Do you know that there is a 167-year old organization located in New York City which owns and operates more than 1,200 hotel rooms in five separate locations in three boroughs? Some of its facilities are housed in landmark buildings and contain world-class athletic and fitness centers that surpass all private competitive facilities. It\u2019s the YMCA of Greater New York which traces its roots to 1852 and has evolved as a flexible organization serving people of both genders, all ages, races, and religious beliefs. Its history is one of responding energetically and consistently to the times and the changing needs of its constituents and communities. From its initial evangelical Christian orientation, the YMCA has grown to be a secular, values-oriented organization with a special focus on positive development in city youth. Historically it has served the urban poor as well as the middle class with programs ranging from educational courses and employment bureaus to gymnasiums and resident accommodations. Some people interpret \u201cYMCA\u201d to mean that YMCAs are only for \u201cyoung Christian men.\u201d Not true. Despite its name, the YMCA is not just for the young, not just for men and not just for Christians. All ages, all religions, all genders are welcome at the YMCA. There are currently five YMCA properties in the New York area providing accommodations for transient guests. These YMCA\u2019s house both male and female guests who are interested in finding safe, clean, affordable and centrally located guest room facilities, fitness centers and restaurants. Guest rooms at the YMCA are singles and twin rooms (bunk beds) with shared bathroom facilities located down the corridors. There are a limited number of premium rooms with double beds and rooms with private baths at an additional cost. Amenities at all the YMCA\u2019s include daily housekeeping service, free group fitness classes, cardio strength training, basketball court\/gymnasium, sauna, teen programs, youth sports, swim lessons, electronic door locks, guest laundry, luggage storage and restaurant. West Side YMCA \u2013 480 Rooms The world\u2019s largest YMCA opened to the public on Monday, March 31, 1930. It was designed by Architect Dwight James Baum who designed 140 houses in the Riverdale area from 1914 to 1939. The West Side Y has two swimming pools: the Pompeiian pool (75\u2019 x 25\u2019) with glazed Italian tiles. The slightly smaller Spanish pool (60\u2019 x 20\u2019) is surfaced with Andalusian tiles of rich cobalt blue flecked with yellow, a gift from the Spanish government. The Y has three gymnasiums, one with a running track above; five handball\/racquetball\/ squash courts, two group exercise studios, 2,400 sq. ft. free weight room, boxing room with both heavy and speed bags, stretching and martial arts rooms, mediation studio for yoga and mediation classes. The building also houses the jewel-box Little Theater, where one-time resident Tennessee William\u2019s play \u201cSummer and Smoke\u201d was presented in 1952. Any number of famous people have stayed at the West Side Y while establishing their careers; among them Fred Allen, John Barrrymore, Montgomery Clift, Kirk Douglas, Eddie Duchin, Lee J. Cobb, Douglas Fairbanks, Dave Garroway, Bob Hope, Elia Kazan, Norman Rockwell, Robert Penn Warren and Johnny Weismuller. A recent renovation to the bathrooms reflects an important amenity improvement that will be installed on the remainder of the West Side Y\u2019s floors and ultimately to the other New York City YMCA\u2019s. The shared bathroom facilities have been converted to private bathrooms, each with a stall shower, toilet, wash basin, good lighting, mirror, electrical outlet, hooks and new colorful tile from floor to ceiling. These locked private bathrooms are accessible only with the guests\u2019 electronic room key card. These bathrooms are better than country club standard. Vanderbilt YMCA \u2013 367 Rooms Located on Manhattan\u2019s fashionable East Side, the Vanderbilt Y building has a classic design matching that of its neighbors, which include the United Nations and Grand Central Station. Over the doorway of the Vanderbilt Y these words are etched into the stone: \u201cRailroad Branch Young Mens Christian Association\u201d. It was initiated under Cornelius Vanderbilt II\u2019s leadership in 1875 when the YMCA\u2019s had grown enormously, spreading from Manhattan and the Bronx to Brooklyn and Queens. The new Railroad YMCA opened in 1932 at a cost of $1.5 million at 224 East 47th Street between Second and Third Avenues. In 1972 its name was changed to honor Cornelius Vanderbilt. The building has 367 guest rooms, a full-sized gymnasium, a modern four-lane indoor swimming pool with a one-meter diving board. There are shower rooms for men and women; weight training and exercise rooms; and massage, sunlamp and sauna departments. The Vanderbilt\u2019s spacious, air conditioned restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner from Monday through Friday. The facility seats 122 persons and serves more than 250,000 meals per year. Harlem YMCA \u2013 226 Rooms The 135th Street YMCA traces its roots to the summer of 1900 which was marked by racial disturbances in the still predominantly white Harlem and Manhattan\u2019s Tenderloin district over the growing inequality of black citizens. Earlier a \u201ccolored\u201d YMCA operated at 132 W. 53rd Street in the heart of San Juan Hill, an African American residential area where fashionable clubs fueled artistic life and gave the district its reputation as a \u201cblack Bohemia\u201d. Between 1910 and 1930, Harlem\u2019s black population doubled creating the only large-scale, fully developed African American community in the nation. Julius Rosenwald, a top executive of Sears, Roebuck and Company in Chicago, gave a total of $600,000 in challenge grants to build YMCA\u2019s and YMCA\u2019s for African Americans in many North American cities. One of those was the 135th Street Y which opened in 1919 at a cost of $375,000. The Branch quickly established itself as a pillar of the community in civic and social affairs and of the Harlem Renaissance that began in the 1920s. Writing in theOutlook, Booker T. Washington noted that the gifts from his friend Julius Rosenwald to the YMCA \u201chave been a help to my race\u2026.in what they are doing to convince the white people of this country that in the long run schools are cheaper than policemen; that there is more wisdom in keeping a man out of the ditch than in trying to save him after he has fallen in; that it is more Christian and more economical to prepare young men to live right than to punish them after they have committed a crime.