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All you need to know about meter parking in NYC

  • City Parking
  • Celine Jerly
  • 8 minutes

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Check parking signs and stick to the time limit – meter parking in NYC is stress-free when you follow the rules. So, here’s all you need to know about NYC’s Muni Meters and metered parking fields.   

It isn’t easy, but street parking is an indispensable part of every NYC driver’s routine. Since the pandemic hit, the fight for parking spots is like the Hunger Games – reports the New York Times. The city’s never seen “good times” for parking, so the news is barely alarming. Even veteran drivers can’t figure out the best way to find parking in NYC without wasting time or money. Now imagine what it’d be like if you are new to the city or just bought a car – the struggle is real, no pun intended.   

There are roughly three million on-street parking spots in New York City, and that’s barely enough to keep peace on the streets. Unlike other big cities, NYC does not have a residential parking program. And to make matters worse, as the pandemic restrictions ease up, a chunk of street parking space is being reclaimed by bicycle/bus lanes and outdoor dining spaces. Step out on a sweeping street day if you want to see panic parking in action. Cars line up or double park to pounce on a spot as soon as the cleaning truck passes.   

So, there goes your hope to find free street parking in New York City without trouble. The Muni Meters are the next best option, and there’s always off-street parking if you can get past the bank-breaking NYC garage rates.   

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Meter parking in NYC  

The Department of Transportation (DoT) manages meter parking in NYC, covering both on-street paid parking and municipal parking lots. Meter rates and rules vary across the five NYC boroughs, depending on parking conditions in each neighborhood. The maximum parking time limit also varies from 1-hour to 15-hours as per the type of vehicle. Time limits and other instructions are posted on signage near the metered zones and shown on the meter’s digital display. NYC DoT uses smart parking meters to promote turnover and improve space availability in some areas where rates are determined according to the demand.  

How much is meter parking in NYC?  

Currently, hourly meter rates for passenger vehicles range from $1.25 to $7.50. There are multiple parking rate zones within New York City, where the maximum and minimum meter rates vary.    

Midtown Core and Lower Manhattan  $4.50 – $7.50 
Manhattan  $2.50 – $6.75 
Other business districts outside Manhattan  $2.00 – $4.00 
Neighborhood Retail Districts  $1.50 – $2.50 
Forest Hills (Austin Street), Queens  $1.50 – $3.00 
All Other Metered Locations  $1.25 – $2.00 

Check out the official NYC Metered parking map for the meter rates in a specific neighborhood or street. 

While meter parking in NYC mostly ends at 7 pm, metered parking for cars is available in the Theater District from 6 pm to midnight on weekdays and 8 am to midnight on weekends. The meter rate is $3 an hour on 33rd to 59th Streets from Second Avenue to Ninth Avenue during these hours. Parking is free of charge from midnight to 7 am at these spots. But outside these hours, street parking is restricted for passenger vehicles.   

How to pay for meter parking in NYC

All Muni Meters in NYC accept coins (quarters and $1) and parking cards. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Network are currently accepted at meters that display credit card logos. You can also feed the meter on ParkNYC mobile app, website, or hotline.   

Once you make the payment to reserve a metered spot, a receipt will show the parking time you have purchased. You can use the receipt to park at any meter location in the city.  

Two ways to let parking enforcement officers know that you have paid for the spot:  

  • Pay-N-Display – You must display the receipt on the car’s dashboard  
  • Pay-N-Retain – The officers get the data directly from the machines  

Always check the meter display and save your receipt as proof of payment in case of any dispute. Copies of the receipt aren’t available if you lose it.   

Muni meters accept pre-payment one hour before metered street parking begins. If available in your parking area, you can also pay remotely using the ParkNYC app or website.   

2 hour parking sign next to NYC parking meters on street

Municipal Lots and Garages  

All five New York City boroughs have Municipal parking garages and lots operated by NYC DoT. Hourly meter rates at these off-street parking facilities range from $8 – $20. You can pay with credit cards, coins, or the ParkNYC app.   

