There are entire American cities with less cultural import than New York’s second borough — yet looking at the number of decent lodging options, you might think crossing the East River were like taking a trip to East Berlin circa 1989. It’s an analogy that, tellingly, would flatter a few Manhattanites and Brooklynites alike, but just to keep things in perspective, Grand Central Station is all of one subway stop away from the seemingly far-flung Box House Hotel.
From the outside, the hotel could easily be mistaken for another warehouse-turned-apartment-building in its Greenpoint neighborhood. The inside is just as true to form. The sunny, high-ceilinged rooms are fitted with large kitchenettes, dishware and all. By New York standards, they could just about pass as full kitchens, with more than enough counter space to sit on a stool and tear into some boxes of take-out. The homey urban décor, from the big pull-out sofas to the warm modern lighting and hardwood floors, all makes as much sense at this converted door factory in its low-slung, revitalized industrial neighborhood as a high-rise hotel makes sense in Midtown. Perhaps the biggest impact of the surrounding real estate, however, is on the price. Put simply, you get more for your money here.
Sometimes a little distance is good for perspective, and there’s no better evidence than the views of Manhattan from the far side of the water. The best rooms have huge private decks looking out over the river toward the Midtown skyline. And this far north, a little closer to the front lines of gentrification, you won’t yet find cranes and condos crowding the shores, blocking the sunlight and views, as you do in parts of Williamsburg. Whether condos and cranes are evidence of a desirable neighborhood or harbingers of its downfall is a question you may have your own opinions on, but in any case, there’s no mistaking these northern reaches of Greenpoint for the trendier neighborhood to the south, where bars, restaurants and crowds with cameras are all easier to come by.
If you’re looking to be right in the middle of things, to walk out of a sparkling lobby into the energetic crush of people and a forest of skyscrapers, then it’s back to Manhattan with you. But if, like plenty of locals, you’d happily trade the experience of wandering through the hallowed galleries at MoMA for a summertime concert at PS1, MoMA’s cool little sister-museum in Long Island City (a short trip from the Box House), then it might be time to make the move to Brooklyn.
Note: For most periods throughout the year, The Box House Hotel has a 3-night minimum stay requirement.
How to get there: The Box House is easily accessible (by car) from either John F. Kennedy International Airport or LaGuardia Airport. While staying at The Box House, please note that the hotel is a 10-minute walk to the Vernon-Jackson MTA stop on the 7 train (which is only one station away from Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan). The Greenpoint Avenue G train is located only 7 blocks from the hotel. The hotel operates a complimentary vintage taxi/checker cab service which is available daily on a first-come, first-serve basis. The taxi service will take guests anywhere within a mile and a half of the hotel. Guests will receive a time schedule upon check-in.