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Parking in NYC: Everything You Need to Know

Parking in NYC can be a daunting task. Our hints and tips will help to get you into a decent spot.

parking in nyc

Parking in NYC can be a daunting task. There are lots of signs and rules and parking tickets. And when it comes to expensive parking garages, it’s hard to know where to go to get the best deal for your dollar – or at least feel the least ripped off.

Whether parking on the street, in a lot or at the airport, we’ve gathered hints and tips that will help to get you into a decent NYC parking spot. If you can park here, you can park anywhere!

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Alternate side parking in NYC

    • You hear it every morning on the traffic report, “Alternate Side Parking is in effect” or “Alternate Side Parking rules are suspended,” but unless you deal with it every day you’re probably not quite sure what that means (I didn’t). Alternate Side Parking rules are enforced to make room for street sweepers in the morning. Most streets are cleaned twice weekly, once in each direction, and when the rules are in effect you can’t park on the side of the street that is being cleaned.
    • Alternate Side Parking signs can be recognized by a large red “P” crossed out with a broom, citing specific days and hours. For example, a sign may say “11:00am-12:30pm, Monday and Thursday,” which means you would have to move your car no later than 11:00am on those two days.
    • The city suspends Alternate Side Parking for holidays and as needed for severe weather or other emergencies. When the rules are suspended, you may park your car in “No Stopping,” “No Standing” and “No Parking” zones, unless the rules are enforced seven days a week (i.e. “No Standing Anytime”). For the calendar of scheduled suspensions and to find out exactly what these very similar but different signs mean, click here.

Parking garage tips and airport parking

    • Finding NYC parking on the street is no easy task, but parking garages can get expensive. Once again, it pays to plan ahead and do a little research before you pull into the first and closest lot you see. Thankfully, there are many websites and apps to compare rates, get discounts, and even find and reserve your parking space in advance. Click here for a map of parking lots and garages throughout the five boroughs. AAA members get 10 percent off NYC parking coupons in Icon Parking lots. 
    • One of the most convenient and economical ways to get to the airport is to drop your car off at a lot that has free and continuous shuttle service. Perhaps you’ve seen the yellow and black spotted Swiss cheese-looking shuttles driving along the Belt Parkway – that’s The Parking Spot, an affordable, 24/7 airport parking service. The Parking Spot provides full-service, nearby parking to 21 major airports in the U.S. including LaGuardia and Newark. It offers free valet service, luggage assistance and free shuttle service that operates every five to seven minutes. AAA Members get great deals at The Parking Spot. For flyers headed to JFK, you can click here for ways to save on long-term parking.

parking in NYC

Street parking in NYC

    • To avoid getting stuck with a parking ticket (about $70 on average) pay attention to the meter and/or time restrictions and keep an eye out for Alternate Side Parking rules and suspensions. Read the signs carefully; metered parking limits range from 1-12 hours and vary from block to block, sometimes even on different sides of the same street.
    • Parking rules are strictly enforced and you will get a ticket – or get towed. All of New York is a designated Tow-Away Zone. For anything from an illegally parked car to an expired registration, you may be headed to the tow yard.
    • Gone are the days of digging through your pockets and searching under the car mats for change. NYC Parking Cards can be purchased online from the Department of Transportation and can be used for street parking and in municipal lots. Load it up in prepaid denominations of $20, $50 or $100, then just swipe and go. Except of course on Sundays, when metered parking in NYC is free throughout the five boroughs.
    • PARK Smart seeks to increase the availability of parking by raising the meter rate when the demand for parking is high and decreasing it when the demand is low, encouraging more people to travel during off-peak hours. All PARK Smart meters can be identified by a green and yellow logo.
    • Whenever venturing into the city, always think ahead. Consider how potential obstacles such as traffic, construction and holidays, may affect your travel time and parking options. Plan your route accordingly.

Do you have any tips for parking in NYC that you would like to add? Let us know in the comments.

For discounts on The Parking Spot, Icon Parking and other AAA member-exclusive discounts to make your NYC trip complete, click here.

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