The first time I went to New York as an adult, I landed at LaGuardia, turned my phone on, and realized I had two voicemails. The first was my friend telling me that I couldn't crash at his place that week after all. The second was him again, this time assuring me that he wasn't going to be able to pick me up from the airport, either. I'd kind of figured that after the first call, but I guess it was polite to clarify it? You decide.
So here I was in Queens on the first day of my 9-Day trip in New York City, and I had nowhere to go. I'll be honest - for about five minutes, I was pretty bummed about it. But I decided it wouldn't screw my trip up. I found a building with free Wi-Fi, broke out my laptop, and started looking for cheap places to stay. Would you believe they charge like $250 a night for the Y? Ridiculous.
Anyway, I eventually found this hostel in Brooklyn: The New York Loft. It was only $50/night, so I got on a bus to Manhattan, hopped on the L Train and rode out to East Williamsburg (which is actually an area called Bushwick, but don't tell the hipsters). It was a pretty decent setup - they had these huge rooms with five bunk-beds a piece, and they even had free breakfast!
The weird thing about hostels in America is that they're rarely patronized by Americans. I've stayed at a few, and at every one, I feel like I'm in another country. It's actually pretty cool. I ended up rooming with these three Dutch guys trying to break into New York as male models - they were heading out to this art installation that first night I was there, and they invited me along. We ended up hanging out a bunch while I was in the city, and I had a great time. Furthermore, I never would've had that experience staying in Jersey City with my so-called friend.
Life, lemons, etc.