View of Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge Park

NYC Areas Compared: STATEN ISLAND and BROOKLYN (Pt 2)

Most people (including me) use New York City as synonymous with Manhattan, but the Big Apple is so much more! When I started comparing NYC areas to stay in for my next visit, I quickly realized I’d have to give some serious thought to the boroughs outside of Manhattan: Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx. They pulled me in pretty much as soon as I started researching them, and I think you may fall in love with them, too!

Here are the other posts in this series, NYC Areas Compared:

And if you love You’ve Got Mail, check out my ULTIMATE You’ve Got Mail walking tour with 26 stops!

Initially, I assumed I’d want to stay in Manhattan because it’s so close to the main tourist attractions. However, all other NYC boroughs are very well connected to Manhattan, either by subway or the Staten Island Ferry (which is free). So staying outside of Manhattan isn’t necessarily compromising access to all you want to see and do; rather, it’s submerging yourself into a more unique NYC experience than most visitors get.

I’ll repeat my #1 tip from Part 1, because it’s extra helpful when deciding on a place to stay in a city as diverse as NYC: first decide what kind of experience you want to have. When you think of NYC, what do you think of? What gets you most excited to go? Then pick an area and a hotel that helps bring that to life.

NYC is fantastic – and overwhelming – because there are so many incredible experiences to be had. Every trip to the Big Apple can be as unique as you want it to be. In Part 1, I compared four popular areas in just one borough (Manhattan) that will give you four distinct experiences: big, bright and showy (Midtown); high-class with nightlife (West); gritty soul with nightlife (East); and charming residential (Upper West Side). I encourage you to pick a place to stay based on the NYC experience you’re looking for.

In this post, I’ll summarize all four NYC boroughs outside of Manhattan to give you a taste of what each one offers tourists, and then I’ll do a deep-dive into Staten Island and Brooklyn – what I’m calling the “comfy” NYC boroughs outside Manhattan.

The next post, Part 3, will have the deep-dives into Queens and The Bronx – what I’m calling the “edgy” NYC boroughs outside Manhattan.

Images comparing New York City's 5 boroughs

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Contents:

A note on hotels: I’ll include hotel suggestions you might want to consider for each of these boroughs. Since I haven’t been to these places yet, I’m basing my list on affordability, value, location and – perhaps most importantly – strong visitor reviews.

NYC has many options to fit your preference, including boutique hotels, well-rated chains and personal apartments. My preference is usually a non-chain hotel that enhances the overall experience of a particular area. If you don’t like what you see here, browse amazing apartments on airbnb.com or hotels on booking.com.

MAP, OVERVIEW and TABLE: Comparing NYC Areas Outside Manhattan

Let’s start with a map to get a sense of where each borough is, and then an overview of what makes each borough unique. After that, we compare their highlights in a helpful little table.

By that point, you’ll likely have a sense of which borough you want to know more about, to see if that’s the NYC experience you’re looking for. Keep reading for the deep-dive below!

MAP: The 5 Boroughs of NYC

I love visuals – especially maps! Hopefully this map helps you get a sense of where everything is.

This map of NYC shows each of the five boroughs, as well as the Staten Island and Brooklyn sights and hotels mentioned in this article.

To use the map below: Use the buttons at the top to access map details (e.g. to turn off “Borough Shapes” layer to access Google Map details beneath), to share it (i.e. with yourself to modify it for your own trip) or view a larger version.

 

OVERVIEW: Comparing Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx

Here’s my summary of the four NYC boroughs outside of Manhattan:

  • Staten Island | Chill-axing Haven with Outlets, Museums and Boardwalk. Often called the “forgotten borough,” Staten Island has a super-chill, friendly neighborly vibe that’s only a free 15-minute ferry ride from Manhattan. Staten Island is by far the least dense of the boroughs, with much of its interior being parks and forest. But there’s enough to intrigue a tourist along Staten Island’s north and east coastlines, including outlet shopping, craft beer, gardens, museums, military fort and beaches.
  • Brooklyn | Manhattan Views, Cobblestones and Street Art. Once considered a cheaper place to live, the hipster, avant-garde community relocated to Brooklyn but was eventually pushed north as big tech companies and the upper-middle class moved in. Now it has a “small Manhattan” vibe with lots of big-name shopping mixed with trendy boutiques, galleries and nightlife. It has the most beautiful waterfront promenade compared to the other boroughs, cobblestone streets, brownstones, impressive Prospect Park, bagels, pizza, Nathan’s hot dogs and borscht. Awesome.
  • Queens | Hyper-Multiculturalism offers Amazing Tastes and Treasures. Queens is so much more than a 5-minute train ride to Midtown Manhattan. In a super-multicultural city, Queens is THE most multicultural metropolitan area in the entire world. Crazy, hey?! Two of the most fascinating areas to explore are Jackson Heights and Flushing, with an active nightlife that makes staying in either neighborhood a total experience. Check it out!
  • The Bronx | Stunning Parks and Fascinating People. The misunderstood child of the boroughs, The Bronx has a bad rep but arguably NYC’s most stunning parks, history and food. Its parks offer amazing views overlooking both the Hudson River and Long Island Sound, and have historic homes-turned-museums tied to the revolutionary war and famous poets. Not to mention Babe Ruth’s career, the birth of hip hop and NYC’s “real” Little Italy. The Bronx is fascinating.

