I took a couple of NYC day trips, and I didn't find them absurd. they were extremely affordable, and I got to spend the day going to museums! if you really do way to stay over, I know that one way that students travel is by staying at hostels or doing things like couchsurfing or airbnb.
btw, you are right that downtown Syracuse is just empty and boring. it's way more similar to Ithaca than it is to NYC. I would only go up there if there was a concert or festival you were particularly interested in.
Location: Southern California -> Cornell '16! Go Big Red!
Has anyone taken NYC trips?
Cornell has a ton of organized day trips to NYC, but I find those flat-out absurd. You leave Cornell at 6 A.M. and return at 11 P.M, so you're basically spending 8 hours on the bus and 8 in the city. Totally ridiculous.
I'd be more interested in a long-weekend trip, but NYC hotel rates are crazy. I know the Hilton on Avenue of the Americas is like $400+. How do students afford it?
I was thinking of staying in Princeton or Jersey City (just a cheap motel) and then taking a subway over in the morning and then going back at night. Not sure how feasible/expensive that is.
I guess I could go to Syracuse if I wanted a closer urban environment, but there's nothing to do in Syracuse...
An NJ to NYC commute is doable, but you have to remember that most of New Jersey is suburban, and without a car, you are going to have to count on being extremely close to train station to get into the city.
Just FYI....renting a room in an apt in NYC is illegal. Yes, the notices are on airbnb, but the practice is illegal, with very few exceptions. You also run the risk that you could pay for your rental and then be unable to use it, with no recourse. (Search on Trip Advisor if you want to read more about this.)
TravelZoo.com runs hotel specials that can be quite affordable if you share a room with a friend. I realize that as college students you cannot always plan far enough ahead to take advantage of promotions, but if you can book out a couple of months, you can secure great rates. One mini-chain that offers respectable accommodations is Affinia. I have only stayed at their Affinia 50 property (quiet side street on Upper East Side, but walkable or subway to everything you need). That location offered suites with two queen beds and a sleeper sofa in the living room. Not new, not glamorous, but clean and spacious.
hostels? I suppose I've never tried them here, but I stayed in hostels all the time when I was in Europe and it was extremely cheap/affordable--ranged from 10-30 euro a night and sometimes included breakfast. there are tons of review websites which can help you find good ones.
There are lots of students from NYC. Make friends and crash at their place for your weekend trip. Also do you know anyone at nyu or Columbia? The dorms there are in a great spot, you could visit a friend there too.
Your best bet to find discounts is Travel Zoo, as I mentioned above. A quick Google search revealed that there are two Ys in NYC: the West Side & the Vanderbilt. West Side is near Central Park; Vanderbilt is near Grand Central. The Y seems more hostel-like with shared baths. Here is a link to Trip Advisor. Generally very candid reviews but be wary of properties that have reviews from 'one-review posters'.
If you can find two friends to travel with, I will reiterate my preference for the Affinia chain. Large rooms with two queen beds and sleeper sofa. The rooms reminded me of old post-war apartment buildings. Private bath and a kitchen plus tons of space. Decent rates if booked well in advance. But, if traveling solo and do not mind shared bath and tiny rooms, The Jane referenced above offers a very affordable alternative in a happening area.
PLEASE BE EXTREMELY CAREFUL WHEN THINKING OF LOWER PRICED HOTEL ROOMS OR SINGLE ROOMS IN THE SO CALLED BED AND BREAKFASTS.
Ok, will be the first to concede that the bedbugs are also present in high end hotels, but logic dictates that they are more prevalent in cheaper establishments.
Yes I know Princeton also has them, but guessing they came from kids doing hostels over breaks.
end of rant.