Harlem, Inwood, Hamilton Heights and Morningside Heights are good locations to find free side-street parking in New York City throughout the week and on weekends. Chelsea is a good location on weekends.
Inwood's best non-metered parking times are Mondays and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. and Tuesdays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. as of 2015. Inwood gets you anywhere in close proximity to the Upper West Side of Manhattan in a half hour's time via the A train. Avoid metered spots on Dyckman Street, Broadway and 207th Street.
Free parking locations in Hamilton Heights are on 145th Street or Amsterdam Avenue. Steer clear of spots on 145th Street and Broadway that are metered parking only. The best time to find zero-cost parking is on weekdays around 12:30 p.m.
Free parking in Harlem is easiest to find on weekdays around 11 a.m.. Find spots on 130th through 139th Streets and below 125th Street. Any other streets in Harlem are metered parking. Sundays are the only fairly difficult days to track down a parking spot.
Free parking in Morningside Heights is accessible on weekdays at 12:30 p.m. This is one of the best locations to find parking in the city. Mornings and afternoon rush are difficult times to find a spot. Streets to avoid are Broadway, 116th, 122nd and 120th. These streets are metered.
In Chelsea, free parking during the weekdays is only found after 6 p.m. Many corporate offices are in Chelsea, making it easier to find parking on the weekends when the offices are closed. The quest for free parking during the week can sometimes be successful between 8th Avenue and 10th Avenue from 16th Street to 30th Street.
Manhattan locations to avoid when searching for free parking include the Financial District, East Village, West Village, Murray Hill, Midtown East, Midtown West, Upper East Side, Upper West Side and Washington Heights.