Where do I begin? Ok, the stench when you get off the elevator. Is it the garbage stored there in the large bin behind the locked cage door? Is it the general rot of this old building? Is it some of the lifer inmates here? There is this weird chemical/sour smell everywhere, like the alcoholic neighbor I had once who never bathed or washed his clothes. The hallways have no ventilation -- it appears the bedroom doors used to have vent screens built in, which at some point were simply all sealed up. The bedroom is perfect ... to commit suicide in. Many layers of badly applied paint, mirror ripped off the door, drawstring switch to turn on the filthy ceiling light fixture, distressed Goodwill-reject random furniture, cruddy floor tiles, nasty old lumpy mattress. The screen doesn't quite fit the window so mosquitoes bite at night (I hope they were mosquitoes and not bedbugs). You have to keep the window open or you would die from the stench and the heat, even though outside the loud central a/c machinery roars all night for the neighboring Northeastern University building. The communal bathroom stinks, the shower stall for two is filthy, the two sinks each have a tiny one-square-foot mirror over them, glued over the remnants of where the larger mirror once stood. One feels as if one does not want to touch the doorknobs or anything else in this place.
How about the gym/pool privileges included as part of the room fee? The health club and pool are in the basement of this ugly institutional-style building, and generally dank and unprofessionally kept, but passable. The staff are black people who are pleasant and efficient enough. But the local members are another story: a bunch of ugly old black guys wandering around in their underwear complaining loudly that they are always being "scoped" by "white f*****s," and a bunch of ugly old white guys loping around naked with scowls on their faces apparently so as not to appear gay. Seems like a second home to most and they don't like guests invading their territory. The black guys are especially aggressively unfriendly toward white and Asian tourists, perhaps as a safe way to react against Boston's notorious racism.
Charging $50 a day for this mess is delusional. I think this YMCA is living in the distant past, when gay guys might tolerate the sleaze and lax housekeeping to stay cheaply in a building full of naked guys. Now that the "Y" is trying to lose that reputation and be a high-priced co-ed hostel, they really need to get real about stepping up their game. The fact that the YMCA is nonprofit, and receives grants and tax breaks, one has to wonder where all the money goes -- certainly not in the upkeep of this disgrace. Somebody ought to investigate.
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