\u201d By 1940, the original Harlem Y was inadequate, overcrowded and worn and needed program space for boys, a supervised dormitory and counseling facilities for the thousands of African American youth seek work in New York City. Transient \u201cRed Caps\u201d, Pullman porters and dining car men, who were not allowed to use the segregated Railroad YMCA\u2019s, also needed accommodations. In 1933, a new Harlem YMCA was built on West 135th Street directly across from the existing Harlem Y. By 1938, the original Y was remodeled as the \u201cHarlem annex\u201d to house its boys\u2019 department. In 1996, it was remodeled again, reopening as the Harlem YMCA Jackie Robinson Youth Center. A cultural center unto itself, the Branch hosted and housed renowned writers such as Richard Wright, Claude McKay, Ralph Ellison, Langston Hughes; artists Jacob Lawrence and Aaron Douglas; actors Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Cicely Tyson and Paul Robeson. In years gone by, the Harlem YMCA\u2019s 226 rooms were often occupied by African American visitors and performers to New York City who couldn\u2019t get rooms in midtown hotels because of racial discrimination. Flushing YMCA \u2013 127 Rooms Citizens in Flushing broke ground in 1924 for a YMCA Branch on Northern Boulevard near La Guardia Airport to serve residents of Bayside, Douglaston, College Point, Whitestone, Kew Gardens and other nearby communities. The building with 79 guest rooms opened in 1926. Subsequent expansion took place in the following two years with new playgrounds, athletic leagues, and summer camps. Flushing added a new wing with an Olympic-sized pool and a businessmen\u2019s athletic club in 1967 and 1972, 48 guest rooms. Greenpoint YMCA \u2013 100 Rooms The Brooklyn Association raised capital for new buildings through the 1903 Jubilee Fund, a drive that marked its 50th Anniversary. Between 1904 and 1907, the Association completed three new buildings: Eastern District in Williamsburg; Bedford between Gates and Monroe Streets; and Greenpoint. Each of these branches contained a swimming pool, running track, gymnasium, club rooms, lounges and residence guest rooms. In 1918, the Greenpoint Branch added two floors of dormitory rooms. In its early days, it was known as the workingmen\u2019s YMCA because of its focus on the needs of employees in many nearby factories. William Sloane Memorial YMCA-1,600 Rooms Opened in 1930 on West Thirty-Fourth Street and Ninth Avenue, the building was built primarily to serve more than 100,000 young men seeking their fortune during the Great Depression as well as the thousands of soldiers, sailors and marines during and after World War II. Finally, in 1991, the Association closed the Sloane House and sold the building. In 1979, the singing group, the Village People, scored their biggest all-time hit in the form of \u201cYMCA\u201d, a disco smash recording. The band promoted the song with a folk dance routine that features hand signals illustrating the letters of the title. This caught on at discos around the world and has since become a part of pop-culture folklore. Anytime the song is played on a dance floor, it\u2019s a safe bet that many people will perform the dance routine with the appropriate YMCA hand signals. Y.M.C.A. \u201cYoung man, there\u2019s no need to feel down. I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground. I said, young man, \u2018cause you\u2019re in a new town There\u2019s no need to be unhappy. Young man, there\u2019s a place you can go. I said, young man, when you\u2019re short on your dough. You can stay there, and I\u2019m sure you will find Many ways to have a good time. It\u2019s fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A It\u2019s fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A.\u201d The author, Stanley Turkel, is a recognized authority and consultant in the hotel industry. He operates his hotel, hospitality and consulting practice specializing in asset management, operational audits and the effectiveness of hotel franchising agreements and litigation support assignments. Clients are hotel owners, investors, and lending institutions. \u201cGreat American Hotel Architects\u201d My eighth hotel history book features twelve architects who designed 94 hotels from 1878 to 1948: Warren & Wetmore, Schultze & Weaver, Julia Morgan, Emery Roth, McKim, Mead & White, Henry J. Hardenbergh, Carrere & Hastings, Mulliken & Moeller, Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, Trowbridge & Livingston, George B. Post and Sons. Other Published Books: \tGreat American Hoteliers: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2009) \u2022 Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels in New York (2011) \u2022 Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels East of the Mississippi (2013) \u2022 Hotel Mavens: Lucius M. Boomer, George C. Boldt and Oscar of the Waldorf (2014) \u2022 Great American Hoteliers Volume 2: Pioneers of the Hotel Industry (2016) \u2022 Built To Last: 100+ Year-Old Hotels West of the Mississippi (2017) \tHotel Mavens Volume 2: Henry Morrison Flagler, Henry Bradley Plant, Carl Graham Fisher (2018) All of these books can also be ordered from AuthorHouse, by visiting stanleyturkel.com\u00a0and by clicking on the book\u2019s title.