NYC-JC-luxuryIf you’re planning a trip to New York, I have THE BEST TIP you will EVER get from anyone: Stay in New Jersey!  Specifically, at the NYC-JC luxury apartment rentals, a short ferry ride across the Hudson River.

Yes, my daughters and I stayed there as guests of the vacation rental. And no, this isn’t an ad for them. It’s more like me shouting from the rooftop of this 55-story building with a postcard-perfect, unobstructed view of the New York skyline, “We are the luckiest girls in the world because we know about this beautiful, quiet place, and you are over THERE, in New York, trying to fall asleep to the deafening sounds of the city that never sleeps.”

I guess what I’m saying is that the best way to savor the Big Apple is to go through the Garden State.

It truly is one of the best-kept secrets to planning a trip to New York.


Most tourists book hotels in New York, which is understandable. New York is the destination, after all. The center of gravity. The heartbeat of your vacation. Problem is, New York hotels are usually noisy, small, old, extremely expensive, and if I remember correctly, the elevators are musty and smell like urine.

When I was first invited to stay at the NYC-JC luxury apartment rentals, I was skeptical. “Why would I want to stay across the river, in another state? I’ll miss out on the excitement and dynamics of New York City,” I thought, naively.

Emphasis on “naively.”

First off, New Jersey is not that far from New York, despite the perception. It’s more like a Siamese Twin: The two cities are joined at the river. A river big enough to land a U.S. Airways plane in, but narrow enough to get across in about 10-15 minutes. And the pier to catch the ferry is right around the corner from the NYC-JC. How convenient is THAT?

Secondly, and Most Important – I fell asleep every night, soundlessly, to the twinkling lights of the New York skyline because . . . and here is the important part . . . the luxury apartment that we were staying in had two walls in the living room that were nothing but floor-to-ceiling windows that offered up a panoramic view of Manhattan – every night, every morning, every sunrise, every sunset, every SECOND that we spent in that place, 44 stories up to the sky.

When we turned the key in the lock and pushed the door open to this apartment for the first time – you know, that “Wizard-of-Oz-from-black-and-white-to-color” moment – my daughters let out a very audible, “WOW!!” as the first thing we all saw was the incredible view of New York through the living room windows. Each daughter ran to a bedroom to lay claim and mark her territory, as only rival siblings could do. There were two good-sized bedrooms, with two twin beds in each, and two full bathrooms. Each bedroom had a floor-to-ceiling window, too, for a personal and private view of New York.

My queen-sized bed was in the living room, next to a state-of-the-art, fully furnished kitchen (and yes, I know that sounded very advertise-y, but I want everyone to know that there’s a really great kitchen here, too, which I think gets overshadowed by the view.) A bed in the living room seemed a little weird at first, but it all makes sense at night when you crawl under the covers and from the perch of a propped-up pillow, the lights of New York dance against the darkened sky.

I felt like Donald Trump, but with a little more hair.

So we ate, showered and rested in this unbelievable place in New Jersey, close to restaurants, trains and ferries. And then spent our days eagerly walking the streets of New York, subway-riding-it and doing all the tourist-y things.

It was my daughters’ first trip to New York, and they truly enjoyed the best of two worlds: electric, exciting, New York City and her quieter, shyer, less-stressed sister, New Jersey.

Both beautiful, both with so much to offer, both similar and as different as can be. Just like my kids.

I forgot to mention the best part: The NYC-JC, the “ultimate hotel alternative,” with panoramic views of New York (I could see the Empire State Building!) and the ability to make one feel like a pampered Trump, is pretty darn affordable, too.

While I didn’t pay anything this time, I will GLADLY, next time. The company manages six buildings in New Jersey, so you can take your pick. No minimum or maximum stay, no advance notice needed. If they’re available, you can have them. People do live there, but a handful of apartment units have been reserved as vacation rentals.

Prices range anywhere from $150/night for a studio to $495/night for the beautiful, spacious, fantasy unit that we stayed in.

Oh, one last thing . . . New Jersey, WE (HEART) YOU!