Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Located between Broadway and 8th Avenue in the northern section of the Theater District, West 50th Street is flanked by two subway lines. What the street lacks in aesthetic sparkle, it makes up for in safety and convenience.
Though once seedy, Times Square was reborn in the mid-'90s as a commercialized tourist haven, lit by 24-hour flashing billboards and theme restaurants like ESPN Zone and Bubba Gump Shrimp. Today, visitors walking the streets are more likely to be accosted by a comedy-club promoter, a rickshaw bicycle operator, or a caricature artist than a mugger. It's crowded, but there's something unquestionably exhilarating -- and convenient -- about staying in the neon-lit heart of the city. Plus, the mayor recently decided to close off much of Broadway to traffic, making it more pedestrian-friendly.
But beyond the dazzling marquees of Times Square, Midtown West still offers plenty of other kinds of thrills, from hip restaurants and gay bars in Hell's Kitchen on its west side to tourist must-sees like Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, and 5th Avenue department stores on its east. At the northern boundary, marking the start of Central Park, there's Columbus Circle -- home to the luxe Time Warner Center and its acclaimed five-star restaurants.
About 30 to 90 minutes from three airports
New York has three nearby airports: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark (in New Jersey). Flying into JFK or LaGuardia is typically easiest and the least time consuming. From JFK, it's a flat-rate $45 (one-hour) taxi to anywhere in Manhattan. From LaGuardia, it's about a $40 (30-minute) metered cab ride to midtown Manhattan. Rides from Newark cost at least $40 (plus tolls) and can take over 90 minutes. Don't forget to tip your driver 15 to 25 percent.
To save some cash, group shuttles are available at all three airports for about $14 per person. For more information on the shuttles, go to Super Shuttle or New York Airport Service. You can also take public transit from any of the airports for as little as $7 per person, but travel times can take up to two hours and involve a lot of lugging bags up and down stairs. For mass-transit directions right to the hotel, check out HopStop.com.
A no-frills 122-room hotel near Times Square, the Amsterdam Court's location is its main draw -- it's a short walk from every major subway line and numerous cultural attractions, including the Theater District, Central Park, and countless museums. But features are scarce -- just coffee in the lobby -- and the tiny guest rooms are a bit out of date.