In August 2015 I stopped off in New York for six nights of holiday before continuing on to Mexico for four weeks of work. It was my third time here, the previous visit being nine years before in 2006, and the time before that sometime around 1991. I really love this city so I was very happy to be back.
As can be seen from my Google map, my priorities have changed a lot over that time from partying and hunting for rare vinyl to eating and drinking as well as possible.
I was also here to visit friends, all Londoners having a change of scene. They included my old flatmate Alex, who has lived in Manhattan for over ten years, and Tom and Karen who were in Brooklyn for eighteen months.
On all my visits, my main problem was finding somewhere cheap to stay so I was very happy to find this historical hotel on a shortlist provided by Guardian readers…
The Jane Hotel (Elementary A), 113 Jane St, www.thejanenyc.com
Completed in 1908, The Jane was originally intended as a hotel for sailors on shore leave. This is why it feels and looks very much like an old ocean liner with small cabin rooms and bunk beds.
It was designed by William Boring who was also the architect for the Ellis Island immigration facility. In 1912 it housed many of the survivors from the Titanic disaster.
The Standard one bunk rooms are truly tiny but are some of the cheapest in the city at only $99 a night (2015 price). The Captain’s rooms are larger and have terraces should you want more space. Bathrooms are communal but kept very clean and the Wi-Fi has a strong signal. Breakfast is not included but there’s a cafe in the same building (see below).
The Jane Ballroom on the ground floor is one of the best places in town for a night out and is very popular with the party crowd at the weekends, but it didn’t disturb my sleep. Overall it’s a great place to stay despite the tiny rooms.
Café Gitane (Intermediate B), 113 Jane St, www.cafegitanenyc.com
This chilled café is in the same building as the Jane, so it’s the easiest place to come for your breakfast. The food is decent but a bit pricey in my opinion. I had an Egg & Merguez Sausage Roll with Parmesan & Salad for €14.50 and Lavazza coffee for €3.75
Corner Bistro (Elementary B+), 331 West 4th Street, www.cornerbistrony.com
Just a few blocks along the street from the Jane, this old pub that does one of the best burgers in town. I recommend the plain burger medium rare (A+) but not the fries which are pretty ordinary (C). You could have trimmings like cheese and bacon but I think they detract from the flavour of the excellent meat patties. The sell local McSorley’s ale (see my East Village post) but I’d rather have the Hoegaarden.