This hostel is absolutely brilliant. I looked at loads of hotels in New York and they were all at least triple the price of staying at HI New York. The staff are absolutely fantastic, always happy and polite and go out of their way to help you. The hostel is 1 block away (2 mins walk) from a subway station where you can catch the #1 train straight down to Times Square and all the way down to Downtown Manhattan.
I went with a friend and we stayed in a 6 bed female dorm which was spacious enough and clean, plus our room was across the hall from the bathroom - very handy! The bathrooms were immaculate and the ones on our floor (3rd) seemed to be quite new.
The only slight problem we had was that it was really hot when we went and the air con seemed to be on a timer, so we had to have the window open in the dorm which meant that we could hear all of the traffic noise from Amsterdam Ave all night long. This wasn't a problem when the windows were closed
The people and staff were all very friendly and there is loads going on every day which is perfect for the solo traveller. My friend & I already had our week planned out so unfortunately didn't get to take part in any of the activities taking place at the hostel. The room charge included a free breakfast which you got to choose from a toasted bagel with cream cheese or cereal, with a piece of fruit and tea, coffee or hot chocolate.
Don't be fooled into thinking that hostels are just for young people. During our stay we had 2 ladies in their sixties & one in her fifties each staying a couple of nights in our dorm and they all said that they felt very comfortable at HI New York.
If you are travelling solo or with friends then this is absolutely perfect place to stay in NYC. Great value and great experience.