At first glance, Manhattan seems, overwhelmingly, to be the obvious race to drop. $1250 entry fee, plus a plane ticket, hotel and transportation fees, arranging a four-hour qualifying swim... it's a lot of trouble. Plus, there's a 9h30m time cutoff, which averages out to a 3mph swim, which is really very fast - that would mean holding a pace of 20-minute 1500m swims for the entire day. I'm assuming, therefore, that there must be a certain amount of current in the swimmers' favor, and I've emailed to see exactly how much of a factor that will be (especially seeing as the 2004 swimmers had times of 7h16m, 7h30m, etc.). But the water temperature on race day in Manhattan is usually around 65 degrees, which is close to that of the Channel (they even require a four-hour qualifying swim in cold water), so I really wanted to do it; it's as close as I can get in America to what the Channel would be like. Not to mention the prestige factor - they only allow 25 solo competitors per year.
Tampa, on the other hand, would be much easier. A four-hour drive, one night in a hotel, no mention of plane tickets or qualifying swims - it's definitely doable. The difference is (a) there is essentially no current, meaning the times will be more like 9-12 hours, and (b) the water temperature will be around 75 degrees - just a little colder than the average pool - so it won't have much effect in the way of Channel preparations.
So I don't know. I just don't know.