Crowne Plaza HY36 Midtown Manhattan is a hotel two blocks from Penn Station. This was my first time in New York City since 2012 when I participated in the Starwood Hotels Amex Stars 2012 blogger influencer promotion and attended the U.S. Open Tennis and New York Fashion Week.
New York is just not my thing as the song ‘I am Easy to Find’ by The National says,
“Towers to the skies, an academy of liesYou never were much of a New Yorker It wasn’t in your eyes.”
United Airlines changed my flight to Milan, Italy from a first leg of SFO-Frankfurt to SFO-EWR Newark – Milan MXP with a 75 minute layover between flights. I was not happy, but decided to make the best of the situation by changing my flight departure for Newark to one day earlier, allowing us to stay at Crowne Plaza Newark Airport for the night for 23,000 IHG points. Then, sometime later, I realized we could stay at Crowne Plaza HY 36 in Manhattan for 22,000 points on our 21 hour layover.
IHG’s 20% off reward stays of 1 to 3 days promotion in mid-January played right into my hand and dropped the rate for Crowne Plaza HY36 from 22,000 points to 17,600 points for the night. As someone who regularly buys IHG points for $5 per 1,000 points during their 100% bonus points promotions, my price for a night at Crowne Plaza HY36 Midtown Manhatten was only $88. The published rate for the night was $206 after tax and fees.
Our cost for staying in NYC was actually a bit more expensive given Kelley and I had to pay $31 each for round trip train tickets from Newark EWR to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan. Kelley has only been to NYC once before as an adult when we stayed at an apartment suite in the Sheraton Russell Hotel in 1999 on a return trip from Amsterdam. Sheraton Russell Hotel became a residential conversion a few years after our stay.
I had already sussed out from the address of the hotel that HY36 stood for 36th Street. My question to the staff was “What does HY stand for?”
The next day I learned the meaning and significance of Hudson Yards when President Biden came to Midtown Manhattan to promote his American infrastructure plan for $300 million to replace the 100 year old train tunnel under the Hudson River. I took a photo of the Hudson Yards trains, then looking at my photos for this article I saw a large FedEx truck driving past blocked the view of the trains I saw all lined up side by side in Hudson Yards. The area is better known these days for its new build, high end Hudson Yards shopping mall and entertainment venues. We had planned to walk the High Line from 30th Street, but it was closed off north of 28th Street. There were hundreds of NYC cops spread across every street corner for several blocks around the hotel for the few hours we walked around the morning after our stay.
Check-in at Crowne Plaza HY36
The hotel receptionist thanked me for being an IHG Rewards Diamond member and said I received an upgrade to a corner room on the 23rd floor of the quiet side of the hotel. A corner room usually signifies windows on two walls of the hotel. That was not the case at Crowne Plaza HY36. Anyway, Kelley loved the fact that we could crack open a window and let some 35 degree cold air chill the room.
My initial thrill was seeing The New Yorker, a Wyndham brand hotel I only knew by name from a reservation I made in 2014 on a mistake reward rate at 14,000 points per night when I had loads of Wyndham Rewards points I had purchased for about $5.60 per 1,000 points. I ended up canceling that New Yorker Hotel reservation.
Marriott Monterey at 10 floors is the highest building in my home town, so my only experience with skyscrapers is when I travel. Looking out the 23rd floor window of Crowne Plaza HY36 was a thrill for me.
I quickly snapped room photos.
We arrived at the Crowne Plaza HY36 just as the hotel’s Burgerology restaurant closed. Kelley had me Yelp restaurants and I came up with New York Pizza Suprema, dubbed “8th Best Slice in the World” among its many accolades. And still open for another hour at 11pm on a Monday night. While we were not overly impressed by the pizza, I still have a positive sensory memory of the tomato sauce used on the pizza, so I guess that means something was special about the slices.
On my way out the door I checked out the fitness center facilities on Floor 6. The ice machine was located on the same floor.
Crowne Plaza HY 36 Floor 6 fitness center
Quiet! What Quiet?
When the receptionist mentioned our corner room was on the quiet side of the hotel, she apparently did not realize new building construction 200 feet up in the air was only 60 feet away from our room window and pounding started before 8:00am.
Our room window also had a view of Edge NYC, a $40 per ticket viewing platform 1,100 feet up on the side of a skyscraper. Looks like a great place for city photos.
As a benefit of my 2023 IHG Diamond elite status we receive complimentary breakfast at IHG properties. Burgerology was a plentiful made-to-order breakfast to start our day.
Our breakfast would have cost around $50 before tax and tip.
Lobby Lounge Area
My first impression walking into Crowne Plaza HY36 was underwhelmed. The photos on the hotel website showing a spacious four-floor room with hanging objects are actually photos of Burgerology restaurant and bar.
The entry way lobby to Crowne Plaza HY36 is kind of small with only a few chairs around the reception desk. Walk past reception and there are elevators to the left. Walk straight past the elevators and there is another lounge room with seating that offers a gathering and work space.
Walking around Manhattan for three hours, checking out Hudson Yards, the High Line and marveling at how many cops were out and about in the area for President Biden’s visit with a sunny January afternoon in the 30s made our $62 round trip from Newark Airport EWR worth the time and effort to visit the city.
Photoessay walk: Midtown Manhattan High Line and Hudson Yards (I’ll link to this article after I create my photoessay.)