New York City on a Budget

by Aaron Barker

THE NIGHT OWL (continued)

VIP Treatment
Instead of steeling yourself for rejection outside Bungalow 8, head for APT in the Meatpacking District, 205 Club in the Lower East Side, or Santos Party House in Chinatown. These hot spots skip the cover charge on some nights and might even give a free pass to those who woo the doorman with a smoldering stare. To hedge your bets, e-mail ahead and and ask to be placed on the guest list. Wherever you end up, do as seasoned New York alkies do and make 24-hour Gray's Papaya your last call: The Recession Special, two all-beef franks with sauerkraut and onions and a frothy, Orange Julius–like chaser, is just $3.50.

Pod People
At about 100 square feet, the 347 rooms of Midtown's Pod Hotel are minute even by Manhattan standards—but big enough to be your base of operations, equipped with flat-screen-tv, free Wi-Fi, and iPod docking station. The marble-walled, generally spotless shared bathrooms of the most cost-efficient rooms ($89) are a plus when you consider the potential for chatting up bathrobe-clad fellow guests in the hallway; for those who prefer to prep in privacy, an en suite double is just 20 bucks more. The retro-futuristic lobby (pictured) has the buzz of a groovy downtown lounge, just without alcohol—until the hotel gets its liquor license, you'll have to toast your economic savvy elsewhere.

419 W. 13th St.
Tel: 212 414 4245

Gray's Papaya
multiple locations, including 539 Eighth Ave.
Tel: 212 904 1588

Pod Hotel
230 E. 51st St.
Tel: 800 742 5945

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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