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“American Dream? - the rotten core in the Big Apple”

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American Dream Hostel
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 8 April 2009

My perspective: 36 year old UK married NHS surgeon, with young family back home, in the middle of 6 months doing fellowships in UK, Germany and the US. I have travelled widely in Europe, the US, Africa, India and Australia as a student and younger professional, so hopefully have an idea of what is reasonable.

Travelling alone in the context of the recent drop in sterling against the dollar and Euro and keen to cut costs as self-funding. Also had been recommended a terrible 3 star hotel in Munich, Germany but ended up in a fantastic private room in a clean youth hostel (Euro-Youth-Hotel) with a buzzing bar with food, plenty of interesting people and in the centre of town. It reminded me of the best days I had travelling as a student but with my own room and privacy.

Keen to apply the same logic in the US, the home of customer service and value, I chose the American Dream Hostel for a 1 week visit, soon after. Imagine how impressed I was with the reception on a first floor, in a place revamped a lifetime ago, boasting an impressive variety of carpets. The complete opposite of what I was hoping for. The first room I was given on the second floor, had a classic window that I have only ever seen in cartoons, that was just bricks. Asked to be moved and was given the smallest room I have ever seen but with a window. I could virtually touch both walls with both hands. To be fair, this room was recently painted, clean but very hot. Perfect for drying towels I'd say.

The old chap across the way was interesting to chat to, especially if you like cats, and amenable, offering to turn down his TV in the evening - it still meant using my headphones to sleep as the walls are so thin and it was obviously his only enjoyment besides his cat, so felt it unfair to ask further.

The breakfast was basic and by now no surprise, basic cereal, toast, spreads etc.. The bathroom was an experience, I could not find it as I had walked past the door because it seemed to be a cupboard. Small, old but clean.

I was lucky in that in the end I came to my senses and moved to the recommended Hotel Union Square Inn (14th St) but at 110 bucks a night. It is true, you get what you pay for but it does not have to be this bad. I could not believe how poor the place was in central Manhattan, USA in the 21st century for 50 bucks a night. Save your money, stay in Hoboken or Brooklyn and take the subway! It is so cheap and easy to use. I have been to New York many times and never as appalled as I have been by this dump. 3rd world accommodation. Worse than places I have stayed in South Africa and India and Australia.

The only saving grace was the cleaner, who seemed to try her best to clean this worn out building and the guys on reception were friendly but ineffective; I had to set up another traveller's internet connection.

If you want an authentic visit to a post-war America hostel or have a particularly perverse expectation of the 'American Dream', then this is for you. Do not be this cheap if at all possible, New York is better than this.

P.S. This is the first, and probably only, time I have felt the need to write a review of a place I have stayed and have tried to be balanced.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled on business
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8  Thank LondonMooToo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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150 - 156 of 286 reviews

Reviewed 4 February 2009

This is the worst place I ever stayed in my life.

When I first came there I didn't have any expectations at all, it was my first time staying in a hostel.
The owner showed us the breakfast area, were we could eat for free. If you like sitting next to a crank old man that lives in there, then this is the place to be.

When we got into the room, we saw a window with the aircondition barely hanging with ducktape.
Ok, its a hostel. What can I expect?
In the night the bugs start crawling out from their hideouts, its not just a few.. Its a whole army crawling around there.
The second day the owner asked if we heard scrathing on the door, because one of the residence in the hostel lets out the his cat to hunt down the rats.

I thought, Ok! It's a cheap hostel!
The last night before leaving, one of the many pipes on the wall cracks. Some type of gas is pouring out of the pipe, making the noise of a teapot boiling.
So I went down to the reception, told him the problem.
He said he couldn't move us to some other room, because its full. Not just only that did he say, he said the gas coming out is probably not dangerous.
Think I got 5min with sleep that night, we didn't get any discount or anything for the trouble.

There must be better places than this!

  • Stayed: December 2006, travelled with family
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2  Thank travelolsen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 September 2008

Stayed here for 4 nights Sept 8 - 12.
Enjoyed our stay for the most part.
Just make sure you don't get room #1 as there is a separate door inside that leads to the main office and you can hear full conversations no less the telephone rings constantly throughout the night. So we ran on a lack of sleep throughout our stay. The rooms did have Air Conditioning though which was great considering it was still a bit humid in September for us.
For the price though (we paid $90 USD/night for a private room) it was as we expected.
This includes breakfast each morning from 700am - 1200pm which is great! They had hard boiled eggs, selection of breads for toast with all the fixins....cream cheese, jam, peanut butter, etc. They also had cereals with milk each day and fresh fruit as well. It's a good way to start a budget day in New York.
The rooms are small but again for the price nothing to complain about at all!
Shared bathrooms & showers could make for a slow start in the morning. But as long as you were up around 730am/800am to get in there before someone else there was never a problem for us.
Could use a bit of a makeover - fresh carpets & paint would do wonders here!
Location is great - 1 1/2 blocks to a Metro station to go anywhere you want on the island. We never felt threatened or unsafe even when returning at night. There are pizza places & cute cafes to eat at close by. Also drug stores incase you forgot a tooth brush or something.

