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Reviewed on 23 Feb 2020
Reviewed on 24 Feb 2020
Reviewed on 23 Feb 2020
Prepare to shorten the bucket list by a few lines as you hit the Big Apple. With the Empire State Building on one side, Broadway down the middle and the Statue of Liberty towering over the Upper Bay, there's oodles to do. You shouldn't have to crack open the piggy banks to fund it either, thanks mainly to the low-cost rates of hostels in New York. In such a sprawling metropolis, you're likely to find plenty to pick from, ranging from classic dormitory establishments to low-key American inns with doubles and singles. The usual amenities apply – think quirky common rooms, shared kitchens, air-conditioned stays. Location wise, there are options peppering the buzzing, beating heart of Manhattan, and the gritty boroughs of Brooklyn and Harlem to boot.
Hostels in New York don't just come in one shape and size. In more off-radar areas of the Big Apple – up with the brownstone tenements of Harlem or down with the Italian eateries of Brooklyn, for example – you can find charming B&B-style stays that make use of simple double rooms and dormitories. They are excellent for couples who are keen to explore hidden corners of the metropolis, dropping into the Bronx Zoo and Central Park for encounters with wild beasts and romantic ice-skating sessions come Christmas, perhaps. Closer to the middle of town are the bohemian digs. You'll find a taste of noir, 1930s style in some of the design hostels of Manhattan – think stripped-down rooms that give way to lounges of leather sofas with mob-themed art.
There are some features that help a select few hostels in New York stand out from the crowd. Fancy spending an evening watching the sunset through the forest of skyscrapers in Lower Manhattan? That can be arranged. Looking for somewhere lively where solo travellers sip American craft beer and barista-brewed coffees together in the on-site bar? Easy. In addition to that are the basic amenities you can expect from a lot of the hostel stays in the city. They include access to self-serve laundromats, simple breakfast spreads, and help with tour and ticket booking.
Style oozes through the cabin-esque rooms of The Bowery House. Once you're done getting to grips with the timber-lined walls, retro light fittings and oldies film paraphernalia there, you can step outside to find yourself immersed in the energy of Lower Manhattan. It's a great place to be, what with soy-sizzling Peking-duck houses beckoning foodies to Chinatown to the south and the immersive Tenement Museum revealing New York's human story just a little down Orchard St to the east. Another hostel in New York with edgy style and large common spaces for mingling with other travellers is the International Students Residence. Beyond its games room and library, you can explore hip and happening Williamsburg – a land of creative coffee shops, vintage fashion boutiques and amazing street art.