Posted: 05/05/2009 at 22:45
In case it helps... I ran this last year. It was my 5th marathon, but my first race in North America. I sorted my entry with 2:09 events (very slick and well organised) using their flight-and-entry option. It was an expensive way to do it, but did mean a guraranteed entry. I travelled out with three friends, and we had a brilliant week!
We arranged our own accommodation - at the Novotel on Broadway. It was good - staff were friendly and helpful, hotel clean and comfy, and good venue for exploring Manhattan. Plenty of good eateries int the area, including lots of Italian restaurants (woo... pasta!). One of our cohort stayed in the Sheraton... their foyer was much nicer than ours, but his actual room was tiny and more expensive.
I loved the actual race. It was the bit before that was a nightmare! You get allocated a bus to take you to the start - for all the Brits travelling with 2:09, the bus was at 4.00am... yes... four in the morning! We had to get up at 3am, and queue in the cold for the bus. The journey to the start was a breeze... but then we had to wait for *hours* in the freezing cold. There were a few tents, but they didn't have proper sides to them, so the draught was icy. Whilst tea and coffee was provided, there was no way to get yourself warm. I'm not a wuss, but I almost cried at one point... it was so cold. I talked to others later, who had travelled on the Staten Island Ferry. They'd had a much easier time - didn't have to get up so early, nor spend so long sat around in cold, damp field. I know there is the uncertainty of using public transport, but in retrospect I wish we'd done this as we were absolutely miserable before the race.
Once the actual race began it was *wonderful* and I had a great time. The crowds were fab... the route interesting and challenging (I found the long straights mentally.... interesting!). However the organisation before left so much to be desired that I wouldn't do it again.
Hope that helps you plan your trip a bit!