It's no wonder that so many New York drivers rely on parking garages. Parking in a garage will cost you more than parking on the street, but will also save you time and headaches when you're in a hurry.
According to Park It! NYC 2009, a directory of Manhattan parking garages, there are 103,000 licensed, off-street parking spaces in Manhattan. New York parking garages range from the tiny (the one at 324 W. 11th St. has just 7 spaces) to the enormous (the garage at Pier 40 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 Park It! NYC 2009, spent weeks visiting parking facilities to compile her directory of the 1,110 parking garages and outdoor lots in Manhattan. She has some great tips for avoiding parking hassles and saving money and time.
- Picking a Garage
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 for frequent customers. Edison ParkFast manages 20 parking locations in Manhattan and sells a pay-in advance card that comes with a 25% discount. Icon Parking has more than 185 facilities in Manhattan and offers regular specials and discount coupons that can be downloaded from their web site.
- Finding a Fair Rate
The average price for monthly parking in Manhattan is $431. Some garages will offer discounts if you commit to a six-to-twelve-month contract, so go ahead and try to negotiate. Hourly rates tend to vary widely by neighborhood -- from about $6 to $25 and over.
- 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.
Most people tip the parking garage valet. According to Margot Tohn's research, the typical tip is $1-$2. Some monthly parkers also give a larger tip during the holiday season. She suugests tipping when you drop off your car for a little extra goodwill with the valet taking care of your vehicle.
You can also visit the Park It! NYC website to download a free address and street finder and get more free parking tips.