If this is your first trip to the city I recommend staying in Manhattan. It’s close to most of the action
and will reduce the amount of time you spend on the subway or in a car getting around. I like to maximize my time in the city and staying in Manhattan is one of the best ways to do that.
Finding a place in or around Midtown, between 14th and 59th streets is most convenient. Though I’ve had friends stay in Times Square and the Theater District with no complaints, I recommend slightly quieter neighborhoods like Chelsea, The Flatiron District and even a bit more north in Lincoln Square. The reality is you’re not coming to New York City to sit in your hotel room but having a safe, quiet and comfortable place to rest after a long day navigating the city will vastly improve your experience.
Keep in mind, if you stay in an area far south like the Financial District or more northward on the Upper East or West Side, you’re not likely to swing back by your place mid-day to grab a coat or change your shoes. You’ll want to take what you need for the day with you since going back and forth will significantly cut into your time to see the sights. I stayed in Chelsea, bordering the Flatiron, last year and it was perfect. I was one block from a subway stop which enabled me to come back to the apartment during the day to drop off packages, grab a jacket and use the restroom. This location couldn’t have been better. For seasoned NYC visitors, I absolutely recommend venturing out a bit, but for a first time visit a situation like this is ideal.