Parking Wars: As Condos Replace Lots, Garages Drive Hard Bargains

An endangered species.

It’s Friday night and your friend has been bugging you for weeks to get dinner at that restaurant he’s been dying to go to, but you’ve resisted ($175 for a hamburger, really?).  But now that it’s Restaurant Week (and there’s a pre-fix menu), you’re going!  So you hop in your car and head downtown. The traffic gods seem to be in your favor and you make it to your destination with time to spare.  There’s just one minor problem:  there’s no parking.

Encountering vacant parking spaces in New York City can be as hard to come by as a date you’d want to take home to mom.  From a distance, things are looking good, but the closer you get you realize your mistake.  The sign cautions:  “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY.”  In just ten minutes you’ve gone from normal to stalker to misanthrope.

The negative correlation between the population of New York City residents to parking spaces for the cars of those residents (and for out-of-towners, as well), makes for a very hostile relationship:  as the number of residents increases, the number of parking spots decreases.  As the island of Manhattan continues to develop, condos are being built everywhere where parking lots and garages once stood.  And while developers do not need a permit to provide parking spots for 20 percent of the number of apartments in a building, says The Times, they do need the city’s approval if they want to build more spaces.

So how much does a 9’ by 20’ plot of asphalt run for these days?  According to The Times, spots can cost over $200,000 to buy or more than $1,000 a month to rent!  And I thought the rent for my closet-sized LES apartment was steep!  Maybe we ought to kill two pigeons with one stone and invest in a mobile home!

Parking Wars: As Condos Replace Lots, Garages Drive Hard Bargains