Finding free parking in NYC is a headache. You’re typically left choosing between an expensive garage or trying your hand at street-parking (and you thought you’d never need to parallel park again).
However, there are some ways to get around the expense and challenge of finding free parking – one is to find cover under one of NYC’s overpasses. Remember, no matter where you park in the city, always make sure to take any valuables or personal items with you.
Free street parking in NYC is like the Holy Grail – you won’t know if you’ll even be able to find it unless you set out on the quest. That being said, travelers to the city probably don’t want to see the sights by car, circling blocks endlessly. That’s why insiders like to look for parking under a bridge or highway overpass. It’s free, under cover, spaces are typically always available, they’re in high-traffic areas to alleviate safety concerns, and you won’t have to deal with parallel parking!
This parking used to be available all over the city, but savvy garages quickly caught onto the practice, so free spots in highly-populated areas like lower Manhattan might be hard to find. But upper Manhattan and the outer boroughs are full of options easily accessible by public transit. Parking under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway in Brooklyn is possible in both the downtown area and in the hot spots of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Bonus? Outer boroughs often have far less traffic than you’ll find in Manhattan and are just a quick subway ride away.
Don’t Forget Alternate Side Parking
If you don’t park in a garage in NYC, you’ll have to deal with Alternate Side Parking. Each area will have signs that indicate what days of the week cars must be removed for street cleaning, and any overpass parking will also be subject to this. Make sure you know when you have to move your car by, and when you can bring it back – you’ll usually have a 2-hour window where you’ll be subject to tickets or towing if you don’t move your car.
Places to Look for Free Parking in NYC
242 Nagle Ave. (Manhattan) – Also not technically under the overpass, but no parallel parking needed!
Broadway and 129th (Harlem) – Take advantage of the Metro-North trains that travel briefly above-ground in Harlem.
(Brooklyn) – Most of the Brooklyn Queens Expressway (BQE) between Downtown Brooklyn and Greenpoint is overhead, with plenty of parking underneath, and this spot is close to DUMBO, Ft. Greene, and Clinton Hill.
Metropolitan Ave. & Union Ave. (Brooklyn) – Literally in the heart of Williamsburg, you won’t actually want to go anywhere else.
Meeker Ave. & Kingsland Ave. (Brooklyn) – Midtown is a quick hop over the river via train, ferry, or the bridge.
See any we missed or have trouble at these spots? Help others and let us know.