Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Heart of, around the corner from great restaurants, designer shopping, and nightlife
Duane Street Hotel's strikingly clean and modern exterior actually sits alongside the bland office buildings that line Church Street; not Duane Street, around the corner. However, if you meander down Duane Street, Reade Street (immediately to the south), or West Broadway (behind the hotel), there is a more interesting array of fashion boutiques and popular restaurants.
Once industrial and warehouse districts -- then gritty, underutilized areas where starving artists flocked to set up cheap loft and studio spaces -- SoHo and TriBeCa have since been transformed into two of New York's premier neighborhoods -- characterized as much by destination shopping (SoHo), luxury loft apartments (TriBeCa), and fine dining (both) as by the well-preserved and cobblestoned streets that evoke their industrial past. Though these abutting neighborhoods have lost much of their edge since the days when only the artists appreciated their gritty beauty, both still draw the young, hip, beautiful, and moneyed in droves -- and together they embody New York's haute bohemian downtown shopping and nightlife scene.
An Indian fusion restaurant from an acclaimed chef
Metaphor, an Indian fusion restaurant helmed by The Next Iron Chef Season 2 runner-up Jehangir Mehta, opened at the hotel in October 2010. Dishes like poprock oysters, beef tartare with guacamole sorbet, and an Indian burger with garlic fingerling potatoes feature Indian, French, and American culinary influences, and a dessert cocktail bar serves up tasty concoctions like ginger mojitos with mint sorbet. Patrons can surf the Internet at a large communal table, which contributes to the space's cozy, relaxed vibe.
About 30 to 90 minutes from three airports
New York has three nearby airports: JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark (in New Jersey). Getting to town from JFK or LaGuardia is usually more convenient than getting there from Newark, but travel times are heavily dependent on the time of day and traffic conditions. From JFK, a taxi to anywhere in Manhattan costs a flat rate of $45 and takes around an hour in average conditions. From LaGuardia, a metered cab ride to midtown Manhattan costs about $40 and can take 30 minutes if traffic is light, three times that if it's bad. Rides from Newark cost at least $40 (plus tolls) and can take more than 90 minutes. It's customary to tip your driver 15 to 25 percent.
Those looking to save some cash can use the privately run shuttle buses that 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. Public transit is also available for as little as $7 per person, but travel can take up to two hours and involve a lot of lugging bags up and down stairways.
For mass-transit directions right to the hotel, check out HopStop.com.
The 45-room Duane Street Hotel offers intimate accommodations, at the cost of closet space and a coffee machine. But given its clean, comfortable, modern rooms, free access to an excellent, off-site , and great location -- a short walk from excellent restaurants, high-end shops, and almost every major subway line -- it's a great pick in trendy TriBeCa.