TABLE: Comparing Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens and The Bronx

Here’s a helpful table that pulls together the deep dives into each borough. Each borough has something unique to offer tourists looking for a different NYC experience.

 Staten IslandBrooklynQueensThe Bronx
Best forSuper chill, slower-paced NYC visitExperiencing a smaller Manhattan, plus hipster street artSubmerging yourself into the most diverse area in the worldExploring huge parks, historic homes and Little Italy
HistoryDutch fort at South Beach to last British stand in revolutionary war to naval baseSix Dutch towns to edgy hipster to techy gentrificationSmall Dutch towns to Flushing Remonstrance to immigration magnetFarmhouses to revolutionary war posts to poverty and gangs to poets and hip hop
VibeSmall townDowntown, brownstones and street artSuper multiculturalUp-and-coming
ShoppingOutlet mall and vintageVariety of big names and boutiquesTrendy shops and galleriesDecent malls, markets and discount
RestaurantsSome highly-rated restaurants and pubs; craft beerTrendy cafes, restaurants, clubs; bagels and pizzaLots of Asian restaurants, plus every ethnicity you can think ofLots of Caribbean influence; Little Italy
BeachSouth Beach, Midland BeachConey Island, Brighton Beach, Manhattan BeachRockaway BeachOrchard Beach
ConnectivityOkay to Manhattan; okay within Staten IslandVery good to Manhattan; good within BrooklynOkay to Manhattan; poor within QueensGreat to Manhattan; okay within The Bronx

STATEN ISLAND: Chill-axing Haven with Outlets, Museums and Esplanade

Wings of Staten Island's waterfront 9/11 memorial

Staten Island’s 9/11 memorial on the North Shore Esplanade

Let’s turn the tables and start with NYC’s “forgotten” borough, Staten Island. Most tourists just take the free ferry to get a good photo op of the Statue of Liberty, and then turn around and come right back to Manhattan. But Staten Island is such a unique NYC experience compared to all the other boroughs, that you might just want to make this your homebase.

Staten Island is a quiet, mostly residential borough with great beaches, restaurants, parks and museums. Its residential streets are lined with single family homes, picket fences and cars … and spots to park them! The island has a chill, laid-back and friendly vibe, with locals who wave and actually say “hi” as you pass them on the street.

Staten Island’s south end is known for the historic Fort Wadsworth, which is also the start of the boardwalk that stretches alongside South Beach and Midland Beach. The northeast corner near the St. George Ferry Terminal has plenty to see within walking distance of the ferry, including a promenade with views of Manhattan, shops, restaurants and breweries. Snug Harbor along the north shore has three museums and beautiful botanical gardens. In the center of the island is a sprawling network of parks, forests and a small zoo.

Staten Island is fairly well connected through its bus system and of course has the free Staten Island Ferry from St. George Ferry Terminal in the northeast corner that takes you to Manhattan.

Note: Staten Island is also known as Richmond County.

Northeast Corner: Shopping, Esplanade and Craft Beer

Quiet residential street on Staten Island, NYC

Quiet residential street on Staten Island

There’s plenty to see and do within easy walking distance from the ferry terminal. Find outlet and vintage shopping, museums and memorials, parks and promenades with views of Manhattan, delicious food and drinks. If you plan it extra well, there’s also a small elegant theater to catch live performances.

I walked up (a bit of a hill) to Tompkinsville Park, which only took about 15 minutes, and wandered along the chill residential streets with friendly locals.

