Yes, New York City can be expensive, but it can also be cheap, cheap, cheap; the wealth of options pretty much guarantees something for everyone, whether that means Thai takeout at midnight or fancy steaks at Delmonico's. The same goes for lodging. Because New York is such a revered and popular destination, there's always a deal. According to New York City and Company (tel. 800/NYC-GUIDE; www.nycvisit.com), the city's official tourism outlet, New York has seen a record-breaking 10 million tourists since Memorial Day, a 3.5 percent increase from the same summertime period last year. In June, the hotel occupancy rate reached a five-year high of 90 percent. NYC & Company is offering a special promotion called "NYC Summer Breaks" through September 5. Vistiors who use their American Express card at a handful of hotels, restaurants, shops, tours, museums and attractions are eligible for special discounts. Participating venues include Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Whitney Museum of American Art. Their other promotion, "The Third Night", allows visitors who pay for hotels with their American Express card to enjoy a third night free at participating Signature Collection hotels, i.e., The Carlyle, St. Regis and Trump International Hotel & Tower. It runs through September 5.
Say what you want about the homogenized 42nd Street and changing neighborhoods -- the Lower East side is poised for a substantial Starbucks infiltration and Brooklyn is in the process of having its skyline potentially reimagined -- this city of eight million is nothing if not resilient. And there are oodles of ways to get around, and tons of guides, resources, and publications with left-of-center, irreverent insight. For a sense of the local scene, click through the insider-oriented Gothamist (www.gothamist.com), or find yourself a copy of free alternative weeklies such as the Village Voice (www.villagevoice.com) and New York Press (www.nypress.com), available in corner honor boxes, for a wealth of arts, culture, nightlife and dining options. There are, too, a wealth of hotel and airline packages and specials, and we've rounded up a bunch here.
Expedia (tel. 800/509-1655; www.expedia.com) is running a few specials. Start here to explore a few of them, including "Passion for Fashion," which nets you three nights plus air from Atlanta at the Philippe Stark-designed, Ian Schrager swanky Hudson Hotel (tel. 800/697-1791; www.hudsonhotel.com), across from Columbus Circle and Central Park West. The deal is good for Labor Day weekend -- September 1-4, and is about $632 per person for hotel and airfare. To live like a rock star for a weekend, add the "VIP Hosted Club Entry" option from $50 to your package to one of three hotspots.
The Starwood Hotel Group (tel. 877/782-0027; www.starwood.com), which operates Westin, Sheraton, and W Hotels in New York City, is offering a number of deals. There are rooms available for their Spa Package at the Westin New York at Times Square from $249 over Labor Day weekend, for example. The package includes a $50 spa credit, complimentary breakfast, and a late, 4pm checkout.
They're also running a "Park for Free and then Sightsee" package with complimentary overnight parking, valid Thursdays through Sundays through September 6. Or stay any Sunday through September 7 for $199 and receive an early check-in, upgrade to the next available room type, breakfast Monday morning for two and the Sunday New York Times.
Art lovers might be interested in the deal the Millennium Broadway Hotel and Millennium UN Plaza Hotels (tel. 212/768-4400; www.millenniumhotels.com) is offering, from $199 per night for a classic room at either hotel. You get two VIP admissions to the expanded and newly renovated Museum of Modern Art for the Cezanne and Pissarro exhibit. (This itself is a bonus, as the MoMA recently upped its ticket price to $20.) The deal also includes a continental breakfast. Premiere accommodations can be reserved at either hotel for $249, which nets you a snazzier room, cocktails, 24-hour concierge services, and late checkout. The deal is good on weekend and weekday nights, based on availability, through September 12.
For weekday deals that are less fussy, Hotels.com (tel. 800/324-7838; www.hotels.com) is running a special for weekday stays in New York, some as low as $129 (Bentley Hotel or The Moderne). But the deal only runs through September 4. They're also offering a few packages that include air and hotel in New York, such as three nights at the Radisson Lexington Hotel, located one block east of Park Avenue in midtown. It's a clean, spacious high-rise with the kind of details (nice linens, for one) that are not always a given with large hotel chains. The price is based on Los Angeles departure and travel August 25-28. An afternoon departure, for example, on the 25th and return to Los Angeles on August 28, it runs $613.69 per person, with one connecting flight in Chicago.
JetBlue Airways (tel. 800/Jet-Blue; www.jetblue.com) is offering their Super Fly fares between a handful of cities across the country, including special fares between New York City and Burlington, VT, Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, NY, from $49 each way, and New York and a handful of Florida cities from $69 each way. Additionally, starting October 5, JetBlue will fly out of Newark Airport to Orlando and Ft Lauderdale; other cities such as West Palm Beach, Tampa, Ft. Myers, will follow in a week or so later (Puerto Rico service begins November 17). You can now take a New Jersey Transit train from the airport to the city, so anyone with a final destination of New York should check Newark flights, too. Flights between New York and Denver and New York and Salt Lake City are on sale from $99 each way; travel must be completed by December 14 and seven-day advance purchase is required. Other west coast points are included: New York and a handful of California cities are listed from $114 each way (Phoenix is included in this price group). Finally, for Seattle or Portland residents interested in flying to New York, the fare starts at $124 each way. Each price group has its own restrictions and deadlines, so it's best to read the fine print.
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