“When I think hostels I think rats and cockroaches, ew,” my friend Marjorie said when I suggested we organize a writers’ weekend in New York City and stay at a hostel, where we could rent all the beds in two different rooms.
Rats and cockroaches?
Though that writers’ weekend never got off the ground, I’m staying at the Big Apple Hostel for three nights, right smack in the middle of Times Square, while I attend the ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors) conference.
Marjorie, I have news for you: this place is really and truly the best.
It’s cleaner than many hotels I’ve stayed in, the staff is super friendly and helpful, there’s a refrigerator and a full kitchen, a common room with free internet access if you have your own computer and cheap internet access ($1/ten minutes) if you don’t, and a spacious back patio.
My room, #66, is in the back of the building and surprisingly quiet.
Most of the folks here are young international travelers and you can listen to people jabbering away in German, Japanese, French, Spanish, Korean, and languages I don’t recognize.
Then there are the school groups with their chaperoning parents, the moms and teens on a shoestring vacation, the 40-something solo travelers, and the 30-something conference attendees (me!).
Best of all: the windows actually open.
The price for this shared luxury (the hostel sleeps four in one room in bunk beds, unless you splurge on a private room)? $41 smackeroonies a night. I’m .4 miles from the Roosevelt Hotel, where the ASJA conference is being held.
So what if I’m old enough to be the mother of my two German and one Japanese roommates?
Next year I hope my fellow writers who decided not to come to the conference at all this year because their pockets are too empty will join me here.
As my 29-year-old cousin used to say when he was 14, “It’s the bomb Mom.”
UPDATED TO ADD: Unfortunately the Big Apple Hostel has closed its doors. If you know of other clean, well-run hostels in New York City, or elsewhere, we would love to hear about them.