New York hotels, even the bed-bug ridden filthy crud in the middle of Times Square hell, are ridiculously expensive. If Grant hadn’t found a subletting site called airbnb, I’m not sure what we would have done. Even better, he found THE BEST sublet. It was only $100 per night and in the heart of Union Square – the most convenient location if you’re visiting New York. The subway stop was right by the studio, and we were able to easily walk to Chelsea, West Village, and East Village from the studio. Another huge plus: it was clean! Next to the price, the cleanliness of a place is the next important thing for us, and we were so relieved that the studio was spotless.
The studio itself was very spacious with high ceilings, normal sized bathroom, nice seating area, a large dining area, a full size refrigerator, enough room to hang clothes and jackets, full size mirror, and kitchen supplies. And although it was in a central location, the studio was really quiet. The owner of studio, although we didn’t meet her in person, was extremely nice by phone, and even had water for us in the fridge and fruits and pastries when we arrived after a dreadful flight.
When we decided to extend our stay in New York, we were in the predicament of looking for a place to stay at the last minute and on a budget. Unfortunately the Union Square airbnb we were staying at was already booked up (through the rest of the year!), so we ended up booking an airbnb in Brooklyn, which was pretty affordable but still cost more than the Union Square one, which didn’t really make sense to us, but we were grateful to get a place. But when we got there, the place – a three-story home was a total dump. We’re talking floors that had an inch of dust and dirt and food and who knows what else, filthy counters, stained toilets, globs of hair in the shower, nasty water standing still in the bathroom sink, smell of paint and chemicals, live electrical wires, and badly stained bed pillows. It was pretty much the airbnb from hell. The owners were traveling in Europe, and after several back and fourth emails, we came to an agreement that we would stay there with us only paying for the third night.
It felt like we were in a scene in the Money Pit, except this was supposed to be the start of our honeymoon. Yup, honeymooning in a dump in Brooklyn. Eh, the positives: We got to stay in New York for free for two nights and we got to do laundry. We were so shocked that they had a full-sized washer and dryer. And they had a large outdoor space, which ironically was much cleaner than their indoor space (photo of their outdoor space lower right corner). But the neighborhood where this Brooklyn airbnb was located was completely normal. And by normal, we mean, everyone seemed to have outdoors space, people here had garages which Grant loved, and did we mention washer and dryers? Me and Grant began to fantasize about moving to the neighborhood – him fixing up an old Chevy in the garage, me planting an edible garden in the backyard, all with the beautiful sound of the washer in the background.
Then due to some unforeseen circumstances, we were in a position to have to find a place to sleep all in a matter of an hour on the day we were “checking out” of this Brooklyn airbnb. That was probably one of the most stressful moments of this New York trip, next to changing wedding plans the day before, of course. Time had run out and literally at the last minute, we found a decently affordable one-night hotel reservation at Pointe Plaza Hotel on Franklin Avenue. The sleek hotel looked out of place in the all-family Hasidic-Jewish neighborhood. Finding dinner in this neighborhood posed a challenge since unlike other areas we were used to in New York, this neighborhood had barely any places to eat (think walking around in a suburb). Luckily, we found a Mexican bodega, which looked really out of place. We walked to the back of the tiny bodega to find a lively eating scene with loud Mexican pop music on blast and Telemundo on. As we got our tacos, we sat there just cracking up at our situation: Here we were sitting in a cheap Mexican bodega as newlyweds in the middle of a Hasidic Jewish neighborhood, and the irony in the fact that this was the first time we had stayed in a official hotel. We knew this would go down as an interesting “honeymoon” story to tell our grandkids one day.
The next morning, we checked out and then checked in to our third airbnb. Again, right at the nick of time. This time, in the one neighborhood we absolutely did NOT want to stay in: Times Square hell. The studio was dirty as expected, the shower didn’t drain, and the lights and noise from drunkards from the Times Square madness down the street made it impossible to sleep. I mean, at midnight, the apartment never got dark. The night we returned to Seattle, we slept like babies. There’s nothing like your own clean bed.