That so much havoc was caused by one driveway should not be surprising in a city where, according to Donald Albrecht, a curator of "Cars, Culture and the City," an exhibition this summer at the Museum of the City of New York, more than 1.5 million cars compete for scarce street parking and a tiny number of private garages.
At 200 11th Avenue, a new building in west Chelsea, apartments with private "sky garages" reached by car elevator are nearly sold out, at prices ranging from $5 million to more than $17 million, said Leonard Steinberg, a broker who represents the building.
Uptown, Madonna paid $32 million for a house with an almost-unheard-of (for Manhattan) two-car garage. And even a one-car garage, like the Grusons', could add more than $500,000 to the value of a house, said Dexter Guerrieri, the president of Vandenberg, the Townhouse Experts, a Manhattan brokerage.
Which is why fights over driveways can get nasty.
So in a wealthy area starved for private parking, a space is worth about $500,000. The city is right to limit curb cuts, and Madonna has enough money that I don't think she cares about paying a premium for parking spaces, but $500,000 is an insane amount of money to pay to park your car. Perhaps a value capture zone (since the city loses sidewalk and curb space) should be installed on the Upper East Side to let people build parking and the $500,000 from each space can be used to pay for the 2nd Avenue subway cost overruns.
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