NYC Parking Meters Giving Way to Robot Takeover

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Photo: iStockphoto

Manhattan is removing its last retired parking meter today in favor of the Multispace Muni-Meter, "a solar-powered box, equipped with Wi-Fi, that can handle eight parking spaces at once and can shut itself down on free-parking Sundays." The old ones remaining on the island will be transformed into bike racks, while those in other boroughs will be replaced over the next year at a cost of $34 million, or $4,392 per Muni-Meter. The nostalgic Old New York guard can pay respects to the obsolete machines at their graveyard under the Queensboro Bridge on-ramp, where they're being piled until there's somewhere better to put them or the city auctions them off. One group with the right to miss them are the mechanics in Queens who fiddled with the archaic models using butter knives and nail files. "At one time," said the shop supervisor, "we were the largest shop in the world."

The Last Days of the Old Parking Meter [NYT]