Parking a car in NYC
Do you own a car and live in NYC? Or, are you considering traveling to New York by car? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, I’d say that you’re a brave soul. Navigating the city is no easy feat. One way streets. Bumper-to-bumper traffic. Bikes. Scooters. Pedestrians. Plus, the cost of parking in NYC is expensive. Parking lots in Manhattan are especially high.
Space comes at a premium in New York––whether you’re looking for a place to sleep or a place to store your car. And when it comes down to it, there’s not enough space to do either. If you’re thinking about owning a car in the city, think about parking a car in NYC first.
What should you expect to pay for parking in Manhattan?
According to spothero.com, a website where you can book parking in advance and perhaps save a few dollars, the average cost of monthly parking in NYC is $570. While the monthly price could be as low as $400 for an introductory rate at certain lots, that cost will likely increase in a few months. And monthly parking in NYC could cost as much as $1,200 per month (yes, really!) if the lot is in a swanky area like Madison or Fifth Avenue on the Upper East Side. You could pay as much as $800 or $1,000 per month on the Upper West Side.
If you’re in the city for a day or two, daily rates average about $45 to $50 but could be as low as $20 or high as $125. Want to park for only an hour? Be prepared to fork over at least $20 or 30 for that short amount of time. And if you own an SUV, surcharges always apply. (Back to that limited space thing.) For the least expensive solution, I recommend not driving in or to New York, and if you must travel by car, consider parking in New Jersey and riding public transit into the city.
What about parking on the street in NYC?
While you might try parking on the street, spaces in Manhattan are hard to come by in a lot of neighborhoods, so you could be forced to park in a lot. Street parking is easier in the other boroughs, that’s for sure, but more people tend to own cars in Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx, so don’t expect to find a space without a hunt. Keep in mind, too, you’ll have to deal with alternate side parking and move your car several days per week so the street can be cleaned. Otherwise, you’ll get a ticket.
I know what you’re thinking: rent a car instead. That way you skip the parking, too.
But that’s not so easy, either.
Car rental rates in Manhattan are exorbitant (like $200 or $250 per day during prime times) and usually, rental companies are sold out on summer weekends and holidays (the times when you’d probably want to get out of the city.) So unless you plan weeks ahead, you’ll likely be stuck when everyone else is working on their savage tan in the Hamptons. And even with reservations, companies overbook and you could potentially still be without a rental car when you really need one.
When it comes to parking in NYC, the pros might outweigh the cons.
While parking in NYC can cost a small fortune, having a car at your disposal is worth the money if it’s in the budget. You’ll have the ability to leave New York at any time: when you want to escape the city for an afternoon upstate, take a week away at the beach, or when you’re in lockdown during a global pandemic. Trust me when I say, as someone who has done it both ways but currently lives without a car, it’s totally worth it to pay the parking and have the freedom to come and go as you please.
Yes, you could use Amtrak, bus service, or Metro-North, depending on the destination. But unless you’re going to another walkable city, you’ll likely need a car on the other side.
For New York City parking rates, check out parkingwhiz.com, iconparkingsystems.com, and bestparking.com. Best of luck finding parking in NYC.