Local sites:

  • Empire Outlets (55 Richmond Terrace): Literally right next to the ferry terminal is NYC’s only outlet mall, five levels strong!
  • North Shore Waterfront Esplanade Park and 9/11 Memorial: Stroll along the waterfront just north of the ferry terminal for a beautiful view of Manhattan and see the tasteful memorial dedicated to the 275 Staten Island residents who fell that day.
  • Sailors Snug Harbor (1000 Richmond Terrace): This beautiful 83 acres park features 26 19th Century buildings, three museums and botanical gardens. It’s a 15 minute bus ride from the ferry (S40 or S44) or 30 minute walk.
  • National Lighthouse Museum (200 the Promenade at Lighthouse Point): A 5 minute walk south of the ferry is this little gem to learn all about lighthouses and find unique souvenirs.
  • St George Theatre (35 Hyatt St): Ideally, coordinate your visit with a live performance in this beautiful and intimate theater a block up from the ferry.
  • Pizza: Pier 76 (2511, 76 Bay St) is a highly-rated pizza parlor across from the Lighthouse Museum; eat in or take it to go.
  • Craft beer: Walk up to Tompkinsville Park and sample craft beer from The Flagship Brewing Company (40 Minthorne St) and Kills Boro Brewing Company (62 Van Duzer St) around the corner.
  • Vintage shopping: Picking up some used books was my Staten Island treat! Check out Every Thing Goes Book Cafe (208 Bay St) at Tompkinsville Park and Everything Goes Clothing (140 Bay St).

East Side: Historic Fort, Village and Beaches

Staten Island has a 2.5 mile boardwalk that connects the historic Fort Wadsworth with both South Beach and Midland Beach. If you love Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey (like me!), you’ll recognize the boardwalk from the motorbike scene on How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.

Take a 30-minute bus ride to the Fort and then walk along the boardwalk. North and inland from the beach is the sprawling Latourette Park, with the historic Richmond Town.

Local sites:

  • Fort Wadsworth: This fort overlooking the Narrows of New York Harbor is one of the oldest military installations in the United States, with a network of tunnels and fortifications to explore beneath the Verrazano Bridge that connects Staten Island to Brooklyn. Includes a visitor center, museum, officer’s house, trails and beautiful view of New York Harbor. Tours are available in summer.
  • South Beach, Midland Beach and Franklin D Roosevelt Boardwalk: These two beaches are side-by-side with a boardwalk connecting the two. Midland Beach has a small amusement park. There are some decent restaurant options but most are a few blocks away from the beach. To get here from the ferry, take S51 bus (40 minutes).
  • Alice Austen House (2 Hylan Blvd): This small museum is set in one of the oldest homes in New York (built in 1690 as a one-room farmhouse) where the famed photographer lived. The grounds overlook New York Harbor.
  • Historic Richmond Town (441 Clarke Ave): This New York historical village features restored buildings and tours with costumed living-historians. To get here from the ferry, take S74 (50 minutes).

Where to Stay on Staten Island

Staten Island has a few cute bed and breakfasts, but not a lot of options in the northeast and beachy areas. These two areas have the most for tourists to see and the best access to Manhattan. Most of the hotels are on the west side close to New Jersey (i.e. Newark Airport) and not particularly handy for tourists wanting to explore NYC, because they’re farther away from the ferry and long bus commutes.

Here are three options I’d seriously consider:

  • Fort Place Bed & Breakfast (22 Fort Pl, northeast; $90+): This lovely B&B is a 10 minute walk from the ferry terminal and has strong reviews for comfort and hospitality. Guests comment that the breakfast and towels aren’t the best. Bathrooms are shared. Includes wifi, simple breakfast and parking. A variety of highly-rated restaurant and bars nearby. You can also book directly at fortplace.com.
  • Victorian Bed & Breakfast (92 Taylor St, north shore; $170+): This charming B&B has very strong reviews for being quiet and comfortable, having easy transit access to the ferry (20 minute bus ride) and excellent hospitality. It’s more expensive than other Staten Island B&Bs but definitely the best rated. Bathrooms are shared. Includes wifi, delicious full breakfast and parking. This is a quieter area with a few okay restaurant options a few blocks away.
  • Navy Lodge New York (408 N Path Rd, south end; $115+): This hotel is right on the grounds of Fort Wadsworth with a bus stop out front (30 minute ride to the ferry) and a 15 minute walk to South Beach and boardwalk. It includes wifi, breakfast and kitchenettes. Most guests were very happy with its cleanliness and customer service.

