When visiting NYC, your family and friends set an untenable ultimatum -- "find me a cheap hotel" (impossible), or "let me crash on your couch" (inconceivable). Do the right thing, and dump them on a stranger, with Roomorama.
Rama's a booking engine for short-term stays in (usually) unoccupied, fully-furnished apartments, simultaneously getting visitors out of your hair, and exposing them to how full of hair your own pad really is. Simply select travel dates/#guests/#rooms, and Rama'll GMap-up available pads and pertinent details (cost per night, photos, guest satisfaction rating, etc), plus let you drill down by amenities desired (internet, parking, pool, etc) and housing type, e.g., apartment, studio, or share -- for when you want all the charm of a hostel, at triple the price. Payment's done through the site (PayPal, credit cards), with available rentals including everything from a Pre-War One Bedroom by Central Park (doorman, eat-in kitchen, $184 p/night), to a 1300sq-ft SoHo loft (12ft ceilings, 52in flatscreen, $297 p/night), to a Williamsburg "Zen Garden House" (garden w/ waterfall, stainless steel appliances, $189 p/night) owned by the guy who played the Triad boss in The Departed -- sadly, without Hollywood stunt magic, only one lucky lodger gets to throw Martin Sheen off the roof.
Putting your own pad up for rent's a simple process, and there's no fee for doing so -- establishing a third way to satisfy your friends' & family's ultimatum: "pay me, bitches."