Saturday, June 2, 2007

Free Lodging? In New York City? Hah!

Since I fly to New York in the morning, we spent the bulk of today taking care of last-minute details. Because I leave approximately twelve hours from now, it was vital to spend our time wisely, to make sure all possible contingencies have been anticipated, no matter how minor they might seem. Obviously, all major particulars have long been sewn up, but those pesky trivial details, such as where to sleep at night, still remained.

Naturally, this is largely in jest, but until yesterday, we weren’t exactly sure where we were going to be spending each night. Keeping costs low is paramount to the philosophy of this trip, and anyone who has ever visited www.hotels.com and searched for a cheap NYC hotel room knows that frankly, they don’t exist. Furthermore, hotels don't generally provide the kind of interesting experiences we are hoping to have. Staying with friends was a possibility, but one of our rules was that even a stranger to New York should be able to complete this trip, and a stranger wouldn't have friends to stay with. Hostels were an option we considered, but they proved difficult to find outside of Manhattan. Additionally, we didn’t want to have to sleep with one eye open watching out for the petty thieves that seem to follow me around in youth hostels. Besides, after walking over 30 miles a day, I’m not even sure I’d have the energy to care if someone was stealing my bag.

So, we thought about what other options we had. While we fully appreciate the tremendous efforts of New York’s Finest in recent years to lower crime in the city, we’re not quite ready to sleep in an alley somewhere. We began our searches at religious establishments near the scheduled stopping points, and after numerous unanswered e-mails, unreturned voice mails, and people on the phone who thought we were serial killers, we expanded our search to anyone who we thought could conceivably have floor space for two weary pedestrians to crash for a few hours for a night. Come to think of it, perhaps we should have phoned mattress stores and furniture outlets!

We did have some success, and yesterday, we nailed down our one remaining night courtesy of a kind and enthusiastic member of the couch-surfing community at www.couchsurfing.com. In the end, the generous folks at an interesting variety of establishments were cool enough to let us stay with them, despite the fact that we will almost certainly smell like sweaty orangutans upon arrival. Our accommodations will therefore be as follows:

Day 1 – A church in Bay Ridge

Day 2 – A Jewish center near Forest Hills

Day 3 – Couchsurfing in Astoria

Day 4 – Society for Ethical Culture in Riverdale

Some of these descriptions have been left intentionally vague until we find out whether or not our hosts want their names to be public.

In summary, lodging = $0. Mission accomplished!

4 comments:

Chris K said...

Dude. Excellent.

buckfush2 said...

Guys - my offer is still good no matter how bad you may smell :-)
Pat

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