Haven't been to NYC in 40 years! We want to spend a few days before heading to New England. One of my wife's "must see" spots is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Should we stay in Brooklyn rather than Manhattan? Any ideas on smaller hotels? Thanks.
Sure, why not? I love staying in Brooklyn. If you are not picky about room size and lack of a lobby, the Union hotel on Degraw St is a good value and within a few min walk to tons of nice restaurants (within a block or two away on 4th and 5th Ave) and 2 miles from the botanical garden. I've stayed there multiple times but it really depends if you're truly flexible on size (the smallest rooms are quite small although the bathrooms are quite generous). Brooklyn hotels have gotten quite expensive, with many matching Manhattan prices. I think you can easily spend a few days just in Brooklyn without being bored or wanting to go to Manhattan (unless this is your first trip to NYC, that is).
jaesbow, we could answer better if your profile told us where you live, or how often you might get here again. Visiting a botanical garden is heavily dependent on month of the year. I personally prefer the Bronx Botanical Garden, but it's a little harder to get to, if much bigger. Both a famous (just to pick one SEASONAL example) for their cherry groves.
As a native of Manhattan, I feel qualified to say that recent worship of Brooklyn as an unmissable place is overrated. It certainly is cheaper than Manhattan, but not "better" in every possible way. The fact is that New York is a city of neighborhoods, and everyone has their own shopping and restaurants, within walking distance of their apartment. The idea that Manhattan is less residential than Brooklyn is more wrong than ever (if not about INCOME inequality ... ), with the growth of Tribeca and Battery Park City, just as two examples.
Presumably you already know that NYC has expensive hotel rates, and that they vary a lot by month and season. For example, September is especially high occupancy. It's not useful to talk about hotels without a budget, and without you understanding that AirBnB is rarely legal in the city of New York.
I do find the Brooklyn Museum (and the adjacent Botanical Garden) to be a loooong ride from my childhood home of the Upper West Side. But if you are going to do anything else than the BBG, it's not an advantage to stay near it - and it's quite far (for example) from the Brooklyn side of the East River. I find the subway bridge views on the way to be magnificent, and you won't go that way as often if you stay in Brooklyn. What else would you want to be near? Top of the Rock? Metropolitan Museum of Art? Museum of Natural History? Theaters? Statue of Liberty?
Consider browsing the Trip Advisor NYC Forum as well.
In General , Brooklyn is relatively inconvenient ( depending on location in the borough ) for sightseeing in Manhattan . Brooklyn Botanic is beautiful , and , as I recall , has a magnificent collection of genuine Japanese Bonsai , as well as a magnificent Japanese Garden , which should not be missed . Also consider The Brooklyn Museum , close to the gardens . Since you are headed for New England , where are you planning to go ? I have spent a great deal of time there over a period of fifty years , and would be happy to make suggestions based on your interests .
BBG is beautiful ESPECIALLY when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.
As for hotels, I would look at boutique hotels and to find better rates, use www.quikbook.com. I would stay in Manhattan especially if you're going to be in NYC over a weekend. Weekend subway diversions can be especially painful in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.
Lots to do in Brooklyn including walking around Brooklyn Heights, enjoying the BEST pizza in Bensonhurst, seeing Coney Island which was the great playground of NYC at the turn of the 20th Century, and walking the Brooklyn Bridge.
The subway stop from Manhattan for the B. Gardens is so convenient, just a short walk away. We went to the Botanical Gardens by chance because, unknown to us, the Brooklyn Museum was closed that day so we visited the Gardens instead, expecting not to enjoy it but we loved it.
As for Coney Island , a Hot Dog at the original Nathan's is an absolute MUST !! Here is a wonderful PBS documentary from 1991 , an American Experience production " Coney Island " - https://www.nycitycenter.org/events-tickets/2018encores/