West Side YMCA
5 West 63rd St., New York, United States
Doubles from: $95 to $172
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Reviewed by EuroCheapo.com Editors
Throughout North America—nay, the world—YMCAs double as inexpensive guesthouses and hostels, places where the budget-strapped can find relatively cheap nightly accommodation. The West Side YMCA, located on West 63rd Street near Lincoln Center, is no exception to this rule. It is a high-volume dormitory.
Pros: Spectacular location. Solid value. Fantastic gym. Good security.
Cons: Dingy (and too few) bathrooms. Staff can be surly. Very basic.
The West Side YMCA’s 360 rooms come in a few categories, from bare-bones to lower-midrange. None are luxurious, and some are frankly a bit ratty at the edges. Many rooms have cold looking linoleum floors and spartan hostel-style bunk bed accommodations. Televisions with cable are, somewhat surprisingly, omnipresent, and all rooms also have air conditioning.
The nice thing at this Y is that rooms are only singles or doubles (no giant dorms). We recommend the “premium” double rooms with semi-private bathrooms. This might be one of the better places to opt for a higher category of room, as the “premium” rooms are in far better shape than those of the standard variety.
Tip: Ask for a room with a view of Central Park.
Some rooms have private bathrooms (located outside the room), but most share facilities. Either way, the bathrooms are basic and dated. The shared facilities have the same issues that most shared hostel bathrooms have: Due to the high level of use, cleanliness is not always to the highest standard, and they don’t offer a ton of privacy, nor a logical place to stash your dry items.
Towels are provided, but some guests report that they are quite small, and advise bringing your own if you have the space in your luggage.
The West Side YMCA is undeniably basic, but for those who care more about location (and saving a few bucks) than luxury, it does the trick. The best perk here is the excellent gym and pool facilities, which are open to guests in addition to local gym goers.
Wi-Fi is free, although it can only be reliably accessed from the lobby. There is no curfew. Note that tons of students and groups stay here, and the lobby is often chaotic.
The YMCA's humble hostel accommodations reside in a gorgeous historic building which stands tall among other luxurious “old money” apartment buildings along Central Park West. This is where the rich and famous (and budget travelers) sleep.
Major attractions abound in this tony area. Central Park is literally steps away, as is Lincoln Center, home to the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic. And just down the road the Time Warner Center, a complex of upscale shops and restaurants, stands guard over Columbus Circle. Tip: Head down to the Whole Foods Market on the Center’s basement level to pick up gourmet picnic supplies or lunch on its hot/cold food bars.
The bright lights of Times Square are a 20-minute-walk (or quick subway ride) to the south.
Subways: Columbus Circle offers convenient subway access (lines 1, A/C and B/D all stop here) just three blocks from the West Side Y. The 1 train also stops at 66th Street-Lincoln Center Station.
JFK: Take the Air Train to Howard Beach Station, then the A express train to 59th Street-Columbus Circle. The YMCA is about three blocks north from the station.
LaGuardia: We recommend an airport bus service to Penn Station and then taking an uptown A or C train from 34th Street-Penn Station to 59th Street-Columbus Circle.
Newark: Take the Air Train to the NJ Transit station, and then any NJ Transit train into New York Penn Station. Transfer to an uptown A or C at 34th Street-Penn Station, and get out at 59th Street-Columbus Circle.
Reviewed by: Alex Robertson Textor, EuroCheapo Staff Writer
Note: This hotel was visited by a EuroCheapo editor. This review is based on cleanliness, location, price and overall quality. EuroCheapo did not charge this hotel to be listed.
- Bike Parking
- Breakfast Extra Charge
- Concierge/Booking Services
- Fitness Center
- Laundry Facilities
- Luggage Storage
- Non-Smoking Rooms
- Reception: 24-Hour
- Swimming Pool
- Air conditioning
- Bathroom: Private
- Bathroom: Shared
- Handicap accessible rooms
- Internet Access
- Key Card Access
- Linen Included
5 West 63rd St.
Upper West Side to Harlem, New York, United States
Fax: +1 212-875-4273
About the West Side YMCA neighborhood
Located west of Central Park, the Upper West Side is a largely residential area, filled with tall apartment buildings, stately brownstones, and families. The area is home to Lincoln Center, the American Museum of Natural History, and Columbia University. One of its greatest attributes may be its borders: you're never more than a few blocks away from either Central Park or leisurely Riverside Park. Famous Harlem, whose importance as a historically African-American neighborhood cannot be matched, begins north of Morningside Heights. Despite its dangerous reputation, Harlem has become much safer... and much more popular with tourists.