The idea of finding the perfect parking spot in New York City may seem like the beginning of a joke to some, but for most it is a matter of urgency, and here at ParkWhiz it’s a joy!
Since New York City is one of the largest cities in the world, there are a lot of rules for parking, both on and off the street. Some of these rules are unusual, but for what the city needs, they get the job done so commerce can keep flowing. The upside to all this is that there are still some very good places to park in New York City, including some companies that claim to offer the “best parking in New York City.” To understand how to find the best parking in New York City, it makes sense to explain some city-wide rules regarding parking. Following that are some interesting facts about each borough; at the end of this article, you can find a brief guide to fighting parking tickets in New York City. We hope that this will save you time and money, while at the same time informing you about New York City parking.
City-wide information and rules
New York City has a lot of rules, but it specifically has several parking rules. Some of the laws are common sense, while others are particular to the situation in New York City.
To visitors, one of the most perplexing stipulations is the requirement of Alternate Side Parking unless on posted times and dates. ASP is simply a determination of which side of the street a motorist should park on – the left or right-hand sides. This rule was needed in order for street sweepers and other maintenance staff would be able to effectively do their jobs, or else NYC would never be clean on both sides of the street. This can get problematic for motorists as the rule is in force for almost the entire year!
There are a small number of days where the ASP rules aren’t in effect. Most often, these exceptions are because of holidays, or due to weather conditions. The city announces these days of respite on an automated Twitter feed on the days that ASP is not in effect:
Another parking program used by the city is known as PARK Smart. While not applied to the entire city, several areas do make use of it, which visitors should take note of. PARK Smart aims to make more parking spaces available by automatically raising meter rates by a few dollars for a few hours a day. For instance, an area that might originally charge $3/hr may have the rate raised to $5/hr between 6PM and 10PM. This makes it less likely for drivers to park in an area for long stretches of the day, which frees up spaces to those who actually need them and are willing to pay the meter. It also reduces problems related to parking like double parking and cars circling the block looking for an open space. Some of the areas that use PARK Smart include Greenwich Village, Park Slope, Jackson Heights and Brooklyn’s Atlantic, Smith and Court streets.
A third important note about parking across New York City is the distinction between “No Stopping,” “No Standing,” and “No Parking” signs. In all three cases, a motorist cannot simply wait — for instance to pick up a pedestrian. With “No Parking,” packages or other objects can be unloaded, and it isn’t counted as waiting, while it is forbidden for the two remaining signs. Picking up a pedestrian is permitted for both “No Parking” and “No Standing,” but never for “No Stopping,” which is literally what it says. The City makes a special note that if there is more than one type of sign in an area, the sign that gives the most restrictions is the rule.
The Bronx is a community that doesn’t go down for a count without a huge fight. In the years following World War II, high rises, redlining, and other factors resulted in a rash of arsons that severely damaged the area’s reputation. The fires became so frequent and so visible that some even occurred near Yankee Stadium during Game two of the 1977 World Series. As the the fire was shown on national television, Howard Cosell was purported to have made his famous statement that “The Bronx is burning,” though it has been attributed to the Press at large as of late. Despite the blight, poverty and conflagrations, the citizens worked as hard as they could to revitalize the area. Over time, more bank branches, big box stores and affordable housing came to the Bronx. The area has begun to recover as a result, with construction roaring and new homes and businesses coming into being.
The culture of the Bronx, like any other municipality, is a diverse tapestry that extends far into both the past and future, but two aspects of its culture readily stand out. First and foremost is the baseball culture of the New York Yankees, who are based in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees have become one the premiere teams in Baseball, through practice, hard work and the support of their community. Over the years, the team has won 27 World Series titles, a number that most other teams can’t even dream of reaching. Through their efforts, the Bronx is represented across not only the country but the wider world as well.