BROOKLYN: Manhattan Views, Cobblestones and Street Art

Classic view of Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan from DUMBO

Photo credit: noelsch from Pixabay.

Brooklyn is a popular area for tourists to visit outside of Manhattan. It used to be a cheaper area where avant-garde artists and musicians relocated to, but they were pushed northward as big tech companies and wealthier New Yorkers moved in. You still get a bit of this edgier feel in galleries of DUMBO and the northern communities of Brooklyn, but Brooklyn has become rather gentrified, and what I’m calling “a smaller Manhattan.”

Brooklyn is known for its bagels and pizza, brownstones, street art, and Coney Island’s beach, boardwalk and amusement park. Along the East River, Brooklyn has some beautiful waterfront parks that provide fantastic views of Manhattan. Behind these views are plenty of interesting sights for wandering and exploring on foot, including excellent restaurants, shops and galleries. The most bustling and well-connected place to stay is Downtown Brooklyn, which houses the Mets’ Barclays Center, tons of shopping and many hotel options.

Beyond downtown are mostly quiet residential areas and the beautiful Prospect Park. The more northern neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Bushwick are interesting to explore for their colorful street art and trendy cafes, restaurants and nightlife; they also offer some cheaper, well-connected hotels. The southwest end is home to Coney Island and residential areas of Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach.

Brooklyn sits on the far west end of Long Island, bordering Queens to the east. Brooklyn is connected to Manhattan by the iconic Brooklyn Bridge (built in 1883), Manhattan Bridge (built in 1909) and the East River Ferry from Manhattan’s Pier 11 to Brooklyn’s Pier 1. The Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects Brooklyn and Staten Island. Brooklyn is quite well connected by NYC’s subway.

Note: Brooklyn is also called King’s County. Compared to the other four boroughs, Brooklyn has NYC’s largest population and the second largest land area.

Brooklyn Bridge to Prospect Park: Cobblestone, Brownstones and Amazing Views, Food and Shops

DUMBO, Brooklyn Heights and Downtown Brooklyn are fantastic areas for NYC tourists to visit, with a wealth of delicious food, eclectic shopping and art, and active nightlife. The parks along the East River provide picturesque views of Manhattan. Unfortunately there’s only one expensive hotel option near the water; most hotel options are in the bustling downtown area.

Ideally take some time to wander the beautiful residential areas between the East River and Prospect Park, which are known for their tree-lined, brownstone charm. Carroll Gardens has a strong Italian presence and Prospect Heights a strong Caribbean culture (Vanderbuilt and Washington avenues are its main thoroughfares). Consider a jaunt over to Red Hook for its craft drinks, edgy art galleries and boutiques; Van Brunt Street is its main road.

Then stroll the miles of paths through Prospect Park, which is considered the Central Park of Brooklyn. It’s home to memorials, a small but highly-rated zoo, museum, ponds, concert pavilions, bike rentals and a vintage carousel.

DUMBO: Cobblestone and Waterfront meet Trendy Shops and Galleries

DUMBO (another NYC acronym: Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) is a small but super-popular area in NYC to visit, with cobblestone streets connecting a great variety of restaurants, shops, bookstores, coffee shops, bagel bakeries, and galleries and avant-garde theater in former warehouses. The waterfront park between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges has the old Jane’s Carousel and pebble beach with lovely views of Manhattan.

Local sites:
  1. Shopping: Empire Stores (53-83 Water St) includes great rooftop views of the bridges to Manhattan.
  2. Pizza: Juliana’s (19 Old Fulton St) and Grimaldi’s Pizzeria (1 Front St); technically in Brooklyn Heights, just under the Brooklyn Bridge.
  3. Chocolate: Jacques Torres (66 Water St) is known for its delicious chocolates and baking.
  4. Art/Theater: St Ann’s Warehouse (45 Water St) hosts boundary-pushing theater and musicians.
  5. Parks: Empire Fulton Ferry Park under Brooklyn Bridge has the charming Jane’s Carousel and Main Street Park under Manhattan Bridge has the iconic Pebble Beach.

Brooklyn Heights: Second-to-None Promenade

Brooklyn Heights is considered a more posh area, with fantastic views along its waterfront and excellent food and drink options. Wander Henry Street and adjacent streets and enjoy the architecture in this laid back community.

