Sleep on the cheap—in a New York taxi?

By Alanna Schubach  | September 13, 2016 - 2:59PM

If you're desperate for a cheap place to stay in NYC—or if you're an ex-suburbanite nostalgic for the days of fumbling around in the backseat with your high school loves—this Airbnb listing is for you. The New York Times reports that visitors to New York now have the option of not only taking a ride in a yellow taxi, but also spending the night in one. 

Jonathan Powley's refurbished cab has joined tipis in Denmark and converted school buses in California on the list of most unique Airbnb listings. Powley, who studied hotel and restaurant management in college, explained to the Times that he got the idea when he was selling Christmas trees and bought a mobile home for workers to warm up in; post-holidays, he decided to rent it out, and was so successful that he began converting more vehicles for use as short-term rentals. 

Powley removed the backseat of the taxi, which is parked on the streets of Long Island City, and replaced it with a bed, pillows, sheets, and blankets. (There's also a fan, but we imagine it gets pretty stifling in the summer.) Powley charges $39 per weeknight and $49 on Fridays and Saturdays; for WiFi and bathrooms, he recommends nearby spots, but also notes that there is a "portable emergency toilet" in the passenger seat. 


Jonathan Powley

One reviewer compared the experience of staying in the cab to glamping, although upscale camping typically involves amenities like food service and showers. Another reviewer notes that while it was a "funny and exciting experience," the street the cab was parked on was quite noisy and she wouldn't stay again. This is, lest we forget, sleeping in a car, which for some—say, the more than 60,000 New Yorkers who are homeless—would amount to a last resort rather than a one-time lark, and they might not be received in local businesses with the same kind of benevolent bemusement that the taxi guests are. 

But it turns out that this cab is just one of many quirky and not-so-convenient places to rest your head on the cheap in NYC; if you're a very deep sleeper with a flexible idea of what constitutes a place to stay, you could follow up a night in the taxi with an evening on a bunk bed in a DIY concert venue from $29 per night ("quite noisy," reports one reviewer) or a couch in the common space of an art gallery for $27 per night. 

At the end of the day, as long as people are itching to experience New York City, there will be enterprising locals happy to accommodate them in the most dubious of settings. 


Alanna Schubach

Contributing writer

Contributing editor Alanna Schubach has over a decade of experience as a New York City-based freelance journalist.

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