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Private parking at 200 Eleventh Avenue (Compass) Private parking at 200 Eleventh Avenue (Compass)
Before the pandemic, New York City was set to implement congestion pricing, a scheme that proposes to levy a fee on nearly all vehicles venturing south of 60th Street in Manhattan. With the pandemic, the launch of congestion pricing was put on hold, and temporarily, so was the city’s gridlock problem. Unfortunately, while city traffic was enjoying a temporary pause, car ownership was increasing. By one estimate, local car ownership increased by 224% in 2021 alone. With the city now back to life and struggling to accommodate more car owners and drivers than ever, congestion pricing is once again nearly ready to launch.

Despite objections from New Jersey residents, congestion pricing is expected to be implemented as soon as May 2024, at which time it promises to raise between $35 million and $45 million in revenue, which will be passed along to the struggling Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). For New Yorkers, the nearly certain arrival of congestion pricing also raises a critical question — will owning a car in New York City still be worth the cost and hassle?

In this article:

LOFT67, 219 East 67th Street
LOFT67, 219 East 67th Street Lenox Hill
Harbor Hill, 155 15th Street
Harbor Hill, 155 15th Street Park Slope
535 West End Avenue
535 West End Avenue Riverside Dr./West End Ave.
Bridgeview, 26 Broadway
Bridgeview, 26 Broadway Williamsburg
Kensington Townhouses, 336 East 7th Street
Kensington Townhouses, 336 East 7th Street Kensington

Pros of car ownership

Avoiding the MTA

As of spring 2023, 50 percent of MTA customers reported concerns about safety, security, and service reliability on the city’s subway system. With violent and racist attacks on the rise in recent years, women and minorities have been especially reluctant to return to daily subway use since the start of the pandemic. Satisfaction with MTA buses is also lagging, with only 65 percent of riders satisfied with service. It goes without saying, then, that one of the number one reasons to own a vehicle in New York City is to avoid relying on the MTA.

Getting out of town

Even New Yorkers who love their city love to escape it, but getting out of town is extremely difficult without a vehicle. While you can rent a vehicle, it tends to be far more expensive than it is in most other U.S. cities. At the time of writing this article, for example, renting an economy car in Manhattan was, on average, twice the price of renting the same vehicle from the same car rental company in Chicago or Boston. So, if you leave town on a regular basis, it’s possible that owning may be less expensive than renting.

NYC traffic (Flickr - jaғar ѕнaмeeм)

Cons of car ownership

New York City can be a challenging place to drive

Driving in New York City isn’t for everyone. In fact, many would say that it requires both a high degree of patience and a bold attitude. Still, this doesn’t mean that New York City is more dangerous for drivers than other U.S. cities. In fact, collisions and traffic fatalities are statistically more likely to occur in smaller cities, such as Atlanta, Dallas, and Baltimore.

Car ownership is more expensive in New York City

Like housing, owning a vehicle in New York City is much more expensive than nearly any other U.S. city. In addition to having some of the nation’s most expensive insurance premiums, everything from tolls to parking is generally more expensive. Even if you own your vehicle outright and take advantage of free street parking, which is becoming increasingly difficult to find, owning a vehicle will likely still cost over $500/month. If you pay for parking, expect to spend closer to $1,000/month for the privilege of owning a car, and much more if it is financed.

...and is about to get more so

With congestion pricing almost certain to pass, despite objections from many residents and commuters, owning a vehicle in New York City is also about to get a lot more expensive. Once implemented, cars will be levied $15 for venturing south of 60th Street, trucks will be levied $24-$36 depending on their size, and motorcycles will be levied $7.50, so whatever vehicle you happen to be driving, owning will cost more.

If you’re a Lower Manhattan resident whose reported annual income is $60,000 or lower, you’ll still pay a toll but receive a discount. Taxi and ride-sharing operators will also be able to venture below 60th at a discount, but they will still be charged, which means even car-owning alternatives are about to get much more expensive.
Upper East Side building with on-site parking Deeded, on-site parking at LOFT67 (Nest Seekers LLC)

Bumpers are bound to get scratched

Whatever you do, your bumper will get scratched on a regular basis. Side door swipes and other scratches are also inevitable, so either accept that your vehicle will not look pristine or factor in regular trips to your local detailing guru.

Street parking is scarce, and paid parking is expensive

Parking has always been a problem in New York City, especially in Manhattan. In 2018, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Anna Quindlen published Alternate Side, a novel that is at least partially about New Yorkers’ quest for parking. In 2019, actor Alec Baldwin enacted his own passion for parking when he punched a man over a parking spot (the actor later pled guilty to harassment and was forced to pay a fine and take an anger management course).

In the years since Quindlen’s novel and Baldwin’s parking dispute, parking has gotten much worse across the city. Between the addition of bike lanes, the arrival of roughly 2,000 CitiBike docking stations, and the arrival of dining sheds, the city has lost thousands of parking spots in recent years. So, what can you expect to pay for a parking spot in Manhattan? Daily rates generally range from $50 to $85, while monthly rates generally range from $500 to $1,000.

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Residential building parking
Car ownership has long been an expensive and stressful lifestyle choice in New York City, and the introduction of congestion pricing will likely provide just one more incentive for New Yorkers to avoid owning and driving on a daily basis. Moreover, between Mayor Adams' proposal to eliminate parking mandates in new construction and parking garages being demolished to make way for new housing, parking is only going to get harder to find and more expensive when it is available.

However, while they cannot eliminate the expense of congestion parking, some New York City buildings seek to eliminate many of the headaches of car ownership by offering deeded parking spaces. Some are located in the far reaches of the outer boroughs with limited access to public transportation, while others are in luxury Manhattan developments with parking among the high-end amenities.

Listings with deeded parking included

200 Eleventh Avenue, #PH1 (Compass)

Riverpointe on the Hudson, #4B (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York Properties)

Pacific Street Lofts, #601 (Compass)

The Waterfalls on Ocean, #6A (Redfin Real Estate)

La Rive, #3A (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

575 East New York Avenue, #2D (Compass)

Kensington Townhouses, #338B (Highline Residential LLC)

Harbor Hill, #2D (Compass)

Bridgeview, #402 (Nest Seekers LLC)

475 Sterling Place, #1B (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)

LOFT67, #3FL (Nest Seekers LLC)

10 Sullivan Street, #10A (Serhant LLC)

535 West End Avenue, #172P (Douglas Elliman Real Estate)
Would you like to tour any of these properties?
Just complete the info below.
  1. Select which properties are of interest to you:

Or call us at (212) 755-5544
Would you like to tour any of these properties?
Contributing Writer Cait Etherington Cait Etherington has over twenty years of experience working as a journalist and communications consultant. Her articles and reviews have been published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and internationally. An experienced financial writer, Cait is committed to exposing the human side of stories about contemporary business, banking and workplace relations. She also enjoys writing about trends, lifestyles and real estate in New York City where she lives with her family in a cozy apartment on the twentieth floor of a Manhattan high rise.