Parking lots and garages are disappearing across Manhattan, and that's been driving up the cost of parking in the ones that remain, to as much as $1,500 a month. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report.
For New Yorkers who risk a ticket by parking on the street, the hassle is worth it compared to the hefty price of convenience.
"To park in a garage, it's going to cost you $600, $700," said Marvin Siporin, an Upper East Side resident. "I might as well rent another room."
"Of course it's expensive," said another driver. "But what can you do?"
The cost of garage space in Manhattan is soaring.
On 76th Street between Madison and Park Avenues, a space plus the 18.375 percent parking tax costs $1,361. Add in the surcharge for a luxury car, and the cost zooms to more than $1,500 a month -- more than the rent in many cities.
A block south, it's $1,183.
On West 66th Street, $999.
And at some downtown garages, nearly $1,200.
A small tax rebate is available to Manhattan residents who file the necessary paperwork.
It's not just inflation that's driving up rates - it's also the law of supply and demand.
In 1998, there were 810 lots and garages south of 60th Street, with 112,826 spaces. By last year, there were just 643 facilities and 95,000 spots, a decline of 16 percent. This as Manhattan's population surged by more than 100,000 people.
The firm Property Shark says 190 parking facilities in Manhattan have been closed and the property redeveloped over the last decade, largely because of the soaring price of real estate and the corresponding condo boom.
"Land values in the city have shot up exponentially since the '80s, and property owners are looking to take advantage of that increased value," said Robert Knakal of Cushman and Wakefield.
Another factor: Developers don't have to include parking garages in new Manhattan highrises, thanks to zoning rules adopted in the early 1980s to discourage car use and reduce air pollution.
Near Columbia University, car owners are upset with a city proposal to replace garages on West 108th Street with affordable housing.
"Middle-class New Yorkers have no place to put their cars," said Meryl Zegarek, founder of Save Manhattan Valley. "The parking lots are astronomically expensive, and they're few and far between."
On the Lower East Side, a huge new development without parking already is rising above old outdoor lots.
At the nearby Seward Park Cooperatives, the fight for parking could not be more intense. It now takes 30 years on the wait list to get a space in the garage.