place in Midtown. So if you want to stay close to your meeting, you are kinda stuck.
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I used to think I was being smart by staying at the InterContinental or Westin Times Square, both located on what used to the be the quiet western edge of all the action. But with the resurgence of Hells Kitchen and Clinton neighborhoods along 8th and 9th Avenues, it’s packed over there, too.
I’ve found some respite in the limited service hotel village that has spring up between Herald Square and the Empire State Building, but even that’s becoming overcrowded and frequently sold out.
So I’m looking for some advice here. What are the best (or your favorite) hotels on the fringes of Midtown, away from the madding crowds, that are close enough to walk to Midtown, but far enough away that I don’t feel like I’m part of the circus?
Please share any tips or advice in the comments below!
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