Staff was very nice and helpful with information.
Internet available onsite for a $2.50 US for 1/2 hour. Pretty reasonable considering....

As it was mentioned in previous reviews about roaches - we did not see any bugs not even a spider the whole time we were there! Very well cleaned and kept.

Hope this helps with your trip plans!
Enjoy New York it is a fabulous city! :)

  • Stayed: September 2008, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank kristybrules
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2008

From the other reviews I have written I hope you understand that I am not a perfectionist. Taking this into consideration, I would strongly advise you never to make the mistake of staying here for the following reasons.

1) The carpets in the hallways are filthy.
2) The windows are covered with grime
3) The rooms are tiny box rooms
4) The air conditioner in my room only operated as a fan. The owner had blocked the window so I could barely get any ventillation in the room.
5) The bathroom was in need of serious repair and had a rusty nail in the shower.
6) Window-sills in the rooms were filthy.

I have stayed at plenty of hostels but this is definitely the worst ever. I would strongly advise you never to stay here (particularly in summer when the weather is very hot in NYC). The only good point about the hostel is that the sheets on the bed were clean.

  • Stayed: July 2008, travelled solo
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1  Thank Dermott25
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 July 2008

I stayed in the AD Hostel in July of 2006 for 13 nights in a Private Double Bed Room (for one person). I knew what I had to expect cause I've seen lots of Reviews and Pictures. But I wasn't disappointed. For the very cheap price you get what you pay for. The staff, especially the owner Lou was very friendly.

First I stayed in the 2nd floor in a nice Private Room with sink, but after one week at a rainy day some water came down the the wall and out of the lights. I told it Lou and he immediately provided me a new room in the 1st floor (but without sink), right next to one of the perm residents, Eddie.

He is the older guy with the cat (called Tiger II). And he was a great guy to talk with, we spent a lot of time between our doors, he had a lot of very funny and interesting stories of his life and also the house. So personally I think and I'm sure you never will have to be afraid of him. He always appreciates Postcards, Letters and everything eles from the guests and their countries and collects them in his shelf. The breakfast was fine, very much and ok for the price. Just the carpets - as already posted - should be changed. I always used the linen to cover the floor. The Bathrooms and Shower were always clean.

The best on AD Hostel is the great location, 24th Street has the Subway very very close to the Hostel, you have lots of Delis, just a few minutes to lots of Locations and Hotspots...What else do you need for a New York trip with a low Budget?

  • Stayed: July 2006, travelled solo
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Thank flokol_austria
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 January 2008

Before you book into the American Dream Hostel, it's important to understand what you're getting. It isn't the Waldorf, and that's why it doesn't cost a fortune.

I wanted somewhere central as a base for exploring Manhattan, and got what I expected - somewhat run down, very small rooms, and no frills. The place was clean, I saw no evidence of roaches or rats, the staff were extremely friendly, the free breakfast was a nice bonus, and I felt safe. The old carpets are just that - old - but I don't choose hotels for the carpets. I don't believe I could have done better for the money, and I would recommend the place to anyone on a tight budget or paying in a valueless currency like me (Rands)

There was an old man who lived there, I assume since the days when it was a rooming house, who spouted a lot of (possibly senile) nonsense, but I found that if you ignored him he didn't bother you.

Save the money you would have spent on something more expensive for shopping and stay at this hostel. I would stay there again.

  • Stayed: June 2007, travelled solo
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Thank MattJHB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 December 2007

Like another poster, I read the reviews and thought okay some good some bad, I'll give it a go. The building is really old and god love them, they do their best to clean it, but it really is awful. The first night or so was ok, but then we started to meet the cockroaches. They were everywhere. I came back another time and discovered that 'something' had been in my suitcase eating my chocolate!!!!!!! We just wanted to leave and go to a hotel but decided to stick it out. The window may as well have had no glass in it it was so noisey, the small radiator banged throughout the night - thank God for earplugs.
We never took the breakfast and the few staff we did meet weren't at all friendly. We spent as little time there as possible.
The only good points were the shower was nice and hot, (although I did have to queue a couple of times) they really did make and effort to keep the place clean, the bed was fairly comfortable and the sheets were clean.
If you are on a really tight budget then this place is ok, and the location is good, but if you are tossing up between this and spending extra on a hotel - go to the hotel!!!!!

  • Stayed: November 2007, travelled with friends
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Thank Auntie033
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about American Dream Hostel

Address: 168 E 24th St, midtown Manhattan, New York City, NY 10010-3703
Region: United States > New York > New York City > Manhattan , Murray Hill
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 162 Speciality Lodging in New York City
Price Range: £70 - £120 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A family owned business, American Dream Hostel welcomes you to New York City. Our prices include breakfast in the morning and WiFi. You will be in Manhattan, Flatiron District/Gramercy Park, close to the most exciting locations and events; most main points of interest including restaurants, bars, clubs, shops and stores are studded around the neighborhood and all within walking distance. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
American Dream Hotel New York City

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