Hostels and youth hostels in New York are an great alternative to hotels if you are on a tight budget. This is especially true if you would rather spend your money on exploring the city rather than accommodation.
The website hostelbookers.com, lists all 75 hostels in New York, spread across the neighborhoods of the City. No matter where you want to stay, there is always a hostel nearby.
Another bonus: all hostels in New York were reviewed and evaluated by travelers who actually stayed there. So you can be sure that the hostel you select, meets your expectations.
PS: We have not stayed in a hostel in New York ourselves, but we did try the low-budget hotels like Hotel 17 near Union Square and Hotel 31 in midtown, both of which where a great stay.
Tip: private accommodations
Private accommodations are also a great alternative to hotels. Airbnb alone offers approx. 17,000 accommodation options in New York City!