A guide to where to book New York apartments

So, the Big Apple is on the horizon? Get ready for soaring skyscrapers and sleepless streets, for the neon lights of Times Square and the festive cheer of the Rockefeller Center, the clattering carriages of Central Park and the irresistible shopping of 5th Avenue. In a whirlwind of bagels and mustard-doused hotdogs, this guide to the most immersive areas of the metropolis should help anyone on the search for New York apartments.

New York apartments in Manhattan

The beating heart of New York City and one of the most iconic urban districts in the world, Manhattan electrifies all who pass its way. To stay amid the high-rises and the bright lights, consider seeking out your holiday rentals in New York here.

Shop till you drop near 5th

Any holiday apartment in New York in the vicinity of 5th Avenue promises to be a great base for travellers pining for some Big Apple retail therapy. Flagship stores like Saks mingle with chic names like Bulgari and Versace to create a wonderland of designer goods, electronics, handbags, streetwear – the list goes on. A pad in these parts also means having cutting-edge MoMa gallery and the walks of Central Park just around the corner.

Greenwich Village for artists

Known, simply, as the Village to New Yorkers, this square half mile of Lower Manhattan was the stomping ground of beatniks and bohos in the 50s and 60s. Kerouac et al would once have frequented its smoky cafes and whisky bars, but today there's a real whiff of money in the air. Fine-dining bistros dot the corners, artisan bakeries beckon on the blocks and independent fashion shops abound.

Hell's Kitchen for markets and street life

Now the epicentre of the Big Apple's LGBTQ scene, Hell's Kitchen rollicks with cabaret bars and foot-stomping honky-tonks that are sure to keep the party going after you've departed the nearby theatre district. By day, you can hop out of your New York apartment and be immersed in the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market, which brims with antiques, curious trinkets and all sorts of other haberdashery.

New York apartments in other boroughs

Never forget that New York has 5 boroughs, not just Manhattan. Heading out to the neighbouring areas of the metropolis can reveal a whole other side to the city, whether that's in mozzarella-making Italian pasta houses or roaring baseball parks. Some of the most enticing spots are listed below.

Consider hitting the Bronx

The northernmost borough of the Big Apple is a fine alternative to Manhattan. Not only does it have good Subway links to must-see sights like the Empire State and Central Park, but it also hosts its own headline acts – the Yankee Stadium is a must even if there's not a game on, while the Bronx Zoo has gelada baboons, ring-tailed lemurs, gorillas, pelicans – the list goes on.

New York apartments in Brooklyn

You'll dine like a don on the streets of Brooklyn, which has the tagliatelle-twisting, pizza pie-making haunts of Bensonhurst, otherwise known as the borough's Little Italy. Once a downbeat industrial neighbourhood, it now draws visitors with a more authentic, lived-in feel than Manhattan, fizzing with food markets and Sicilian street carnivals.

Somewhere quieter in Staten Island

The greenest and most remote borough of New York can be found over the Upper Bay from Manhattan. The upshot is that you'll get fine views of the Statue of Liberty and the skyscrapers of Midtown as you ride the ferry across. You'll also be able to enjoy a quieter stay in the big city, with vast reserves like Silver Lake and wooded Latourette Park just to your back.

How to find cheap accommodation in New York

The search for cheap accommodation in New York City is a notorious one. Bargains get snapped up fast in the Big Apple, faster even than in the stalls of Hell's Kitchen Flea Market. Still, there are ways you can save some dollars for the transatlantic flight ticket and those carriage rides in Central Park.

Search for New York apartments in outer boroughs

New York has an uber-efficient public transportation network. The Subway spreads out to link with areas like the Bronx and Queens, while light rail and ferry connections also bring Long Island – where you could stay next to wave-washed surf beaches – and Staten Island into the mix. It's often the case that holiday rentals cost less in out-of-centre boroughs, so don't shy away from heading further afield if you're really keen to save.

Travel in autumn or spring

New York starts to brim with visitors during the summer months, around American Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year. If you're not pining for a party under the ball of Times Square, then you can usually save a bundle by booking your NYC flat for the autumn or spring – months like October and February tend to be the cheapest of all.

Get self-catering holiday apartments in New York

While the Michelin-starred eats and the onion-sizzling hotdog stalls of Midtown Manhattan are no doubt a taste-bud-tingling prospect, there's still a bunch to be saved by opting to cook for yourself. That means seeking out a New York apartment which has its own kitchen and making the most of the local food markets for ingredients, from the Hester Street Fair to bustling Smorgasburg down in Brooklyn.