Would-be visitors to New York City face a dreadful paradox. On the one hand, they yearn to experience The Big Apple. But when they call for a hotel reservation, they encounter the highest hotel rates in all of America--often as much as $400 a night for a standard double room.
The solution to this travel-blocking conundrum? Brooklyn, the borough of Brooklyn. An immense city of 2.6 million people immediately adjacent to Manhattan, and often only 20 minutes by subway from Times Square, Brooklyn has numerous perfectly-adequate hotels charging as little as $125 a night for a comfortable double room.
For that matter, an increasing number of visitors are now choosing Brooklyn for all their touristic and entertainment needs. Brooklyn is hot. Not only are numerous New Yorkers moving there for cheaper housing, but also for easily-accessed entertainment, culture and fun.
To begin with, Brooklyn has the beaches of New York--Coney Island and Brighton Beach along the Atlantic Ocean, and no visit to New York is complete without a visit to the famous boardwalk and its endless entertainment. Alongside Brighton Beach is the biggest Russian-community in America, with nightclubs that ply you with vodka and the performance antics of hokey-showgirls.
Brooklyn has one of the great sports arenas of New York, the newly-opened Barclay Center seating tens of thousands of basketball and other
fans. Brooklyn has one of the great theater centers of New York, the important Brooklyn Academy of Music ("BAM") presenting high-quality ballet, opera, musicals, concerts and other culturally-vital events. BAM is also surrounded by other high-quality theaters (like the Mark Morris Dance venue, the Theatre of the New Audience presenting Shakespeare) that often put the Broadway shows of Manhattan to shame.
Brooklyn, at its "Promenade", enjoys the single best panoramic views of Manhattan in all the area, and its numerous burgeoning art districts (Williamsburg, Park Slope) are today treasured by a young, counter-culture group of bohemians, whose galleries and shops are riveting in their appeal. Brooklyn has numerous ethnic centers of Muslims from the Middle East (Atlantic Avenue) and orthodox Jews observing age-old traditions; a stroll through their streets is an ethnic adventure.
The heart of Brooklyn is Grand Army Plaza, with the magnificent Brooklyn Public Library, a short walk away from the Brooklyn Museum whose Egyptian collection rivals that of the Metropolitan Museum in Manhattan. In between both institutions is the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens of sheer fascination. And finally, the new Brooklyn Bridge Park is another glorious recreational area.
To find the low-cost Brooklyn hotels that ease the financial burden of your trip to New York, you might consult my daughter's "Easy Guide to New York City" (in all bookstores), whose hotel chapter has a substantial section on lodgings in Brooklyn. But you might also give Brooklyn a chance as the location for much of your sightseeing and cultural activities; I find myself visiting Brooklyn more and more.