NYC Parking Tips

Parking your car in New York City can be a tricky. This New York City Guide will help you reduce the cost, avoid the crowds and traffic and park safe when you come into New York City to enjoy its many attractions.

Public Transportation

Officially speaking, the mayor’s office of New York City wants you to use public transportation to get to your New York City destination and avoid all the traffic – They really don’t want you to drive into New York City with your car and then hunt around looking for someplace to park it – But we understand that using public transportation can be impractical at the best of times, especially with the snow. So parking your car here may be your only choice.

Parking Lot Safety

Only 5% of the parking garages in New York City are self-park and although these are often cheaper than the Valet type, they are certainly not safer. The New York crime statistics show that having the valet means that both you and your car will be safer from street crime than in a self-park garage. Having said that the parking valet attendant’s often squash cars together to use every last space in the garage, so your car may be damaged.

Open Ground Level Lots or Multi Story Parking Lots?

Multi Level Parking NYC
Multi Story Parking Lot in NYC

Smaller parking lots around New York City are often ground level lots that are run independently of the larger garages. These open lots can be cheaper than the big parking lots, but they suffer in a few areas such as being open to the weather, with no cover from the elements and poorly staffed, very rarely operated 24 hours.

Getting Towed in the City

If you do try to park on the street, a parking ticket will cost you $105.00, which is not much more than the price of parking your vehicle in some of the more expensive parking lots in New York City. The problem is, however, is that if a tow truck sees your car with a parking ticket on it will tow it to the nearest tow pound, which will cost you and additional $200 and any hours before you can get it out.

7 Rules to Follow to get a Good Parking Garage in Manhattan

Rule No 1 – Plan your New York City Parking in advance

Don’t drive into New York City with the view – “We will look for parking lot when we get there’ – you will either end up in a very expensive parking garage ($35+ per hour) and may have to park in the middle of nowhere. New York City is a big place and there are hundreds of parking lots – most of them are really expensive. You must plan your parking ahead of your trip.

Rule No 2 – Ignore the parking offers that accompany your Broadway tickets

If you are going to see a Broadway show in New York City – ignore the parking offers that were sent to you from Ticketmaster or Telecharge with your tickets. These parking offers are usually pretty weak and yes, you guessed it, everyone else got the same parking offer in the mail, so the parking lot will be chock full of your fellow Broadway patrons – which means that the car drop-off and pick-up can be over an hour at both ends. Most of these “pouch stuffer offer” parking lots are also open ground-level lots, so in the snow and hot sun, your car is not protected from the elements or passersby. So the take away is to avoid the Edison Park Fast offers that come with your tickets, as its park fast, get out really slow.

Rule No 3 – Get a parking lot close to your Broadway theatre, but not within 3 blocks of any theatre.

Not only will it be a cheaper sale it will also be much faster to get in and out. You tend to get better service as well because your car doesn’t get caught in the Broadway rush as they try to spew as many cars on to the street as humanely possible causing chaos and vehicle damage.

Rule No 4 – Use a New York City parking lot that has large enough spaces to actually park your car

New York City parking lot attendants are notorious for banging your car it into other cars (or into the wall) to squeeze in as many cars as possible into their parking lot. If you complain, they often point to a baloney sign that says “We are not responsible for damage to bumpers” – This is obviously not true, they ARE responsible for the damage and you should remind them of this when they park your car and when they return it to you.

Rule No 5 – Book your parking spot

It is a really good idea to call ahead and book your parking spot with the parking garage company. It is a great way of finding out if they will be full or is they are even operating the hours you need them to.

Rule No 6 – Use Self-Park Lots?

If you are looking to really save money, self-park does exist in New York City, but it is totally impractical for a Broadway show as the closest one is 15 blocks away. If you do choose to use one be sure to get into a lot downtown and take a cab or subway back uptown.

Rule No 7 – How To Get Discount New York City parking

Use our discount parking guide ($2 access fee) that allows you to park for much less – $10 for 10 hours is the current price