From certain vantages, New York seems to consist almost entirely of hotels. There are the storied grand dames, like the Plaza, and hipper downtown establishments, like Robert DiNiro’s Greenwich Hotel in Tribeca, both of which are thunderously expensive. But there are also ways to track down a room that can meet your needs as well as any budget. (Well, many budgets.)
At New York’s official tourism site, http://www.nycgo.com, you can search every hotel in the city in one go, whether you’re looking for a high-end B&B with parking or a kid-friendly, smoke-free hotel with wifi.
Go bridge and tunnel.
Forty percent of new hotels in New York City are located in the so-called Outer Boroughs, according to Christopher Heywood of NYCGO. One to consider: Aloft Brooklyn (http://www.alofthotels.com/brooklyn, 718-256-3833; from $149), a midsized, mid-priced design hotel in the fast-changing downtown Brooklyn neighborhood.
Hotel rates tend to dip, says Heywood, in the weeks before Thanksgiving and Christmas, around the Jewish holidays, and during January and February.
Live like a local.
http://www.Airbnb.com, founded by one Harvard and two RISD grads, connects travelers to local apartment dwellers who sublet their places at rates often far cheaper than traditional hotels. Be sure to research the neighborhood, including subway lines, before committing.