New York City (NO Parking) Signs 20191028

Warning: Deciphering parking signs can induce fear.

But so do the prices in parking garages.

As a Native New Yorker, I can park and swagger away confident that my deciphering skills are finely honed. I won’t come back to find a $145 bright orange violation or an empty space where I left my car. That’s not always true, one time I came back to my car to find a ticket on it and the meter still had time on it. The meter maid was working on the next car and I asked him to look. He said the ticket was valid. The meter THEN clicked to expired. He said “See, it’s expired” and walked away from me.

Understanding the signs is no guarantee you won’t get towed. Sometimes there is some unannounced special event that they will tow your car, but instead of taking it to the pound, they “relocate” it. When you find your car missing, you call the police thinking it’s stolen, after some wait, they tell you it was ‘relocated’ and give you the location. A cheap thrill for sure. I’ve seen ‘relocated’ cars sit in their new location for days, obviously unfound by their owners.

There are also general rules that we locals don’t get suckered into. Never be the closest car to a fire hydrant. If it’s quota time for the tow operaters will tow the next car to the hydrant, even if you’re 50 feet away, You’ll get towed. ‘parked too close!’ Don’t park in front of a cut curb or infringe even a milimeter into a crosswalk. You’ll get towed.

The impound lot is on the Hudson River, ironically in ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ and really inconveinient to get to (and expensive). You need the right paperwork to get your car back, and if you don’t have it with you, you’ll make several trips there to find out exactly what paperwork you need. After paying the exhorbitant tow fee, they will return your car with one or more orange violation tickets under the wiper that you still have to pay.

It would be easier to tell you when you ARE allowed to park and stand.

The sign below is challenging. If i’m an authorized vehicle AND it’s a school day, am i allowed to park there Monday and Thursday from 11am – 12:30? The star is an unusual emblem, the “P” with the broom is called “alternate side of the street parking” for street sweeping (cleaning). We have days here where alternate side is suspended but the meters are still in effect. When in doub call 311.

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