For those of you who don't live in Manhattan, it must be strange to imagine a city where the vast majority of its citizens don't own a car. On the one hand, people living here are quite proud that most of us aren't polluting the environment with gas-guzzling SUVs, that our public transportation system is by far the best in the country and that, relatively speaking, we don't suffer from massive traffic congestion. But you want to know the real truth? The reason most people don't have cars is because it's so damn expensive!
Do you have any idea how much parking costs in Manhattan? According to a Colliers International survey, the AVERAGE parking spot in NYC costs about $500/month. However, in some prime residential areas, monthly fees have been known to exceed $750. If you own a SUV or a very high-end luxury car, the garages tack on an extra $100. Oh yeah, and by the way? The NYC tax on parking garage fees is 18.5%!
So the pragmatist in me realizes that it doesn't make sense to spend $250 per month on car payments if I'm spending $700/month in parking and $150/month in insurance. No way, man! My mommy didn't raise no dummy (actually, she raised two. But that's another story.)
Since I've been married to the BossLady, we've never entertained the thought of owning a car. Whenever we felt the need to escape the urban jungle for a long weekend or make a quick trip out to Ikea, we've always just rented a car at our local Avis. Sure, we got screwed over a few times but that was just part of the cost of doing business. But after the birth of the Peanut, we decided that we couldn't take the risk of hauling all our crap to the rental agency, only to have them tell us that our car wasn't available (even though we'd confirmed five times already). So we decided to join zip car, a car sharing service that works great in cities like Manhattan.
However, since I need to do quite a bit of travelling for work, my company is going to pay for us to lease a car. All we have to do is pay for the garage. And somehow, the always-enterprising and resourceful BossLady did some research and used her C.S.I.-like skills to locate a garage near our apartment that will rent us a space for under $300/month. This is momentous news in the MetroDad household. Since the Peanut is going to be raised in the city, I want to be able to take her on weekend adventures at a moment's notice. After all, every kid needs some fresh air, right? I have visions of us driving to pick out pumpkins every Halloween, going apple picking in the Fall, taking nature hikes up in Storm King, driving up to Maine during lobster season or just taking long leisurely drives to enjoy the change of seasons.
Now, the problem is finding a car. See, I've always been a car guy and have always driven sports cars my entire life. I realize that fatherhood makes it impractical to buy a 2-seater but, since I haven't had a car in a long time, I was hoping to get something that was still sporty, fast and fun to drive. So with that in mind, BossLady and I went shopping last weekend for cars. Here's where passion and pragmatism collided.
We decided that the smartest solution was to lease a pre-owned car from a certified dealer. This way, we could get more "bang for our buck." At our first stop, we both fell in love. Unfortunately, it was for different cars. I loved this car but she loved this one. Went to another dealership. I loved this but she loved this.
You see a pattern growing here? Everywhere we went, I fell in love with a fast car and BossLady fell in love with a bigger car, like a larger sedan or a station wagon. Her argument is that a sports car or sports coupe is great for right now but what about when L'Enfant Part Deux enters the world as planned in the next few years? Damn! Why does she have to be so damn smart and practical? I knew I should have married someone dumber! (Just kidding, honey.) She's right and we both know it. I mean it's not like we're getting a minivan. You already know how I feel about those.
Anyway, I asked some of my guy friends about this dilemma. Here are some of the answers I got...
"It doesn't matter. Ever since I became a father, I haven't driven over 55 mph."
"I told you to buy a sports car before you got married. But did you listen? No."
"Are you having some sort of mid-life crisis that I should know about?"
"Dude, just shut up and listen to your wife."
I think I'm going to go with that last suggestion. It's always worked out for me in the past. But maybe if I'm lucky, I can get Xzibit and the boys from West Coast Customs to come over and Pimp My Ride. 'Cause nothing looks more badass in New York City than a purple station wagon with flames on it and a custom-built diaper genie inside it.