Guide to New York City Parking Meters and NYC Parking Cards

How to use a single space parking meter and muni-meter, how to buy and use NYC Parking Card, and information on NYC Municipal Parking Facilities

NYC Meter

There are two main types of parking meters in New York City: the single space parking meter and municipal parking meter, or “muni-meter.” Single space parking meters are the meters for single parking spaces, whereas one muni-meter is used for one side of an entire block. The single space parking meter accepts dollar coins and quarters, while the muni-meter accepts dollar coins, quarters, NYC Parking Cards, and some accept credit cards. There are about 500 muni-meters in Midtown Manhattan that accept credit cards. From 3rd Avenue to 8th Avenue and from 57th Street to 43rd Street, credit cards can be used to pay for parking. Credit card logos can be seen on parking meters to indicate their acceptance. The single space parking meters are scheduled to be replaced with PARK SMART meters that provide benefits for both the city and the consumer.

Single Space Parking Meters

The rate of single space parking meters vary by street location throughout New York City. Rates and the amount of time you can park for are posted on each single space parking meter. There are about 47,000 single space parking meters throughout New York City. The single space parking meter rate is 25 cents for 20 minutes of parking, and 75 cents for one hour. The duration at which you can park at a single space parking meter in NYC lasts one to six hours, and even up to 12 hours in some areas. If a single space parking meter is broken, park for the maximum amount of time posted on the nearest sign. Parking legally will save you from dealing with an expensive parking ticket or having your car towed.

Smart Parking Meters

Mayor Bloomberg announced in September 2009 that a new type of parking meter called “PARK Smart” is being tested in the field and that this new type of parking meter would provide a more user friendly parking experience in New York City. These smart parking meters have a number of advantages over the old type of parking meter as this new technology will allow drivers to see a map of vacant parking spots in an area, accept payments from credit card/parking card & cell phone, and can send a text message to a cell phone when time on the parking meter is about to expire. The PARK Smart parking meter program has been tested in Greenwich Village by New York City’s Department of Transportation. This type of parking meter has also been designed to increase turnover at the parking spot, by varying the price to park depending upon the time of day – the parking meter rates go up from $1 per hour to $2 per hour during the peak periods. It is unclear if all NYC parking meters will be replaced with the PARK Smart parking meters.

Municipal Parking Meter System – The Muni-Meter

NYC Coin Meter

Better known as the “muni-meter,” these parking meters control not just one, but many parking spaces along a street, though the spaces are not separated by painted stripes. The muni-meter is centrally located on the street. Muni-meters reduce the amount of single space parking meters needed in New York City. With no spots designated, it allows as many cars as possible to fit, increasing the amount of parking spots available and generates money for NYC. Muni-meters are larger in size compared to single space parking meters. Muni-meters can be found on most street blocks and avenues in Manhattan and other areas throughout New York City. Easy instructions on how to use the muni-meter are labeled on the machine. The muni-meter system is a revenue generator for New York City because it doesn’t allow a lucky driver to park for free if they come across unused time like you would on a single space parking meter. The only chance a driver has for avoiding payment on a muni-meter is if they are given a departing driver’s receipt. 

How To Use a Muni-Meter Parking Meter

To use a muni-meter, enter the parking space number, insert coins or insert the NYC Parking Card to purchase time units, then press the green button to end the purchase and collect the receipt. Display the receipt on the dashboard of your car. If a muni-meter is broken, call 311.

NYC Parking Cards

NYC Card Meter

Much like money is put on a MetroCard to pay for the subway and bus in New York City, an NYC Parking Card is pre-paid and can be purchased in $20, $50 and $100 denominations to be used in New York City municipal parking garages and lots, muni-meters, and select single space parking meters. Like single space parking meters, muni-meters also don’t have to be paid on Sundays, which has been in effect since 2005. 
Thankfully, NYC Parking Cards don’t expire after a certain amount of time like MetroCard’s do, and are valid until the balance is depleted. NYC Parking Cards cannot be refilled like MetroCard’s and can be disposed of when the money has been used. However, New York City isn’t responsible for any lost, damaged or stolen NYC Parking Cards.

How to Buy an NYC Parking Card:
NYC Parking Cards can be ordered online on the New York City government Web site where they can be paid for by credit card and mailed to you at
In Person
NYC Parking Cards are available 24 hours a day at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal dispensing machines. They can also be purchased at 1 Centre Street in Lower Manhattan at Centre and Chambers Street. 
By Phone
Buy NYC parking cards from CityStore by calling 311 or by calling New York City Department of Transportation at 718-786-7042. NYC Parking Cards are mailed after orders are processed. 
By Mail
Submit an NYC Parking Card application by mail by printing an application from the New York City government Web site and send it to: 
Operations Division
Pre-Paid Parking Unit/Parking Card Section 
34-02 Queens Blvd. 
Long Island City, New York 11101 

Municipal Parking Garages

In all five New York City boroughs, there are municipal parking lots and garages that accept credit card payments as well as NYC Parking Cards, quarters and dollar coins. These parking facilities do not allow overnight parking and hours are posted. There are three municipal parking facilities in Manhattan: Broome and Ludlow Municipal Parking Field, Delancey and Essex Municipal Parking Garage, and Leonard Street Municipal Parking Field. To park long-term in a municipal parking lot, one must apply for a permit on the New York City government Web site.