Hostile Hostel: Nice Idea, Poor Choice of Words


Photo courtesy of ElephiPelephi

As a lifelong local, I’m thrilled to see a set of bungalows returned to their proper use as summer residences. Giving DFDs (that’s Rockaway speak for folks from the inner boroughs who come “Down For the Day” in the summertime) an opportunity to be DFNs (as in “Down for the Night”) is a great way to get fresh blood and hipster dollars onto the peninsula. So, in the broad sense, I welcome the parade of young and stylish twentysomethings that I saw heading trailing into the Hostile Hostel on Beach 88th last weekend.

But I was a fair bit skeeved when I saw our fearless entrepreneur’s theme for the joint. From DNAinfo:

Offering beds named for Chris Brown, Ike Turner and Mel Gibson, the hostel had a shared kitchen space called the “Domestic Violence Bungalow,” which advised guests to “get yo spatulas out.”

The name of the space was changed on the hostel’s website on Wednesday to the “Wife Beater Bungalow” and later to simply “The Kitchen….”

Guests can still book beds named after Tony Montana, Tony Soprano or Fat Tony from Springfield at what was known as the “Gang Violence Bungalow,” now known simply as “The Living Room.”

Naming rooms/beds/anything after notorious bullies and drug dealers (real or imagined)  is in poor taste in any circumstance. When you do it in a location that has seen its fair share of domestic disturbances and other problems, it is particularly insensitive and kind of obnoxious. I’ve lived near that particular bungalow court most of my life. Let’s just say it’s kept the 100th Precinct busy.

I know the kids today like to be “ironic.” But this feels more like “moronic.”

I am glad to see that the owner has responded by changing some of the names. And sincerely (and I have to say that, as I suffer from a sarcasm disorder: that was a sincere “sincerely’): I do wish her the best of luck. I think her little project will be great for the community: It provides the youngsters with fun opportunity  to come check out the edge of the city, and will bring money into our restaurants, pubs, and shops. Just recognize that Rockaway Beach is actually a neighborhood, with real people in it, from all walks of life. We hear real actual gunshots at night; police are often called into real homes where real live women are being abused. It’s really no joke.

Check out Katie Honan on DNAinfo for the full story: