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visiting NYC - staying "outside" of manhattan - thoughts? suggestions? bad idea?

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cicero:
I am starting to plan a short visit to the US - i will most probably stay the first weekend in NYC, arriving from JFK on friday late afternoon and getting myself to one of my siblings (either in LI or NJ, both easily accesible by train) sometime sunday afternoon/evening.

My first thoughts were to stay in manhattan but hotels are (so far) very expensive, even my cheap go-to places. then I started thinking about staying outside manhattan, like in brooklyn, which brought me to thinking about just staying in and spending time in brooklyn as opposed to staying in brooklyn/NJ and coming into manhattan for the day. I haven't been to brooklyn since i was a little girl and i know that it's come a long way since then and there are loads of great fun and trendy things to do there. i love museums, i love ethnic neighborhoods, i love walking around.

so my questions:
1. is this really a crazy idea? is it safe for a woman to be alone in that area? (some of the hotel reviews i read talk about "unsafe" areas and "ghetto".).
2. I tend to get up early and go all day, usually collapsing around 6-7 PM so i'm not too worried about safety issues.
3. is there enough to keep me busy for two days? what are the 'must sees'?
4. any hotel recommendations? what to keep away from ? which areas are the best?

anything else you can think of?

WillyNilly:
Brooklyn is so trendy right now it might not save you all that much money. Consider that first and foremost!

As for unsafe neighborhoods... in Brooklyn? There might be a few no so nice neighborhoods (as in run down, not so fun and quirky but more poor and dirty), but there aren't really any truly unsafe neighborhoods I can think of. Especially if you don't plan to be out late.

If you plan on Brooklyn, I'd suggest somewhere near the Brooklyn Bridge or in Williamsburg (in Williamsburg I'd suggest north of the BQE/Williamsburg Bridge and farther from the Broadway triangle). That's where you are going to find your lovely walks and quirky stores. Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill, (these two are near the previously mentioned Brooklyn Bridge, which you can walk over into Manhattan) or Park Slope and Prospect Heights are nice areas too - quite trendy and full of fun shops and prospect park with the Botanical Gardens.

WillyNilly:
As for what to see in Brooklyn... well the Brooklyn Bridge is beautiful and you can see the Statue of Liberty from the beautiful park built up by the bridge. I would recommend walking over, or at least to the halfway mark of the bridge.

The Brooklyn Botanical gardens are quite nice, as is the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

And if the weather is on your side, I'd suggest a subway ride down to Coney Island. Its a bit seedy (no where near as seedy as it used to be) but still a "must see" IMO. The Aquarium is nice but small, and the Side Show is not to be missed. The original famous Nathan's hotdogs is there (although I recommend their clams over their dogs) and if its baseball season, check out the minor league stadium for a Cyclones game! And speaking of the Cyclone - best roller coaster in the whole dang city!!! (ok... maybe the only roller coaster in NYC but its still a gosh darn good ride!)

LadyL:
If you stay in Jersey City in northern NJ you will be a 10 minute train ride to World Trade Center. Rooms go for about $215/night on the waterfront with views of the NY skyline. The waterfront neighborhood is a very gentrified neighborhood with hotels, condo complexes, a shopping mall, and restaurants.

cicero:
thanks for the ideas. in terms of costs, Brooklyn hotels can be cheaper ( four comparable properties). at thus point, I'm talking about ~150 per night vs. ~250 per night. I wouldn't consider it just to save 30$ but these are big dfufferences. of course, as we get closer to the date, prices may change. last time I got the hotel I wanted in the city food 125 a night, last minute.

and then there is the added bonus of being in Brooklyn and touring that area. I'll keep this in mindm thankja for the tips

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