A novel but increasingly common sight in Long Island City is the presence of baggage-toting tourists descending to the subway station at 23rd Street-Court Square. Part of the reason is that the area has a healthy concentration of hotels, such as the Z Hotel and the Wyndham Garden, and our very own hostel, appropriately called The Local. I think a lot of travelers end up around here because the hotels must be cheaper than staying in Manhattan but are located one subway stop from Manhattan, although a hotel such as The Ravel is about a good ten-minute walk from Queensborough Plaza.
My travel experience wasn’t that of the typical youngster backpacking around Europe after college. Most of my travel consisted of many short trips, partly because I always had a steady job after college and, because my father worked for an airline, I could fly anywhere for practically nothing. Throughout my various travels, I only stayed in a hostel a handful of times: once in Italy with a bunch of college friends, once again in the Garden District of New Orleans, and most recently in London to attend an academic conference. As far as I remember, these hostels resembled university dormitories: they all had a shared bathroom, a communal kitchen and dining area, and a front desk with supportive staff to help you experience the city you were visiting. One thing that I don’t remember seeing at these hostels was a bar.
The Local has a bar, and in the spirit of promoting conviviality among its guests, the hostel features activities such as a Thursday trivia night. Some of my friends like The Local because it’s a nice space off the beaten track. There is no “bar drama” because there are no regulars among its transient clientele. And best of all, it features some very inexpensive craft beer and decent wine, or so I’m told.
Last week, Sarah and I went to the Thursday night trivia contest. Assuming we were the only locals who would regularly attend this trivia night, we named our team LIC You Next Thursday. The questions consisted of some common knowledge questions, such as whether alligators sweat. (They don’t.) Because the guests undoubtedly have New York on their minds, there were questions about the city, such as naming and ranking the five boroughs in order of physical size. The pop-culture round were mostly about movies from the 1990s, and our having come of age in that decade really helped us answer those questions.
The prize was a $50 bar tab, which I am happy to report we won.
The prize was so big we had to call on friends to help us spend our winnings. However, we also could have saved for another day: the prize expires after seven days.