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I went to America in mid-Ferbruary with my school band. We spent the last 3 days, 2 nights in New York City and spent our nights at the West Side YMCA. When we pulled up outside we were quite wary of the place but inside the reception was beautiful... what a false impression that was! We were all staying on the 15th floor, girls on one side, boys on the other and teachers in the middle. When we stepped out of the lift we were shocked. It looked like a prison corridor, the doors were cold uninviting metal with a small grate in the top, there was a dreadful smell, very stale. (apparently there were wooden doors on some of the lower floors). The rooms were tiny, just enough room for a bunkbed, a tv (which we were most grateful of) and a small desk. There was barely enough floorspace for 2 people's suitcases! My room seemed clean enough but one of our party found a live cockroach in theirs. There was a shared toilet/shower room.. one female one male. The female one had a security combination lock on it, but there was an old man who kept trying to see it (they'd had trouble with him before). There were young girls and boys on our trip and we felt very unsafe staying in the YMCA. The teachers didn't feel much better and we actually stayed out in Manhatten 'til about 12:30am both nights just to avoid going back there.
Between my second and third years of university I went out to the States on Camp America. They flew all of us into New York City and put us up for the night in the YMCA. It was filthy and crawling with all sorts of bugs, including the famous New York Cockroach. I didn't feel very safe at all and barely got any sleep. There were people there who looked like they'd stayed previous nights, and they slept hugging their luggage. I think if I had that to do again I would definitely get a few other students together and look for slightly better accomodation.