Staying Near Grand Central Station

The search for a place to stay in New York for our December week was not so straightforward. We discovered prices climbed skywards as soon as the holiday season started – there seemed no exceptions to this rule. Resigned to paying through the nose we stumbled upon the Shelburne Murray Hill Hotel – not exactly cheap but for our money we got a one bed apartment in an apart-hotel – the idea of a bit more space than normal meant we snapped it up.

12.08.07 - Shelburne Hotel

The location was great – Lexington Avenue by 37th Street – not in the midst of all the tourist sights but in a charming and mainly residential area. What a treat to stroll around (at the crack of dawn) on our first morning and gaze at the gorgeous New York brownstones. It was only a short walk to the Empire State Building and a shorter stroll to Grand Central Station – all pretty much perfect in my eyes.

12.02.04 - First morning in New York

Our one bedroom apartment was far more spacious than we expected and far more spacious than anywhere we’d found in New York in the past. Having our own doorbell and front door made me weirdly excited – I felt I was on the set of Friends. We were on the 15th floor – not great views but then we didn’t come here to spend time inside looking out. There was a cosy living room with sofa bed, dining table and chairs and the biggest television Son had ever seen. The bedroom was also big with a super size and super comfy bed – great sleeps were had by all. An old-fashioned but perfectly fine bathroom, stocked daily with a plethora of fluffy white towels and a small kitchen complete with dishwasher, coffee machine and fridge freezer completed the offering. It was a little old-fashioned and a bit dated but I loved it nonetheless. I understand the whole place has undergone a complete modernisation since our stay – it looks very swish but  I liked it just as it was. Probably the prices have been updated and modernised too!

12.02.11 - Shelburne Murray Hill Hotel

12.02.12 - Shelburne Murray Hill Hotel

12.02.13 - Shelburne Murray Hill Hotel

We had breakfast twice at the hotel restaurant  – buffet style and fine but once we discovered how close Grand Central and the food market was, we became great customers of that establishment for the rest of the week. Dining like kings the food there was wonderful and so reasonably priced. The hotel restaurant was buzzing every night, but we never dined there either preferring instead to walk the short distance to 3rd Avenue. Here we found a stack of small, local restaurants serving every kind of food under the sun. Spoiled for choice we picked a different place each evening – an Italian called Patsy’s was probably our favourite.

12.08.10 - Hotel restaurant - Rare

The hotel had a roof terrace – we went exploring one night and excitement levels reached fever pitch when we stepped onto the roof and found the most amazing view of the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building. The night views with skyscrapers all lit up was spectacular. The day time view was none too shabby either.

12.07.30 - Empire State Building by night from our hotel

12.07.29 - Nightime from our hotel

12.04.01 - View of Empire State Building from hotel roof terrace

12.07.31 - Chrysler Building by night from our hotel

12.07.32 - Nighttime view from our hotel

Thanks to the hotel’s proximity to Grand Central Station – we ended up falling in love with this place too. Always left off our New York lists in the past, this trip we had time to visit on several occasions and realised what a gem it really is. Apparently when the 1869 plans for this terminal were drawn up they said, “People who come to New York should enter a palace at the end of this ride and not a shed.” Attractive on the outside thanks to beautiful sculptures and a Tiffany clock no less, inside it is magical. More ballroom like than railway terminus there are chandeliers and marble – stunning. If you go outside of rush hour you can really take in the details without crowds of commuters buzzing past. The zodiac  on the ceiling is very cool and one day we stumbled across the Holiday Laser Light Show. This was spectacular – a light show displayed on the ceiling and walls and accompanied by festive music, we returned several times for a repeat performance.

12.05.01 - Grand Central Station

I was also a big fan of the Holiday Fair at Grand Central – no end of beautiful, unusual and unique items for sale. Much browsing on my side and then on our last day much purchasing – we picked up a stunning  New York bauble, some handmade toys and a few other “necessities.” This is definitely the place to find quality gifts from artists and artisans – highly recommended but bring plenty of cash!

12.05.03 - Park Avenue New York

A great hotel, a great location and a lasting love affair with Grand Central – this would be my choice of place to stay if (or when) we return to New York.

