Driving and Parking in new York City

Realistically, driving in New York City can be a horrible experience. It is stressful, it is expensive, but it is doable. There are about half a million to three quarters of a million vehicles driving into Manhattan everyday. They tend to move fast, often at very close quarters, and generally leave no margins for error. New Yorkers take their driving very seriously and expect no less from everyone else.

If somebody cuts in front of you, don’t take it personally. The key is to know where you are going. Do not be afraid to get out a map or ask for directions.

In Manhattan, Columbus and Amsterdam are great areas. Parking there is not terribly bad but you need to have a little luck on your side to find a spot on the street. There are parking garages in these areas, as in all areas of the city, however, they can be very costly. Parking will probably cost you somewhere between $15-20 for a couple of hours or around $30-35 for six or more hours.

If you can leave your car in Queens, the ride to Manhattan is easy. One subway, the 7 takes you right into Manhattan, and you can take the 1/9 train from the 42nd St. Station right up to 86th street. This is much easier than driving and parking the car in Manhattan.

Be an aggressive driver, but not too aggressive. Try not to be timid or hesitant in your driving. You definitely need quite a bit of patience and you need to be somewhat assertive especially during rush hour.

Here are some good tips you should follow while driving in New York City.

1. Avenues go north and south and streets go east and west.

2. Numbered streets go up as you go North (i.e. 50th Street is south of 75th Street)

3. Central Park splits the city between the East side and the West side.

4. 85% of the roads are one way with the next one over going the other way, with a few random exceptions.

5. DO NOT TURN RIGHT ON RED. This is true not only for Manhattan but for all of the other boroughs (the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island). It is the law. There are very few instances where this is allowed. keep an eye out for black and red lettered signs that may be very wordy.

6. The yellow light is only 4 seconds long in the City. Do not try and run it, you will not make it. So when you see yellow, slow down and stop.

7. Do not try to stay in your lane, you will be hit, just go with the flow.

8. Try to stay in the middle of the Avenue that you are driving on. Cabs make frequent and abrupt stops in the outside lanes and if you are stuck behind one nobody is going to let you back in.

9. If you need to get uptown or downtown, try to stay on the outskirts of the town. 1st and 2nd Avenues or 9th and 10th Avenues generally move much quicker.

10. READ ALL THE STREET AND PARKING SIGNS carefully. They can be hard to understand so ask someone if you are unsure. Parking tickets are now $115.00 or more.

So, if you must drive in New York City, and if you know what you’re doing you can make driving there an interesting and somewhat enjoyable experience.

Good luck and happy driving.