Cheap Parking & Tips on Driving in New York City

By: Josh -
Last Updated: July 21, 2016

It doesn’t matter if you are visiting or moving here; New York City is no place for a car. In this article we will talk about why having a car in the city is NOT a good idea, about alternatives to parking in the city, water ferries, parking garages, auto insurance, parking violations and more. Use the information in this article to save yourself a ton of money! Few New Yorkers own a car, and for good reason.

  1. You rarely drive.With congested city streets and cab drivers willing to run you off the road, it is often cheaper, easier, safer and more relaxing to take public transportation. New York has the best public transportation system in the United States. Why fight through traffic, spend an hour looking for parking, and pay parking ticket after parking ticket when you can simply ride the subway to any place in the city for $2.75?
  1. Auto insurance in New York City is higher than anywhere else in the United States.Spending thousands of dollars on auto insurance will not leave you much pocket money. Why is the insurance so high? Cars are often sideswiped on the side of the road, broken into or vandalized by passing thugs, stolen, or simply wrecked into by one of the mad cab drivers I spoke about before. Save your cash and sell that car!
  1. Parking!You’ll never find it, and if you do, you’ll more than likely get a hundred dollar plus ticket for a parking violation you didn’t even know you were making. Parking garage, you say; $15 for the first 20 minutes and $20 for each additional hour anyone? How about a month long parking pass; you ask? $450 per month!? I could rent an apartment in Kansas for less than that.


If you are visiting NYC and MUST bring your car, here are some options that can save you some money and a headache. If you can do so, try parking your car outside of New York, in New Jersey for example, and take a water ferry or taxi. There is a service named NY Waterway and it offers ferries from Weehawken, NJ to West 39th Street, which is in Manhattan. You park at Port Imperial, which is in Weehawken and catch a ferry from there. The ferry runs seven days a week and costs $9 each way, per person. Parking at Port Imperial costs $14-16 per day; substantially cheaper than parking anywhere in Manhattan, especially at hotels, which often charge $25 per day minimum, after tunnel tolls, tips, etc.

The ferries operate between 6am and 12am and leave the port every 20 minutes. Some nights the ferries run until 1am. You can check the exact schedule on their web site. After the ferry drops you off at 39th Street they provide a FREE shuttle bus which will take you to any general location in Manhattan.

The 10 minute ferry ride is relaxing and gives great views of the city. That’s a hell of a lot better than sitting in smoggy tunnel traffic for an hour. You can find out more by visiting their website. You can even buy your ferry tickets online!


If getting to Weehawken is out of the question, try parking in a parking garage not owned by your hotel. Make sure you check the rates and understand them. Garages in NYC can be especially expensive. Hotels almost always charge more to park there than if you were to park in a public garage.


If you are moving to New York City and MUST bring your car… well, you shouldn’t bring your car. But really, if you have no other option but to bring your car, you should understand that parking in the city is very expensive and difficult. You can opt to pay several hundred dollars per month for a spot in a parking garage or you can try and park on the street for free.


The problem with street parking is, well, there is not much parking to be found, and when you do find a spot, you more than likely will have to move your car again before a certain time to avoid a ticket. There are school zones, street sweepers, trash pick up times, and a variety of other burdens that will require you to move your car at certain times. It may be while you are in class or at work or asleep! Not moving your car will almost guarantee you another hundred dollar ticket. Add up a few tickets and you're eating into your rent and fun money. This doesn’t even take into account your higher auto insurance, the headache that comes with constantly having to move your car, break-ins, damages, and the fact YOU’LL NEVER DRIVE IT!


If you are coming to visit New York, leave your car at home. Take the train, fly or take the bus. You can find some great deals by visiting our “Transportation to NYC” section. Once you get here, you can take advantage of New York’s world renowned public transportation system. If you are thinking of moving to the city; sell your car first, not after you get here. I know several people who made the mistake of moving to the city with their car. Within a month they were bogged down with multiple hundred dollar parking tickets, had to deal with moving their cars every morning to let street sweepers by and watched as their auto insurance tripled. Giving up that automobile will allow you to save a ton of money in a city built for the pedestrian.