i see the extremely long thread on an apartment rented in nyc and how someone was very unhappy.
i was looking to rent an apartment in brasil for 3 night, via something called airbnb, a friend of mine swears she used it several times with no problems.
i asked one question to the apartment owner and it took him a few days to get back to me.
i ended up reserving a hotel in booking.com for the first time (used priceline, expedia, orbitz in the past), and gave up on the apartment rental, i did not feel safe, and was worried to get there and find no room.
u can't go wrong with a hotel. or a friends house.