Cheap Couple in NYC
November 17, 2009 11:32 PM   Subscribe

What is the cheapest place for a couple to stay in Manhattan?

My girlfriend and I will be taking a trip to NYC in early January and we need a cheap place to stay. We're aiming for no more than $50/night for a maximum of 7 nights. We would prefer a private room that isn't shared with anyone else.

I've searched all over the internet and there are too many options. I'm curious if the hivemind has any specific recommendations for places in Manhattan.
posted by mahoganyslide to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (34 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
That's a tall tall order. I can't offer you too many specific recommendations, but you do know that you're looking at a double room in a hostel, right?
posted by suedehead at 11:39 PM on November 17, 2009

At that price you're looking at a hostel. Manhattan is very expensive
posted by dfriedman at 11:40 PM on November 17, 2009

Maybe Airbnb?
posted by cdmwebs at 11:48 PM on November 17, 2009

Link to the YMCA. Looks like it'll be more than $50.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 12:38 AM on November 18, 2009

I have no recommendations for specific places, but I'm seconding the hostel idea. That, or checking the temporary/sublets section Craigslist to see if anyone is trying to make some extra money by renting out their apartment/room for a few days (I'd also try posting an ad of my own). Also, is there any particular reason you need to be in Manhattan? I bet you could find something a lot cheaper in Jersey City or Hoboken (on the PATH train, they're 10 minutes to downtown Manhattan and 20 minutes to midtown on average), or Queens or Brooklyn (in reverse probable order of priciness). That goes for not only hotels but hostels, subletted rooms, and B&Bs too.
posted by Ashley801 at 12:42 AM on November 18, 2009

posted by GilloD at 12:44 AM on November 18, 2009

- you could try to find a temporary apartment via craigslist. many people in nyc rent out their apartments for when they are on trips.

- sooner or later you will come across a certain carter hotel. make that the carter hotel. it's the cheapest place in manhattan and blocks away from times square. let me save you a lot of pain and tell you to not stay there at all costs. absolutely positively not. I am not kidding.

- 50/night is kidding yourselves. plan 150/night in manhattan and even then you're still limited in options. perhaps this will work on a couch in astoria but you're pretty much asking for a 50% discount without bringing anything to the table. you will get hosed.
posted by krautland at 1:41 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

You just may be able to find something on Priceline's Name your own Price for about $100 nightly.
posted by dzaz at 3:33 AM on November 18, 2009

Hostelling International New York Stayed there for a few nights, wonderful building. Quiet, safe rooms, with lots of organised stuff going on if you're into that. Very close to a subway station, safe part of town, some nice restaurants and bars around.

Jazz Hostels are okay, but dinky and cramped and a bit grubby, the Hostelling Int one is far far nicer.

I've heard good things about Gershwin, but never bothered to go there.
posted by ashaw at 3:34 AM on November 18, 2009

All the above do private double rooms i believe.
posted by ashaw at 3:35 AM on November 18, 2009

Jazz Hostels are okay, but dinky and cramped and a bit grubby, the Hostelling Int one is far far nicer.

The one I stayed in (Jazz on the City) had bed bugs, and doors slamming thunderously throughout the night. I'll never stay there again. And it was $150 for a private room.
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:53 AM on November 18, 2009

I stayed at Hotel 17. Its actually charming and the hotel where Woody Allen filmed Manhattan Murder mystery. I paid about $80 for a single room. The shared bathroom was in the hallway.

The only downside was that the place had bedbugs which I managed not to bring home with me.
posted by vacapinta at 4:00 AM on November 18, 2009

Gack, gross. Two people paying a total of $50 is pretty much looking at homeless person flophouse for the night rates. I think $50 each is a stretch, though the OP in this other thread seemed to find something for $109.

In any event DON'T forget that there is going to be a NYC hotel tax wherever you stay, of somewhere between $20-30 dollars. Per night.

