Car & motorcycle

Driving is not recommended around Manhattan unless it’s absolutely necessary. There are always drivers who don’t want you hogging lanes, gas is pricey, car hire is expensive, the struggles for parking space can age even the eternally laid-back, and it’s a way bigger hassle than it’s worth, considering all the excellent mass-transit options.

Rental

Hiring a car in the city is mighty expensive, and though agencies advertise bargain rates for weekend or week-long rentals, these deals are almost always blacked out in New York. If you want to rent for a few days, perhaps for a road trip out of town, book through a travel agency or online before leaving home. Without a reservation, a midsize rental car will cost at least $100 per day once the extra charges – such as the 13.375% tax and various insurance costs – are factored in.

To rent a car, you need a valid driver’s license and a major credit card; international visitors are advised to have an International Driving Permit (IDP), a far more credible ID for New York traffic police. The law no longer decrees that you need to be over 25 to rent, but companies are still allowed to charge younger folks a higher rate, making it prohibitively expensive for all but trust-fund kids.

Many locals rent the self-service Zipcar (212-691-2884, 866-494-7227; www.zipcar.com), an on-demand car-sharing service, with rates from $60/100 per day during weekdays/weekends (including gas, insurance and parking). It requires a $25 initiation fee. There are scores of locations around Manhattan and the other boroughs for easy pick-up.

Among the many rental agencies in the city are the following:

Avis (800-331-1212; www.avis.com)

Budget (800-527-0700; www.budget.com)

Dollar (800-800-4000; www.dollar.com)

Hertz (800-654-3131; www.hertz.com)

A friendly family-run rental place, Autoteam USA (866-438-8326, 732-727-7272; www.autoteamusa.com; South Amboy, NJ) has cars with weekly rates (including 100 free miles per day) from $26 per day. They’ll pick you up from the South Amboy station on the NJ Transit line.
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