Local sites:
  • Brooklyn Bridge Park: It’s only a 20-minute walk between the ferry terminal at Brooklyn Bridge Park/Pier 1 all the way to Pier 6. The Brooklyn Bridge Park Greenway keeps you along the waterfront with beautiful views of Manhattan. You’ll pass by many parks, restaurants and beaches, with additional paths that wrap you around each of the piers. To get better views, start at Pier 6 and walk towards the Brooklyn Bridge: either stroll down Henry Street to Atlantic Ave and wrap around, or take the South Brooklyn Ferry from DUMBO/Pier 1 to Brooklyn Bridge Park/Pier 6.
  • Brooklyn Historical Society (128 Pierrepont St): Housed in an 1881 landmark building, this museum features the history of Brooklyn.

Downtown Brooklyn: Bustling City Center

Downtown Brooklyn is where you’ll find plenty of hotel options and variety of shopping, including big-name brands and boutiques.

Local sites:
  • Fulton Street (between Brooklyn Bridge Blvd and Flatbush Ave): Your premier shopping destination! Find many popular brands and small boutique shops.
  • City Point BKLYN (445 Albee Square W): This shopping mall includes a food market and the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Downtown Brooklyn (4th Floor) movie theater.
  • Dessert: Junior’s Restaurant and Bakery (386 Flatbush Ave Ext) is famous for its cheesecake.

Prospect Park: Brooklyn’s Central Park

Prospect Park is considered the Central Park of Brooklyn, with miles of pathways, ponds, gardens and points of interest to easily keep you busy for an entire day. Check for concerts happening at the park’s Bandshell, including the free BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival.

Local sites:
  • Grand Army Plaza welcomes you at the north end with a military memorial arch and fountains.
  • Brooklyn Museum features ancient and modern art and is surrounded by lush gardens and a conservatory. Enjoy the lovely Japanese garden and cherry blossoms.
  • Prospect Park Zoo is small but rated very high.
  • LeFrak Center at Lakeside: A center for activities, including an ice rink in winter. Features: The Ravine forest, Dog Beach park, circa 1783 Lefferts Historic House museum and garden, War Memorial near LeFrak Center.

Brooklyn’s North: Colorful Hipster Vibe

Colorful street art in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Photo credit: Mark Hemmings form Pixabay.

If you’re looking for a cheaper, hipster vibe then check out the more northern end of Brooklyn. Williamsburg and Bushwick are known for their colorful street art that liven up former factories, with lots of trendy boutiques, cafes, restaurants and nightlife. Wander Bedford-Stuyvesant (known as Bed-Stuy) for its massive collection of residential Victorian architecture.

Brooklyn’s north end has easy subway access to Manhattan (Grey L, Orange M and Brown J and Z Lines), including along the main thoroughfare of Broadway where you’ll find lots of hotels, shops and restaurants.

Local sites in Williamsburg:

  • Domino Park (300 Kent Ave): A riverfront park with nice views of Manhattan.
  • Bedford Ave: A great street for wandering in Williamsburg with a variety of delicious restaurants, eclectic shops, markets, hipster spots and nightlife.

Local sites in Bushwick:

  • Flea markets (Wyckoff Ave/Willoughby Ave): Two markets on this corner from Thursday to Sunday.
  • Maria Hernandez Park (Knickerbocker Ave/Starr St): A vibrant park in summer, this park hosts concerts and movies in the park.
  • Tortilleria Mexicanas Los Hermanos (271 Starr St): Fresh tacos at a tortilla factory.
  • Kings County Brewers Collective (381 Troutman St): A five-star, long-standing brewery.
  • House of Yes (2 Wyckoff Ave): A popular club in a former warehouse.
    Street art: The main stretch of street art is along Troutman St (between Irving Ave and Cypress Ave).

Brooklyn’s Deep Southwest: Beaches, Rides, Vodka and Borscht

Beach and amusement park rides of Coney Island

Photo credit: azurbis from Pixabay.

Deep in Brooklyn’s southwest corner is the famous Coney Island beach, boardwalk and amusement park. Along with Coney Island, the peninsula is also home to the New York Aquarium, Brighton Beach’s Russian community, and Manhattan Beach’s Italian and Jewish communities.

Initially, I was going to include Coney Island as a place to stay. I love amusement parks and beaches, and I’m intrigued by the Russian and Jewish communities in this area.

But the more I researched this area, the more advice I found steering people away from staying out here. It’s a 45 minute train ride from DUMBO, making it a poor spot to explore other areas of NYC; there are very few hotel options here and none right on the beach; and, there were some concerns about crime. I would plan a day to explore Coney Island, Brighton Beach and Manhattan Beach, and then head back north.