Personally, I'd look into couch surfing, blowing your whole budget on a shorter stay, or skipping NYC. NYC has a steep entrance fee.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 4:03 AM on November 18, 2009

I really, really recommend looking at Brooklyn rather than Manhattan because it's so much cheaper. It's not $50/night cheaper, but I don't know where you'd find that. The Greenpoint Y was fine for us when we visited though I think it was something around $79 for a single bedroom with a bunk bed. No bed bugs, though!

You're just going to have to shell out more money. Anything as cheap as that will be crawling with bed bugs, and you only need one enterprising bed bug in your luggage to result in millions of terrible, itchy bites, countless nights of insomnia, and much more money calling an exterminator. It's with good reason that New Yorkers are more scared of bed bugs than getting mugged.
posted by zoomorphic at 4:16 AM on November 18, 2009

Sorry, I don't think such a place exists. The cheapest place I found that I would actually want to stay in in Manhattan was the Pod Hotel, which is about double your asking price. As the others here said, Manhattan is insanely expensive.
posted by 1adam12 at 4:38 AM on November 18, 2009

For the record, even staying at a fancy hotel is no guarantee against bedbugs. Virtually every housing establishment in the city is constantly dealing with the threat of infestation.
posted by hermitosis at 4:51 AM on November 18, 2009

We're aiming for no more than $50/night for a maximum of 7 nights.

For a private room for two? Completely impossible unless you're renting a room in a residence on craigslist. Even then, $50/night will get you a room that is maybe 7' x 7' with a gross bed and god-knows what kind of hygiene.

Look at another borough or NJ, stay with an old friend's sister's former roommate. A budget of $350, for two people, for a week, is simply asking for a bad time.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 4:56 AM on November 18, 2009

Bowery's WhiteHouse Hotel/Hostel

Friend of mine and I stayed there in May last year for a weekend visit. Hopefully this picture works of the ceiling of the room. It was really tiny with two beds jammed together because if you separated them, they would block the door. Shared bathroom, but it was ridiculously cheap. We paid more for parking than we did for the room.
posted by sperose at 5:04 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

My mother liked the Hostelling International Hostel -- and there were no bedbugs.
posted by jb at 5:12 AM on November 18, 2009

Before the bedbug boom, I was able to stay in a private room, with a shared bathroom, at the New Amsterdam in on the Upper West Side which is right near a major 2/3 stop at 72nd street for around 70/80 a night (though this was 6 years ago). If you pay more, you'd get a room with your own bathroom but you won't be able to close the bathroom door and use the bathroom at the same time (the bathroom is rather cramped).
posted by Stynxno at 5:18 AM on November 18, 2009

Bowery's WhiteHouse Hotel/Hostel

Friend of mine and I stayed there in May last year for a weekend visit.

Wow, they're calling the Whitehouse a hostel now?
Is that the new word for flophouse?
posted by vacapinta at 5:26 AM on November 18, 2009

Sorry, I don't think such a place exists. The cheapest place I found that I would actually want to stay in in Manhattan was the Pod Hotel, which is about double your asking price.

The Pod Hotel seems like it should be a "budget" hotel, but it's not. You pay $200 for the tiniest possible room.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:26 AM on November 18, 2009

I stayed at Hotel 17. ... The only downside was that the place had bedbugs

Yikes, I've stayed there several times and haven't had a problem with bedbugs. The biggest problem I had was that not all rooms have a sink, yet they all have shared bathrooms. Also, some of the bathrooms don't have sinks or mirrors, which is basically asking people to not wash their hands.

Seconding that you're looking for something that doesn't exist: a decent place to stay with your girlfriend in NYC for no more than $50 a night. You'll be lucky if you can find a place for $100. You should think of $100 as a minimum, not $50 as a maximum.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:31 AM on November 18, 2009

Seconding the advice to be creative in terms of staying outside Manhattan — not just Brooklyn, but also just across the river in New Jersey, or maybe some of those more suburban bits at the far north ends of the subway lines in the Bronx (with which I'm less familiar, so I may be talking nonsense). You still won't find a good room for $50 a night but the generally-clean-and-safe chain motels have branches in those places where prices begin to resemble a normal town, while still being accessible on cheap public transport from Manhattan.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 6:14 AM on November 18, 2009