42 thoughts on “Staying Near Grand Central Station

    • We searched and looked at so many different places, came upon this one unexpectedly and it was just perfect. I loved the location – everything about it was great and the choice of little local neighbourhood restaurants was one of my favourite bits.

    • Never seen that movie but thank you so much for the clip Diana – just watched it, you really see how glamorous Grand Central is in it – exactly what I thought too that it was more like a ballroom than a railway station. Now I am on a mission to watch the whole movie!

  1. Thanks Joy for a wonderful post – I’m enjoying my armchair guide to New York I can imagine it well from your posts never having been there myself. I rather love the slightly faded charm of the apartment decor I hope they haven’t modernised it too much and removed all the character. What wonderful views from the roof terrace too and the Holiday Fair would be right up my street!! We have had a sweltering day here (maximum 39 degrees) so have stayed indoors for the most part with the air con on – it’s nice to read about cooler climates! Fortunately it will be much cooler here tomorrow 🙂 Hope you weren’t affected too badly by the snow in the UK!

    • That Holiday Fair was amazing Rosemary – so many gorgeous things, only problem was suitcase space to get it all home again!! We haven’t had a single flake of snow here (much to my son’s disappointment) but places fairly close have been affected, very strange!! It is cold though so 39 degrees seems very alien to us, my husband would much prefer to be in your neck of the woods with those temperatures. In fact he might as well be – glued to the screen watching the Big Bash Cricket every day!! Sydney yesterday looked wonderful.

      • I would have loved that Holiday Fair – I will make a note to bring an extra large suitcase if I ever go! The snow sounds to have been quite localised. Our daughter who had been up in North Yorkshire for Christmas with my family, said she saw lots of snow en route back to London (I was happy she got back safe and sound as she travelled by coach the day after the major snowstorm!). I saw some highlights of the Big Bash game in Sydney – they had very pleasant weather there! The hot weather from here is on its way east now and it’s cooled down here a lot tonight 🙂 We get all the cricket from around the world on Fox Sports (satellite tv) – we’ve watched the test matches in the Uk when my poor dad (who’s a huge cricket fan) has been unable to as he hasn’t got pay tv! Hope you get a bit of snow soon though for your son’s sake (but not too much!) 🙂

  2. Beautiful photos of the city at night. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve only visited once but would love to go back and see it in winter time.

  3. Thanks for the informative post! I plan to visit New York eventually and Central Station sounds amazing! Have the best New Years and look forward to reading about more of your travels in 2015! 😄🎉

  4. I often book through Flipkey or Homeaway, especially when my husband and I have others traveling with us. That way we get an entire apartment for what one room would cost in a hotel. This sounds like my kind of place! As usual, the photos are outstanding.
    Happy New Year, Joy.

  5. Nice!! I really like all your photos. I love visiting NYC. I am lucky enough to have a friend who lives there in East Village so I don’t have to worry about a place to stay. I really need to bring a real camera some day, and not just my phone (which takes pretty low quality photos).

  6. I can imagine how difficult it was to find accommodation during the busiest time of the year. But you always seem to find the good deals !!! Incredible, the flat looks huge !! Was it noisy ?

  7. I continue to resist visiting NYC, but well written, and attractive posts like yours is making it harder. What draws you there? What draws you to go back? Why not Chicago, or Washington or Madrid?

    • Having visited NYC in the past in summer I always had a longing to visit in the run-up to Christmas – that was our motivation behind this trip and it didn’t disappoint. The snowy weather, Christmas lights and all round magical atmosphere made it a wonderful trip. I would visit any of those other cities in a heart beat too though – Chicago is way up on my wish list, I’ve been to Washington twice but many years ago now and would love to go back and we do have a trip to Spain planned over Easter when we might just manage to squeeze in Madrid. Those and countless other destinations I want to see – the only problem is finding enough time!!

  8. Thanks for bringing back my New York City childhood, made me homesick. And thanks for liking my Columbia River Gorge post. I’m sort of switching from East to West coast as I write about my Northwestern forebears

    • Thank you Paula! We love New York but are also on the lookout for other new and different places to go on “our list.” It’s never ending – nice to skip from East to West coast too!! Have a great weekend.

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