Hip-hop is also one of the unique contributions of the Bronx to American culture. Despite occurring during a period of decline during the 1970s, the people of the Bronx didn’t let it get them down. This often involved block parties, which allowed young musicians to come and entertain their fellow Brooklynites. During one of these parties on Sedgewick Avenue, a man named Clive Campbell (self-styling as DJ Kool Herc) was in charge of the music when he began to experiment with the beat. He made use of record scratching and mixing, creating a new style that came to be known as Hip-Hop. This genre spread quickly from the Bronx to become a uniquely American style of music. The fact that a wildly popular form of music came from the depths of tumultuous times in the Bronx is a tribute to the courage and character of its citizens. As conditions have improved in the Bronx, businesses have recovered. In places like the Bronx Terminal Market, the key to commerce is finding a place for your customer to park their car. The Bronx is a community that has weathered the storm, and to their credit have become stronger as a result. If the Bronx can come roaring back like a phoenix, no obstacle is too big for them to conquer.
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City’s five boroughs, with over five times as many people as Staten Island. This isn’t surprising considering that Brooklyn was an independent city until 1898, when the City of New York annexed the boroughs, bringing them together under one government. The borough has made significant contributions to American history and culture since the Dutch first settled in the area in the 1630s, as part of the New Netherland colony. The British conquered this area in the 1660s as part of the Province of New York, and held it until the outset of the Revolutionary War. Brooklyn was at the center of the Battle of Long Island in August 1776, where George Washington was defeated, but not out for the count, saving his troops for the victories that lay ahead. After the Revolution, Brooklyn acted as a nexus of American shipbuilding at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, which was in operation from the early 1800s to the late 1960s. It was at this facility where American warships were built for the purpose of defending the country and patrolling coastal waters. Some of the most famous ships built at the Brooklyn Navy Yards include the Civil War-era Ironclad USS Monitor, the USS Maine of the Spanish-American War and the USS Missouri, where the United States and the Japanese Empire concluded the end of WW II.
In addition to its contributions to American military history, Brooklyn has also been the origin of several elements of American culture. One of the most public contributions is the Coney Island neighborhood itself. While over 50,000 people live in the peninsula, it is the amusement parks, beaches and resorts that have attracted people the world over to visit. Coney Island was a popular spot for New Yorkers to visit during the summer, particularly after the Civil War. It housed several amusement parks over the years, such as Luna Park, Steeplechase Park and others. Coney Island also served as a venue for events such as Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, which have continued to this day. Though the area experienced a downturn after the middle of the 20th century, it has begun to be revitalized, evident in the resurrection and opening of the Luna Park amusement park. Most recently, Coney Island and Brooklyn at large have had to face the ravages of nature with Hurricane Sandy. The rebuilding process is still ongoing, but what is clear is that Brooklynites do not give up, even with the howling wind and the destruction of the storm, for “surrender” is not a word in the lexicon of Brooklyn.
The borough of Manhattan is the seat of power in New York City, and once the rest of the country. First settled by the Dutch as Fort Amsterdam and then the colony of New Amsterdam, it was in Manhattan that the young United States of America began to govern. After the Constitution was first adopted in 1789, the Federal Government was based in Federal Hall in Manhattan as its first capital. It was also in Manhattan the Tammany Hall political machine was based, an organization that had an immense influence on city elections from the end of the 18th century to the middle of the 20th.
Manhattan has contributed immensely to not only American culture, but the culture of the world itself. Times Square is one of the most well-known tourist attractions on the planet, acting as an axis mundi for the city itself. Times Square is named after the New York Times, one of the most widely-distributed newspapers in the United States, whose headquarters first moved to the Square in 1904. Over time, more New Yorkers came to Times Square, and more buildings came to grow up around it, including several theaters on Broadway. After a decline in quality and an increase in material not suitable for tourists, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and the City began to clean up Times Square, removing tenants and shops that harmed the image of the area.
