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YOUTH BEAT

The Y's and Hows of Low-Cost Lodging in New York

May 30, 1999|LUCY IZON | Lucy Izon is a Toronto-based freelance writer. Internet http://www.izon.com

New York City-bound budget travelers can get help arranging independent tours by using do-it-yourself packages offered by the Y's Way. The packages include accommodation in single or twin rooms at either the Vanderbilt or West Side YMCA, meal vouchers for use at on-site restaurants, and vouchers for sightseeing activities. Both locations accept reservations for men and women.

When I visited the Vanderbilt YMCA last year, my room was quite small and the furnishings were tired. Washrooms and showers were down the hall. But, hey, it's affordable. And there are fitness facilities, including a pool, and the recently renovated restaurant was quite pleasant. The receptionists were friendly, and the accommodations were safe and conveniently located.

The Y's Way packages range from three to eight days. For example, two nights' accommodation at the Vanderbilt, two breakfasts, admission to the New York Skyride, the Museum of Natural History and the Beast speedboat ride total $155 for a single room, $111 per person in a twin room. A four-night package with breakfast each day and one dinner, plus a community tour, a Circle Line boat cruise and a visit to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, is $305 in a single room, $217 per person in a twin room. Rates are slightly lower at the West Side Y.

The Vanderbilt YMCA is at 224 E. 47th St., New York, NY 10017; telephone (212) 756-9600. It has 370 single and twin rooms with television and air-conditioning. It's within walking distance of the United Nations, the New York Public Library, the Museum of Modern Art, Bloomingdale's and Grand Central Station.

The West Side YMCA is in the heart of the Upper West Side at 5 W. 63rd St., New York, NY 10023, tel. (212) 875-4100. It has 550 single and double rooms. There's a fitness facility, cafe and piano bar. Guest rooms have television and air-conditioning. The YMCA is within walking distance of Central Park and Lincoln Center.

For more information or to purchase a package, contact Y's Way International, 224 E. 47th St., New York, NY 10017; tel. (212) 308-2899. Y's Way International can also arrange rooms (for a small reservation fee) at affiliated facilities in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Miami, Chicago, Boston, New Orleans, Washington, D.C., Montreal, Paris, London, Rome, Hong Kong and Jerusalem.

Y's Way information is available on the Internet at: http://www.ymcanyc.org, but reservations cannot be made on the Web.

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