Local sites:

  • Coney Island: Visit the popular beach, boardwalk and Luna Park (1000 Surf Ave) amusement park. Enjoy a delicious hot dog from the original Nathan’s (1310 Surf Ave) and wander the streets for other great food finds and beach shops.
  • New York Aquarium (602 Surf Ave): Mostly outdoor exhibits, this aquarium has sea lions, rays, turtles and sharks! Strong visitor reviews.
  • Brighton Beach: A beautiful, more laid back beach than Coney Island. Wander the streets for Russian bookstores, gift shops, restaurants and lively nightlife.
  • Manhattan Beach: Seven residential blocks east of Brighton Beach is this little gem, relatively quiet and well maintained with strong reviews.

Where to Stay in Brooklyn:

Hotels in Brooklyn’s Southwest:

Hotels in the southwest part of Brooklyn cluster in the downtown area (as to be expected, I guess) and along the 4th Ave DRW subway line into Sunset Park. It was disappointing not to find cute options in DUMBO and Brooklyn Heights.

Here are three very different but all terrific options for a fun stay in southwest Brooklyn:

  • Hotel Indigo (229 Duffield Street, Downtown Brooklyn; $90+): Within a block of great shopping along Fulton Street and easy walking distance to multiple subway stations, this modern boutique hotel is in a great location. It includes wifi, breakfast (some packages) and on-site restaurant.
  • At Home in Brooklyn (15 Prospect Park West, Prospect Park; $175+): This gorgeous bed and breakfast overlooks Prospect Park and has a near-perfect guest rating. It includes wifi and breakfast and is a six minute walk from the subway. Three of the four guest rooms share a bathroom and powder room. If you rent the Queen Suite you get the entire third floor, which includes a private bathroom and terrace overlooking the back garden.
  • 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge (60 Furman St, Brooklyn Heights; $370+): This hotel is in the most premium location ever – right in Brooklyn Bridge Park overlooking the East River. It’s worth checking this spot for deals. This beautiful, 5-star hotel has near-perfect reviews. Its seasonal rooftop bar gives you stunning views of Manhattan. It includes wifi, pool, breakfast and local shuttle service.

Hotels in Brooklyn’s North:

If you want to embrace the stylish hipster vibe of Brooklyn’s north, here are three fantastic boutique hotel options that are affordable, well-connected and have terrific reviews. Take a look!

  • Pod Brooklyn Hotel (247 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg; $100+): This stylish and modern hotel is only a 5-minute walk to the nearest subway station and a block from the happening Bedford Ave. It has four outdoor rooftops, green courtyards, a lounge and very strong reviews. Includes wifi.
  • BKLYN House Hotel (9 Beaver St, Bushwick; $110+): This chic boutique hotel features local artists and is a block from Flushing, which puts it close to the subway and about a 20-minute walk to the Maria Hernandez Park where most of the Bushwick fun begins. Includes wifi and breakfast. Guests say it’s clean and comfortable but has street noise.
  • Hotel RL Brooklyn (1080 Broadway, Bushwick/Bedford-Stuyvesant; $90+): This “hip” hotel is surrounded by colorful murals and only a 7-minute walk to the subway. Grab coffee or enjoy live entertainment at the rustic-style cafe. Guests rate it high and say it’s quiet despite the train next door. Includes wifi.

Summary and Resources

When I started researching where to stay on my next visit to NYC, I was blown away by how much I didn’t know … especially about the four boroughs outside of Manhattan. I thought I knew more than I did about Staten Island and Brooklyn, in particular.

Staten Island is a gem – I loved its friendly vibe and it has some great places to eat and things to do. I only wish there were more cute hotel options near the ferry and beaches.

Brooklyn is the most like Manhattan, with a mixture of cobblestone streets packed with pizzerias, bakeries and galleries, brownstone residential areas next to beautiful parks, and a bustling city center.

Here are the other posts in this series, NYC Areas Compared:

And if you love You’ve Got Mail, check out my ULTIMATE You’ve Got Mail walking tour with 26 stops!

So … which area has the NYC experience you’re after? Please share below!

Planning Resources for NYC

There are a number of great online resources for planning a trip to New York City, but here are two of my favorites:

And here is a VERY helpful subway map and ferry information.

Remember to SHARE this post with your TRAVEL COMPANIONS!

Featured photo credit (Brooklyn Bridge): cadop from Pixabay.

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