I haven’t learned my lesson and I’ve chosen the cheapest hotel I can find in Manhattan, in the Chinatown district.
I get to my room on the 2nd floor. A gloomy corridor leads to a tiny window, facing a wall, and there are countless doors dotted on either side of the passage, with about a doors-width of wall between each door.
I enter the room. It has a tiny single bed, too short for me to lie without resting my feet on the wall. The entire room is smaller than a double bed. I can sit up with my back against the one wall, resting my feet on the far wall. I won’t have been the first person to do this, as three of the walls are covered in streaks from weary feet/shoes. There are no windows, but the streaks on one wall are broken by a carefully positioned plastic artwork.
The bathroom is smelly. A friendly cockroach comes out of a drainage hole in the middle of the floor to greet me.
The rooms have a chicken wire roof, so the area is more like a dorm with tiny walls between them, with every sound from the neighbouring guests broadcast across the floor. “No lady” said the sign outside, and I’m not sure whether they’re more concerned about disturbing the other guests or about the wellbeing of the lady as she contorts to fit on the bed along with the guest. Or perhaps it’s the walls they’re worried about – they don’t look like they could withstand much activity.
It may be New York, but the roof aims for that Alcatraz style
The wifi is not working.
I meet a Serbian artist. “Terrible, terrible place. I will never come back here, never!”
“You hear everything, and the man next door, he’s an ex-convict, he tell me to switch my light off. ‘I’m reading’ I say. He threaten to kill me, say he stab someone to go to jail and if I don’t switch my light off, he kill me. Terrible, terrible.”
“I snore, he shout at me to keep quiet. But he snore like steam train!”
The artist leaves to go to his exhibition, where he will put on a helmet in order to control a giant robot arm that will wave him in the air, apparently controlled by his brainwaves.
I like this place already.