Strange post for a Mini website, but good use of your recourses I guess! I went about 18 months ago and is absolutely amazing.
I stayed in the Novotel in Times Square, the views from the restaurant were amazing, the food was fab, and the room perfectly comfortable. To be honest I can't remember how much it was though. As for which airport to go to, I went to Newark, and it's a half hours cab to manhattan island. I think the airport you go to will be determined by which airline you use, and which airport you go from here. I would say the best way to get around is either walk, or if it's a long trip then cab, or of course hire yourself a Mini! Cabs are really cheap and you see New York while your travelling, unlike using the underground.
The people are really friendly, people say they are fake, always asking how you are, but at least they ask, and aren't rude, makes a change from here if you ask me! I found walking around less threatening than London. In the week we were there I think there was 1 person who you would try and avoid walking by in the street. I see more than that on the way to London! The one thing I would say is stay away from the underground and Central Park after dark. We were told that and is probably a good idea.
What to see, well you have all the main bases covered there. Times square is amazing, great place, I think The Statue of Liberty was the most surreal place to go, so iconic, to actually see it is unreal. You have to go early to be able to actually go up it, as they only let a certain amount of people go up per day, so an early start that morning! I think there's another tall building open to people too, one of the Trump towers maybe, around Rockafella Centre I think, may be worth a look. And of course if you want to there's Ground Zero, not every one wants to see it though. There are also bus tours that take you round all the film and tv spots, where various things have been filmed. Friends, Sex and the City, Ghostbusters, Crocodile Dundee, to mane a few!
Shopping is a must, trainers and high street brands are great, I found designer labels are still quite expensive though. H&M, Gap, that sort of thing are much cheaper than here. When to go? Well do you want it hot or cold? They have both in big extreams. Personally I would like to go when it's cold, kinda this time of year would be good, you may even get lots of snow! But I would imagine the summer opens up lots of opportunities, nice long days in Central Park would be fun!
Well I could go on, but that's probably enough to keep you going. Hope some of it helps! Please ask if there's anything else and I'll try and help.