While outside of your price range, the Herald Square Hotel was easily the most affordable room I could find when I went to New York a few years ago. It's certainly a no-frills place, but you get a private room and bathroom. I don't know if things have changed, but I couldn't find anything even close to this price.
posted by AtomicBee at 6:54 AM on November 18, 2009
posted by AtomicBee at 6:54 AM on November 18, 2009

Seconding HI-New York -- I have stayed several times, it has been scrupulously clean on every occasion I have visited, and quoth its website, linked above, "Beds start at only $29.00 USD." This will be a shared room of course, but my view of hostels versus hotels is that you can pay $200 a night for a room in a Sheraton/Fairmont/Ramada anywhere and you will get an identical experience to staying in the one in your hometown -- i.e. putting up a huge wall between yourself and what you came to see.

And Manhattan is notoriously expensive. Every dollar you spend on accommodation is a dollar you cannot spend on food or shopping or visiting tourist attractions or whatever it is you want to do while you are there. And those dollars will fly away pretty fast.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:01 AM on November 18, 2009

I had a similar problem on my last visit to NYC. I needed to be in Manhattan for a lot of it, but I also had a car to park somewhere. I ended up staying in the Bronx, near the zoo, right off a subway stop. I forget the name of the hotel, but it was on or right off Tremont. It wasn't terribly convenient on one hand (lots of sitting on public transportation), but it was very reasonable and financially convenient. I had a better room for $90 a night than the others in my loosely tied travel group did for twice or three times that in midtown. And free parking.

The biggest downside was not being terribly close to "home base" should an unexpected bathroom urgency bubble up. Not a lot of easy access to that in the (any) big city.

The neighborhood was unsettling, but I'm not sure if it was because I was unfamiliar with it, or because it was actually unpleasant. Probably the former; my general rule for when an area is scary is if there are no fast food restaurants around. And there were.

I walked all over the place while there, and never felt unsafe. Except when the NYC police did their hourly lights flashing, sirens blazing, six vehicle speeding caravan through the streets. No clue what that was about, but I felt like I was going to be run down at any moment. And possibly when I saw the giant tanks of nitrogen being pumped into the sewers. WTF...?

I was FAR, FAR more terrified when I was in Baltimore. I decided to walk from Fells Point to my hotel by the stadiums, and made an unfortunate routing decision. Ended up in what I perceived to be the place where they'd find my corpse. I never felt the "kill zone" feeling quite like that before.
posted by gjc at 7:49 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

My son and I stayed in a decent room (with in-room bath) at the Hotel Pennsylvania in July for about $50 per night (before taxes). I booked it through The hotel is old, but in a great location on Seventh Avenue (right across from Penn Station, near Macy's, a couple blocks off Times Square, near the Empire State Building).
posted by unclejeffy at 7:54 AM on November 18, 2009 [1 favorite]

nthing couchsurfing. I've had nothing but great experiences with it.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:13 AM on November 18, 2009

You can get a single at the Larchmont (in the Village!) for $90/night during the week. This does not include a private bath.
posted by mattbucher at 8:37 AM on November 18, 2009

I also stayed at the Bowery Whitehouse. It was laughably decrepit but we didn't care at the end of the night, all we needed were beds. I think we had a 'triple' (hee!) for around $28 each per night. Bring earplugs if you stay there. Bring earplugs regardless.

The Whitehouse was close to several subway lines and near a lot of restaurants. If I had such budgetary constraints as yours, I would go back and not spend a lot of time there.
posted by amicamentis at 12:01 PM on November 18, 2009

I stayed at Hotel 17 last month, and definitely recommend it. Next time, however, we plan to try the Seafarers and International House - it's in the same general area, a fair bit cheaper, and has great reviews on Trip Advisor.
posted by hot soup girl at 1:46 PM on November 18, 2009

I like Hotel 17 and have never had bedbugs.

However, bedbugs are everywhere in New York right now, so it doesn't surprise me that someone got them there, but understand that you'd be exactly as likely to get them at a superfancy hotel.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:56 PM on November 18, 2009

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