I stayed there for 3 nights in 2004. I was first interested by this place knowing the owner was from Quebec as I am and because she advertised it in the newspaper of Quebec city. The cheap rate sure was appealing as well.
It didn't started very well : prior to my departure, I had to set a meeting with the owner (she's a bit weird it's true and was kind of rude, even if I was from Quebec and speak french) in front of the hostel in order to get the key and pay her (!). I get in front of the hostel on time : she's not there ! I had to call her with my cell phone (you propably are aware of the high cost of that when you're in another country...), she tells me to meet her instead at her B & B that she also owns a few blocks from there. I get there, get my linen, key and go back to the hostel. Things didn't get better there : I don't mind old buildings but I expect them to have minimal standards of cleanliness wich this one didn't have. It was a mess pretty much everywhere, special mention to the kitchen. There is a large common room with TV it's true, but a mess there too, a lot of garbage and food from the prior guests. The room was OK, old bunkbeds, old mattresses, old wood floor that makes a hell of a noise when you walk on it. It was clean enough for me though.
It's on a main street of Harlem, so don't expect to sleep well : many sirens at night, but you can't blame it on the hostel, I was aware I was in NYC, that's part of the adventure and I wasn't there for a "relaxation vacation" or a sleeping cure ! You just got to keep that in mind if it's your first time in NYC. If you want a good night of sleep in a NYC hostel, it's probably very hard to have. About Harlem, I never felt threatened during my stay and the bad reputation it has probably isn't representative of reality. Of course you'll see many weirdos, people arguing roughly on the corners of the street, but it was as if they didn't see me and they didn't hassle me. I took the subway there at night too and had no problem. You can get to most parts of the city pretty fast from the hostel. Felt a bit weird to be about the only white guy in the place, but nobody seemed to have a problem with that and everybody was minding its own business. So I kind of liked the neighborhood with its unique atmosphere, the nice architecture. Had a good cheap breakfast at a corner joint nearby.
Back to the hostel, the showers are so-so, not inviting. To sum it all, the whole place needs a good facelift. It could be a nice place I'm sure. But I don't expect the owner to invest much in her place : she was complaining to me about the heating cost during winter and was wondering why she didn't have more guests ? Hellllo ? Kind of obvious ! She had the nerve to give me some fliers to distribute in local places when I get back home !
The positive aspects ? Cheap rate, convenient for transportation, but still, a bit far from the major sights as Times Square. I had 2 nice roomates, a couple from Lyon, France.
Since I'm not so inclined to meet people in hostels, I didn't mind there wasn't many guests. So I guess if you're very sociable and want to meet many travellers, you'll get bored there.
For a few more bucks, I'll try next time an hostel closer to Times Square, it probably will be better. Still I had an incredible time in NYC for my first time there, it was more impressive than all I had in mind, it's bigger than nature. Went to see the Mets, walked a lot, saw Rent...twice ! (try to get the 20$ tickets at the lottery every night). The Uptown Hostel didn't make my trip less enjoyable, so if you're not complicated and can live with minimum comfort, you can considerate this place. If you have hight standards, look somewhere else.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.