Finding an available parking space on the streets of Manhattan can be a frustrating and time-consuming endeavor. Even if you luck into a space, confusing signs and expired meters can lead to expensive parking tickets. It's no easy feat to figure out just where to park in New York City.
It's no wonder, then, that so many New York drivers rely on parking garages. Parking in a garage will cost you more than parking on the street, but it will also save you time and headaches when you're in a hurry.
According to Park It! Guides, a directory of Manhattan parking garages, there are 1,100 off-street parking garages and 100,000 spaces in outdoor parking lots in Manhattan. New York parking garages range from the tiny (the one at 324 W. 11th Street has just 7 spaces) to the enormous (the garage at Pier 40/West Street has 3,500 spaces).
But how do you find a convenient parking garage near your destination when you really need one? Margot Tohn, the author of a past-edition Park It! NYC book, spent weeks visiting parking facilities to compile her directory of all of the parking garages and outdoor lots in Manhattan. She has some great tips for avoiding parking hassles and saving money and time:
Where to Park in New York City: Picking a Garage
Tohn says to look for parking garages owned by larger companies that own multiple facilities. These companies often have employee standards that encourage better service.
Some larger garage companies also offer discounted rates and coupons. Edison ParkFast manages more than 15 parking locations in Manhattan and runs promotions on their website. Icon Parking has more than 200 facilities in Manhattan and also offers regular online specials and discount coupons.
Where to Park in New York City: Finding a Fair Rate
The average price for monthly parking in Manhattan is more than $500, according to Tohn.
Some garages will offer discounts if you commit to a 6- to 12-month contract, so go ahead and try to negotiate. (Hourly rates tend to vary widely by neighborhood.)
Where to Park in New York City: Avoiding Extra Charges
Always read the posted rate signs and confirm the rate before you leave your car. You should also make sure you confirm that the time stamped on your claim check is correct and that you understand when you have to be out to avoid additional charges. Keep in mind that many garages charge extra for oversize vehicles and some have "event" rates for major holidays and festivals.
Where to Park in New York City: Tipping
Most people tip the parking garage valet. According to Margot Tohn's research, the typical tip is $1 to $2. Some monthly parkers also give a larger tip during the holiday season. She suggests tipping when you drop off your car for a little extra goodwill toward the valet taking care of your vehicle.
For a detailed directory of all of the parking garages in Manhattan and additional parking tips, visit parkitnyc.com.
-- Updated by Elissa Garay