The Broadway Theater District of Manhattan has also proved to be an important cultural area of Manhattan. Broadway as a road dates back to the time of New Amsterdam, but has been extended over a time to a degree that it runs across the length of Manhattan and then through the Bronx. In the area of Broadway near Times Square, theatres began to be built up over time, beginning at the turn of the 20th century. The Broadway Theatre District has evolved to become a great income-earner to the city, with theatres earning $1.158 billion in tickets for 12.16 million guests in 2012.
Manhattan is much smaller than Brooklyn, with 23 square miles of land compared to 71. Subsequently, the theater-goers have to compete for a place to park with visitors to Times Square, people working in Wall Street or even guests to the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Despite the often-cramped space on the island, Manhattan remains a center of American culture, finance, power and ingenuity, producing a metropolis that would make the empires of old shake with envy.
When momentous events happen in the vicinity of a town or state, they are usually blasted to outsiders constantly, reminding them of the locality’s greatness. Queens played host to such events, but unlike other places, Queens acts humbly despite its great contributions to the country as a whole. Queens is the second-most populous borough of New York City, located to the west of Nassau County and the rest of Long Island. With the Bronx to the North, Staten Island and Brooklyn to the West and Manhattan to the North, it would be hard for anyone to keep up, as Manhattan and the Bronx dominate the cultural and political life of the city. However, it wasn’t always this way.
Like the other boroughs that eventually became New York City, Queens was originally part of the New Netherland colony until its conquest by the British Empire. While the topic of the New Netherlands is not a popular topic when it comes to American History, it was during this period when Queens made a difference that resonated to the Bill of Rights and thus to this day.
In 1657, there was no freedom of religion in New Netherland colony, including Queens. The man in charge of New Netherland was Peter Stuyvesant, who prohibited all religions other than the Dutch Reformed Church. After several instances of Baptists and Quakers proselytizing, only to be promptly arrested and exiled, a small number of English citizens of New Netherland wrote up a document in protest. This document, known as the Flushing Remonstrance, argued for religious freedom in the colony before anyone else had done so. The signatories had nothing to gain from this document, but was rather completed because of their own moral imperative. The document’s signers were quickly arrested and some recanted, but the story reached Amsterdam, and soon after Stuyvesant was ordered to end persecution in 1663. The colony was conquered by the British one year later, but the influence of the document was felt wide across the colonies. By the time that the Bill of Rights was written over a century later, religious freedom in the Colonies was already part of established history.
Queens has a fascinating past from the colonial period, but once the Twentieth Century rolled around, the borough and the City of New York looked towards the future with an optimistic lens. Two World’s Fairs were hosted in New York during the Twentieth Century, 1939 and 1964, both running for two seasons. Both were held in Queens at what is now Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, formerly an ash and garbage dump before the fairs. The purpose of the first fair was intended to help nudge the US Economy out of the Great Depression, which was still lingering by that point. The first fair began on April 30, 1939, less than six months before the beginning of WWII in Europe.
There were differing visions of what the fair was to represent; Albert Einstein and other scientists wanted to use it to promote science in its own right, while the idea of presenting new consumer products won out the day. It was at the 1939 World’s Fair that NBC first began regular broadcasting, with FDR’s speech for the first day’s opening being the first program. Other showpieces at the 1939 fair include the electric typewriter, one of the first electronic calculators, fluorescent lighting and color photography. The fair itself was optimistic from the start, with the motto of “Dawn of a New Day” hopeful towards a future of technological promise.
The second fair in 1964 was built on a more international theme of “Peace Through Understanding.” The Fair was held on the same site as the 1939 event, crowning Queens twice with a World’s Fair. It was at the 1964 fair that the Unisphere sculpture, made famous by the movie Men in Black was displayed to the public at large, designed to demonstrate the theme of the Fair. The 1964 Fair in Queens was the first time that the computer modem was showcased, along with handwriting recognition, computer logic and exhibits by NASA that showcased the growing space agency. While the Fair has long-since closed, parts of it are still in place, including the Unisphere. The borough of Queens is imbued with the virtues of tolerance and reason, with the borough and the city at large looking forwards toward tomorrow.
