I connected with Margot Tohn, through Ladies Who Launch - I've been a member of the Los Angeles area group for about a year, and she says she has been a member of the New York group since nearly the beginning. Margot publishes Park-It Guide to New York City, the most comprehensive guide to NYC's 1,100 parking garages and lots through her Website at www.parkitguides.com
When I mentioned to her that I would soon be traveling to New York for business, she offered to send me one of her books to assist me in finding parking while I was there, and let me tell you: "This book rocks!" What's especially meaningful is that she has personally visited every one of the garages at least four times, and she designed the book to help readers quickly and easily find the best parking spot, regardless of whether that means the closest garage or the cheapest.
Margot explained to me, that despite having a choice of 100,000 spaces, it just isn't that easy for locals to find the perfect garage that is either half a block from your destination or has the cheapest three-hour rate in the neighborhood. And often, once they do find it, they may not remember where it was for the next time.
As a West Coaster, I know that parking in Los Angeles can be a hassle, but New York City locals know that finding parking in their city is just as competitive as finding an apartment, a babysitter, a dry cleaner, or a spouse. According to Margot, "We've found that while men will pore over the book like it's filled with baseball statistics, the women are the real users of the book: Essentially, it saves gas, money, time, and the hassles of parking in New York City."
The idea for the book came about one Sunday afternoon when Margot and her family drove into town to see a matinee. After locating a parking garage close to their theater they waited patiently in a very long line to enter. As they inched their way toward the entrance and were just about to turn into the driveway, the valet put out a 'FULL' sign.
Out of luck and running out of time they knew their options were limited and opted for another garage nearby that had openings -- but was more costly than the first. This experience helped her see the need for a handy guidebook to hassle-free parking in Manhattan, so she set her sites on making it happen.
An avid lover of New York City, Margot felt passionate that parking shouldn't ruin your day or cost you too much, so she set out in 2006 to create Park It! NYC. Her efforts spanned 18 months of working with the Department of Consumer Affairs, driving every single street in Manhattan, creating maps that are easy to read, and devoting endless hours to organizing and confirming data. "I couldn't believe that a city as big and wonderful as New York City still had parking as a major issue for residents and visitors. So I set out to make parking easier and painless for everyone."
Just a few years later, the third edition of her Park-It guide to New York City features 24 maps which display parking locations with entrance and exit arrows, neighborhood names, street direction arrows, landmarks, hospitals, car washes, and gas stations.
Listings for the city's 100,000 spaces include address, entrance and exit information, phone number, garage name, hourly rates, special morning, evening and weekend rates, holiday and event rates, oversized vehicle surcharges, discounts for local retailers, hours of operation, indoor or outdoor, valet or self-parking, capacity, credit cards taken, clearance height, if elevators are used to transport cars, notes on the entrance and driveway (even if the driveway is particularly steep or narrow), and much more!
Priced at just about $14, the book features an entire chapter of hints and tips on Congestion Pricing, Trends in Parking, Avoiding Extra Charges, Picking a Garage, and other valuable information to making parking easier. Now that it is in its third edition, Margot has expanded the book to include maps of Self-Parking Garages, Gas Stations, and Highway Entrances and Exits as well as sections on Parking in the Theater District, New Garages, Museums and Tourist Attractions, and Monthly Parking Rates.
Margot continues to accept feedback about the garages included in the book, and invites users to share info about their favorite garage as well as warnings about the ones to watch out for. She can create a printed Neighborhood Guide or a PDF for users to provide for special events (or for businesses to post on their website) and even plans to expand the Park It! Guides library to other cities as well!
Whether you're a New York resident, or will just be visiting, these guides are most certainly an indispensable necessity to keep in your car!
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