Each municipal parking lot and garage has its own rules and rate structures. However, overnight parking is not allowed at any municipal parking field due to security reasons. Look for operational hours posted at each facility and retrieve your car before closing time.   

Monthly parking is available at municipal garages for $100 – $500. The Parking Reservation system (PRS) is used to issue permits on a first-come, first-served basis. Only one reservation and permit are allowed per garage for each driver. A reservation does not guarantee a permit issued at the selected garage. Quarterly permits are also available for $90 – $500.  

What to do when a meter is out of service?  

Broken Muni Meters display the message “machine out of order” and flash a red light. You can still park at that metered spot but get a receipt from another working meter on the block or the next block. Get your receipt from the meter closest to the broken one in municipal parking lots and garages. If all parking meters nearby are broken or missing, you can park at the metered space for the maximum time allowed.   

NYC meter parking holidays  

Parking at all metered spots in NYC is free on Sundays unless otherwise indicated. NYC street parking is also free on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day. However, all other parking regulations and restrictions are in effect during meter holidays. Always check posted signs for restrictions before leaving your car on the street.   

NYC Street Parking Rules  

Getting to know all NYC parking rules demands a bit more time, but here’s where you can get started 

As for street parking, these are a few rules to keep in mind:  

  • Under the State Vehicle and Traffic Law, the entire New York City is a designated Tow Away Zone. So, any vehicle parked illegally could get towed.  
  • Alternate Side Parking (ASP) allows unrestricted movement of the street cleaning trucks. Check for signs with a ‘P’ crossed by a broom and note the street cleaning time displayed. Some metered zones also have ASP rules.  
  • Double parking is always illegal, even during ASP.  
  • Follow the more restrictive one if you encounter multiple signs posted on a block. Check the whole block for parking signs before you park.   

NYC Parking Tickets  

New York City Police Department is responsible for parking enforcement in the city. NYC parking tickets cost $45 – $600. You’ll find garage spaces cheaper than that – so don’t gamble with the meter and stick to the parking rules. A five-minute grace period is offered for ASP zones and meter parking in NYC. This means you evade an NYC parking ticket for up to five minutes after the meter expires.  

NYC parking ticket on car's windshield

NYC parking tickets: Find out what happens when you don’t pay them on time!

Meter Disputes  

When reporting a broken meter or disputing a ticket, take note of the unique meter number. Each Muni Meter has a number to identify its exact location, and it is displayed on the meter screen or above the instructions labeled on the front.   

Refund requests are accepted for meters with payment issues. But it must be made in writing and sent to DoT. The address is:  

DOT – Parking Administration 
Muni-Meter Refunds
34-02 Queens Boulevard
Long Island City, NY 11101  

What is PARK Smart NYC?  

The NYC PARK Smart program was introduced to improve parking space availability and public safety. It also aims to reduce traffic congestion, pollution, and double parking. Under the DoT program, smart meters with peak and off-peak rates were installed to increase turnover. These meters are currently operated in Greenwich Village and Park Slope. Look for the PARK Smart logo and a yellow zone cap to identify smart meters.   

Smart meter rates in Greenwich Village:  

  • $1 for 12 minutes  
  • $5 per hour from 6 pm to 10 pm  
  • $3.50 per hour during all other metered times  

Smart meter rates in Greenwich Village:  

  • 50 cents for 15 minutes  
  • $5 per hour from 12 pm to 7 pm  
  • $1 per hour during all other metered times  

How expensive is parking in NYC?  

As you can see above, even meter parking in NYC can be expensive in some areas. Manhattan tops the list for both on-street and off-street rates. It is also the borough where you’ll spend the most time trying to find a parking space. The nightmare is never-ending for those who work or live in the city. Paying a daily rate at Manhattan parking garages is far from practical. Although well-maintained monthly parking spots in NYC will cost you around $400, it is an affordable option. And if you are fed up circling blocks for hours to find parking on the street, keep an eye out for NYC parking lot deals near your destination. The lowest rates at top-rated garages anywhere in New York City are guaranteed online on parking apps and websites.   

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