Navigating the busy streets of New York can be a parking nightmare. In this article, I’ll let you in on some insider secrets and local tips for finding a parking space. And some of these parking spaces are actually free! Also, I will unravel the mystery of alternate side parking. So if you decide to drive in the Big Apple, start here to make your parking experience hassle-free.
Getting around New York by car
There are so many ways to get around New York. It is a pedestrian city where the metro operates 24/7 and a robust bus system runs through the streets. But driving is also an option – and not a bad one. There are several parking options in New York and best of all, some are even free.
Yes, it’s true: there is free parking in New York. You just gotta know where to look.
Before you head into town on your Family vacation in New York, be sure to hone your parallel parking skills if you want to try street parking. Here’s what else you need to know about New York parking in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and more.
Learn more: Tips for driving in New York
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy, SheBuysTravel may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
1. Street sweeping rules, aka alternate side parking
You may not know how dirty they look sometimes, but the streets of New York ARE cleaned regularly. This means that if you use on-street parking, you will need to move your car for the 90 minutes that one side of the street is cleared. This is called alternate side parking.
So if you park overnight near your friend’s apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, be sure to check the schedule which is posted on convenient signs near the parking spaces. The fine for not moving during overnight parking is not worth it.
OFFER OF THE WEEK
On-the-Go Women, Experience Agency Skincare
Active women, discover Agency Skincare – personalized, dermatology-approved solutions for fine lines and dark spots!
Achieve radiant skin, wherever your journey takes you.
2. This is the Bible
The Ministry of Transport publishes a list of days when New York parking rules are suspended. ALWAYS consult it.
On holidays like Christmas and the 4th of July, even parking at parking meters is free. On less important holidays such as Sukkot or Columbus Day there is no street cleaning, but you still have to supply the meters.
3. The day after Thanksgiving is NOT a holiday
Every year, unsuspecting car owners get parking tickets because they assume the Friday after Thanksgiving is a holiday. At least not when it comes to parking regulations.
You will need to follow the everyday rules when finding parking that day. Otherwise, you risk going home with a ticket.
4. Don’t drive
The mistake a lot of people make is circling the block and “missing” this spot. Stay put for the best parking!
You can sit by the fire hydrant for 10 or 15 minutes and no one will bother you while you wait for the parking spots to become free. When you see this place open across the street, you’ll be the first in line.
5. Watch out for the snow
Is the snow on the way? If so, park on the left side of the block.
Snow plows throw snow to the right side and your car can be buried.
6. We are going on vacation
Holidays big and small mean New Yorkers are leaving the city in droves. Christmas, Easter, Jewish holidays, ALL week around President’s Day in February (public schools are on winter vacation then), July 4th – these are all horrible times to get out of town.
But if you’re staying in Manhattan or the boroughs and want to park, it gets a whole lot easier. You won’t compete with locals for unmetered street parking.
7. Look at these sedans and SUVs
Cars park so close together on the street that you often can’t open your tailgate, or even your trunk. If you are in a street parking spot, be careful not to pop the hatch while you are in the vehicle. Go out and make sure you have permission first.
What to do when you can’t find a parking space
SpotHero offers reduced rates for garage parking throughout the city. Using the app will show that a parking space in New York at a nearby garage costs, say, $40, but if you walk a block or two, the rate drops to $28. It’s not exactly cheap parking, but it’s certainly discounted.
Note: This $28 can be good for three hours if you park downtown. If you drive a large car, be aware that some parking lots don’t even accept minivans or full-size SUVs. Read parking details before paying SpotHero in advance.
Notable NYC Attractions WITH parking lots or parking lots
- Lincoln Center
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Bronx Zoo
- New York Botanical Garden
- wave hill
- Yankees Stadium
- Brooklyn Museum of Art / land shared with Brooklyn Botanic Garden (Bonus: Tesla superchargers)
- New York Aquarium/Coney Island
- Science room
- Staten Island Zoo (Bonus: FREE parking)
Notable places WITHOUT parking in New York
- Barclays Center
- Empire State Building
- Madison Square Garden
- Radio City Music Hall
- Rockefeller Center
Pay just to drive in Manhattan
For years, NYC has been talking about implementing congestion pricing. It would force drivers to pay for the privilege of even being able to drive in Manhattan below 60th Street. So just drive to Times Square would cost you. The current timeline for implementation is early 2024.
But since it hasn’t been enacted yet, it’s only a possibility for the future – and that’s when it’s time to figure it out. how to use the new york subway!
Cars that help with parking in New York
I just drove the Alfa Romeo Giulia around New York for a few days. When you lock the car, the side mirrors fold automatically. This is ideal in a city where the streets are narrow and even the parking lots don’t offer much leeway. You don’t want your memory of New York to be a scratch or a dent on your car.
The Alfa Romeo also comes with useful technologies such as front and rear parking assistance. You get a view of the car on the large infotainment screen, warning you of your proximity to the curb, the car behind you and the car ahead. You also get alarms that go off when you’re nearby. It was like there was an Amber Alert in the car. But I was able to park the car all over town with ease and precision.
The Giulia is pleasant to drive around town in winter since it is equipped with heated front and rear seats and a heated steering wheel. It also has flat tires, so if one of NYC’s mega potholes comes at you, you can head to a tire shop.
What about a really big car?
I also recently drove the huge Chrysler Pacifica around town for a week and had no problems parking. But when I parked the van, I had to pay extra for an oversized car.