If you don’t mind spending an extra 15 minutes heading off the island of Manhattan into Queens, you’ll be rewarded with extremely comfy rooms in a brand new hotel for rates often less than $150 per night. Sure it’s a Holiday Inn but it all stops with the name and your preconceived notions. A silvery tower with green tinted windows rises amidst a walk able residential neighborhood in Long Island City just 2 blocks up from the 39th Avenue subway station.
The skyline views are outstanding from this high-rise amidst other incomplete towers standing as a reminder of the recent market meltdown. Request a west-facing room unless you don’t mind gazing over nearby Astoria. The décor is generic, but the bathrooms are larger than their Manhattan counterparts and everything is fresh. There’s a basic gym and pool in the basement. Add free strong-signal wireless to the rooms and you’ve got a fully outfitted pad. But don’t make the mistake of exclusively using it as a bedroom for your Manhattan forays. There’s a whole lot to explore right outside your door!
Here you’ll get an unvarnished multi ethnic hodge podge that makes Queens if not all of NYC
such an experience. A few blocks away on 36th Avenue are Halal meat markets, kosher bakeries, Brazilian churrascaria joints, and my favorite, French bistro Café Triskell. When it comes to breakfast, skip the hotel offerings, head over to this tiny eatery and grab some expertly prepared savory crepes, fresh squeezed orange juice, and a bracing café au lait all for under $10. If you’re lucky enough to find their solitary café table empty out front on the sidewalk, grab it! Here al fresco means a more complete immersion in neighborhood life. In addition to street action and people watching, if you’re sitting out on Sundays, raucous worshiping is sure to emanate from the storefront Iglesia Pentecostal Church next door.
It also doesn’t hurt that the Museum of the Moving Image, 5 Pointz Aerosol Art Center, and P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center are all also within walking distance. At this rate you just might not make it out of Queens after all!
By Subway: Take the N or R train to the 39th St. Station and walk 2 blocks up the hill to 38-05 29th St.
photo courtesy of Holiday Inn & Steve Mirsky