Staten Island Parking
Despite being larger in land area than both Manhattan and the Bronx, Staten Island has the smallest population of the five boroughs, and often the least political clout. In the New Netherland period, the Dutch didn’t settle until 1661, three years before the English conquered the Dutch colony. In 1776, the British General Howe made use of Staten Island when he invaded New York City with his forces, and the island remained in British hands until the very end of the war.
The colonial era, like most historical time periods, is very remote to the common American in this day and age. Sometimes you have to experience history in order to make sense of it, which is why Staten Island’s Historic Richmond Town is one of the most important places to visit on Staten Island. Staten Island has the same boundaries as Richmond County, which for a time before the Revolution was based in Richmond Town, near the Fresh Kills estuary. Richmond Town now acts as a living history museum, but unlike other places of historical reenactment, almost all of the structures used were built in previous centuries. The buildings were either at the site prior to the start of the project or moved from other areas on Staten Island to preserve them from destruction. One of the more interesting buildings is the Voorlezer’s House, a National Historic Landmark that once functioned as a schoolhouse, first built in 1696. Another exhibit is the Lake-Tysen House, a farmhouse that housed several occupants from 1740 up until 1962.
In the same area as the Historic Richmond Town is what is now known as Freshkills Park. Until recently, the site of the park was the Fresh Kills Landfill. Ostensibly a “temporary landfill” starting in 1947, it ended up being one of the main places where New York City disposed of its waste and became the largest landfill in the world. The City finally closed the landfill in March of 2001, but had to reopen it for a period following the 9/11 attacks, where debris from the fallen landmark was temporarily stored. Freshkills Park is located in the same area, and is intended to become a massive public park over a phased, 30-year process. The park is made of five sub-parks, including part of the former Schmul Park, which is part of the Freshkills Park’s North Park. The West Park, where physical material from the area of the World Trade Center was stored, is set to become a memorial. Once it is complete, the Freshkills Park is slated to be as much as 2.7 times as large as Central Park. In a city like New York, where the past and present can often be seen intermingled on the same street, perspective is always important. With a keen respect for the past and hope for the future, Staten Islanders have nobly taken it among themselves to not only preserve the past through Historic Richmond Town, but make the present better for posterity through the transformation of Freshkills. Though the time and effort required to finish Freshkills park will be immense, it is their ambit that once it is all done, the park will be an emerald gem that makes the entire city shine brighter.
Fighting Parking Tickets in NYC
If alternate side parking, the weather, vandalism and who-knows-what-else didn’t make you concerned about parking on the street, New York City parking tickets would do the job. In a city the size of New York, it’s best not to tempt the labyrinthine regulatory system for a parking ticket, but it’s a chance that is always there. Due to this, we here at ParkWhiz have looked into what you need to do to free yourself from a NYC parking ticket, and we wish to share it with you.
While the first rule of parking on the street in NYC is not to park on the street in NYC, this can’t always be avoided. When an NYC parking ticket is issued, it is a good idea to take care of it as soon as possible and pay the fine. Even if you feel you were in the right when the ticket was issued, the amount of effort involved in disputing it usually does not match the cost of the ticket. There is the ability to dispute the ticket online, but with that convenience comes the fact that you can’t speak to anyone directly, only through text. It’s also possible to dispute a ticket by mail, but that is even worse than an online chat with a quick response.
There are several defenses for disputing a parking ticket, but all of them require evidence. The easiest way to get a ticket dismissed is if the information on the ticket is either not present or incorrect, a “defective ticket,” which will likely be waived. Another defense is the presence of a permit, but considering that a ticket was indeed given in this example, it isn’t likely that most people have one. If the parking meter itself is broken, the city encourages motorists to get a receipt from another meter. If proper warning signs are illegible or not present, photographs are required. The City also suggests drawings, repair bills, maps of the location, statements from witnesses, and so on as evidence. In general, unless you can find a technicality, it makes sense just to pay the ticket, and next time book NYC parking ahead of time in a parking facility with ParkWhiz.