Driving in New York City is in many ways its own punishment.
I am speaking here only about parking.
Last year, when the Significant Other and I drove into Manhattan to visit a museum, we were a bit surprised that parking the car cost more than the museum admission and lunch: $61.
So, this week, when we planned a similar venture, we consulted an iphone parking app that led us to the bargain-priced garage whose entrance is pictured above.
Outside it displays its half-hour rate -- $8.45 plus the city's 18.375 percent parking tax. That comes to $10 for a half hour. Pretty steep.
Fortunately, there was a long-term rate of about $30 for stays over 2 hours. Since we planned to be in the city for three hours, our bill, with tax, came to about $35, plus the tip for the guy who pulled our car out of wherever it had been lodged in the bowels of the building.
(The rate for stays of two hours or less is not as generous -- $25 plus tax.)
In some ways, Manhattan residents get a better deal, an eight-point discount on the city's parking tax. They are taxed only 10.375 percent for long-term parking. (New York, like other American cities, favors its voting citizens over visitors in other ways -- think of taxes on rental cars and hotel rooms.)
In another way, however, Manhattan residents may have it worse. Since 2012 there have been regular reports of parking spaces in swank new condo buildings or popular neighborhoods selling for $1 million each.
Yes, a million bucks for a parking slot.
This may be why Uber has become so popular in the city.
In the last few years, the city has been requiring parking lots to include spaces for bicycles. Here is the rate quote at the place where we stopped:
Many bike owners in the city choose not to avail themselves of these rental spaces and instead park their vehicles on the streets.
This comes with its own hazard. Almost 5,000 bikes were reported stolen in the city last year, and thefts of expensive bikes (worth more than $1,000) were up by 64 percent.
You may wonder why bike owners do not store their bikes in their apartments to prevent such losses.
I can tell you why. I have visited New York apartments. Unless owners are willing to sleep with their vehicles, there is simply no room for anything as large as a bicycle in a Manhattan apartment.