Finding an available parking space on the streets of Manhattan can be a frustrating and time-consuming endeavor. Even if you luck into a parking space, confusing signs and expired meters can lead to expensive 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 West 11th Street has just seven spaces) to the enormous (the garage at Pier 40 and West Street has 3,500 spaces).
However, finding a convenient parking garage near your destination when you really need one can be a daunting task. Fortunately, a number of New Yorkers have compiled lists and directories of the best-rated parking garages in the city—just make sure you pick a garage with a fair rate and avoid any additional charges when you park.
Picking a Garage With Fair Rates
Margot Tohn, who wrote a past-edition "Park It! NYC" book, says to look for parking garages owned by larger companies that own multiple facilities; these companies often have employee standards that encourage better service, and 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 while Icon Parking has more than 200 facilities in Manhattan and also offers regular online specials and discount coupons.
The average price for monthly parking in Manhattan is more than $500, according to Tohn, but some garages will offer discounts if you commit to a six or 12-month contract, so go ahead and try to negotiate when you book your parking spot.
On the other hand, hourly rates tend to vary widely by neighborhood—so you should always try to find a larger parking garage company in especially populated areas like Times Square and the East Village to avoid higher prices.
Avoiding Extra Charges and Tipping
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, so it never hurts to ask a parking attendant what the rates are for the day you're using the garage. This way, you can—with 100 percent certainty—be sure you're not going to be charged additional fees or unexpected rates.
When planning a budget for your parking in NYC, you should also factor in a tip for the parking garage valet. According to Margot Tohn's research, the typical tip is a few dollars, but 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.
Updated by Elissa Garay