New York City Parking Rules & Hydrants

Be sure to remember the 15-feet rule when parking near a fire hydrant.

New York City is not known for being particularly driver friendly, however, if you do drive in the city it is important to abide by all the parking laws, otherwise you may find a ticket waiting for you on your windshield. It is particularly important to know the rules involving fire hydrants, as you may find your car has been towed if you park too close.

Fire Hydrant Rules

According to the New York State DMV Driver’s Manual, you may not park within 15-feet in front of or behind a fire hydrant, unless a licensed driver remains in the car in case it must be moved in an emergency. Generally, a fire hydrant is followed by a red painted curb that designates a no parking zone however, if a hydrant does not have this marker, it is important to remember that the 15-foot rule still applies.

General Parking Rules

According to the New York state parking restrictions, it is illegal to wait for any period of time in a no parking zone. In New York City, there are three types of no-parking zones. A ‘No Stopping’ sign means that you may only stop in order to obey traffic laws or in case of an emergency, while a ‘No Parking’ sign means that you can stop temporarily to load or unload passengers or items, as is the case near a fire hydrant. Lastly, a ‘No Standing’ sign means that you can only stop temporarily to drop off or pick up passengers. However, on major legal holidays the No Stopping, No Standing and No Parking rules are temporarily suspended, except in places where they are in effect seven days a week, which are usually designated by a sign. It is never permissible to wait in any of these three zones.

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Parking Violation Fines

The New York City Department of Transportation has deemed all of New York City a Tow Away Zone and, under the Vehicle and Traffic Law of 1959, any vehicle parked illegally may be towed at the owner’s expense. If your car has been towed, contact the New York City Police Department. As of 2010, the fine for parking closer than 15-feet from a fire hydrant was $115, and included a $15 New York State Criminal Justice surcharge.

Alternate Side Parking

Alternate side parking rules designate which side of the street a car can be parallel parked on during certain times. This is done to allow for street cleaning and helps to control the flow of traffic on a given street. These rules can be confusing at times and, while there should be signs that inform you of when you can and cannot park on a particular side of the street, this is not always the case. Street sweeping times and days vary by neighborhood, so it is best to visit the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) website, where you can download an alternate side parking calendar, or dial 311 for schedule details. The alternate side parking calendar also indicates the 34 legal and religious holidays on which NYC DOT suspends alternate side parking. Parking can also be suspended temporarily in case of an emergency, such as a snowstorm, or in order to change existing rules or replace missing or damaged signs.

Parking Tips

Parking in New York City can be very difficult at times. It is important to pay attention to all signs and only park in designated spots, as parking tickets are given 24/7. If you are planning on parking in New York City, it is best to purchase a NYC Parking Card. This prepaid parking card is available in $20, $50 and $100 increments and can be used at all NYC municipal parking fields, all muni-meters and selected single-space meters. These cards can be purchased at online, at any CityStore location, at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal lobby in St. George, or in the lobby of 66 John Street in Manhattan.

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