Life in New York City has its merits, but parking a car isn't one of them. Not only is street parking hard to come by, but when searching for a space, you'll need to be aware of the unique New York City parking rules.
While you'll notice tons of parking lots in Manhattan, monthly parking in NYC will often set you back the cost of a monthly mortgage (in other cities, not New York), and you could use that dough toward your very overpriced NYC apartment or other living expenses. Believe it or not, hourly and daily parking can be just as, or even more, expensive than monthly rates.
While most people who live in Manhattan do not want the hassle of owning a car in NYC because of parking, some auto owners are brave enough to park their cars on the street. I don't recommend it, but I do know people who save a bundle of cash each month by street parking rather than parking in a paid lot.
Though the savings are attractive, dealing with the threat of tickets, towing, vandalism, and theft isn't. If you're in the minority and own or lease a set of wheels in the Big Apple, or plan to buy a car in the future, then my guide on where to park in NYC is for you.
Alternate Side Parking Rules
Also referred to as "ASP rules," alternate side parking rules enable the City of New York to clean the streets. Rules are in effect at different times and on different days, so look for a street sign with a "P" and broom across it to determine the schedule of that block. When the rules are in effect (could be several hours in the morning or afternoon), you cannot park on that side of the street, or you'll be ticketed or towed.
NYC suspends alternate side parking for certain holidays as well as inclement weather and emergencies, so you can catch a break a few days per year and park where you find a space and not worry about getting a ticket.
Worst Neighborhoods to Find Street Parking
In some areas of town, you're more likely to score a parking space. The worst areas of Manhattan include Koreatown, Hell's Kitchen, the Flatiron District, and around the Civic Center.
In Brooklyn, you'll have a tougher time locating a space in Vinegar Hill, the Columbia Street Waterfront District, Boerum Hill, and Cobble Hill. Check out more about how to find parking in NYC neighborhoods on Trulia's map.
All of NYC Is a Tow-Away Zone!
Do not double park. It's illegal in NYC, and the NYPD has the right to ticket you. They might or might not, but it's not worth taking the chance and having to pay a bunch of money and go to the impound lot to get your car. Just don't do it.
What You'll Pay in Parking Lots
If you're in the city for the day, expect to pay $50 and up to park for 24 hours, which is a deal because you could pay as much as $30 for one hour. Use SpotHero to find availability and the best rates for parking.
If you live in New York and own a vehicle, monthly parking spots in NYC start around $300 on the low end but could be as high as $1,000. SUVs and trucks warrant a surcharge on top of the standard price. Now you know why some New Yorkers brave street parking. Use bestparking.com to look at lots by price and neighborhood.
In and Out Privileges
If you park your car for a monthly fee, you'll want to ask about in and out privileges. Some NYC parking lots allow only so many ins and outs per month. Others are unlimited. Also, some lots have limited hours – say, from 6 a.m. until 10 p.m. If you need access to your car outside those hours, you'll be out of luck and forced to wait until the following morning.
The Drop Car app will help with parking your car as well as maintenance, so you don't have to worry about parking at all. They'll keep your car while you shop for a few hours or pick up your car when you arrive back in the city, park it, and then drive it back to you when you need it. All of this, of course, will cost you. Visit the Drop Car website for more info.
For more on parking in New York City, I recommend visiting the NYC Parking Authority website. And if you've decided that having a car in NYC isn't worth the hassle, consider renting a vehicle storage unit!