Are you talking about riding in to the city to work for leisure, like taking in dinner and a show/movie, or as a commute to work from Jersey?
You'll often see scooters parked on the sidewalk with the plate pulled to avoid a ticket. This risks getting it towed, particularly if you do it overnight or in a residential neighborhood. Somewhat counter-intuitively, this is easier to get away in the middle of Midtown, in a commercial area, during the business day (as long as you don't block some high-traffic doorway). With a motorcycle though, it's much harder to ignore on the sidewalk. I'd recommend against it.
You're relatively good to park in the street, especially if you find legal alternate-side parking. Just make sure you park on the front
of the block, at the front of the line of parked cars, to minimize your chances of getting knocked over by someone backing up while parking or leaving a parking spot (particularly those huge SUVs where your bike doesn't even show up in the rear view mirror). In a densely packed city like New York where legal street parking is literally hoarded and fought over, people park as tightly as possible and often "by Braille" (as I myself admit to doing when parking my car: I can rock back and forth 10-12 times to parallel park in a spot with 1-2 inches of clearance).
Here's an illustration, which depicts either a two-way street or a one-way street that heads in the direction of the bottom of the image (towards the crosswalk). It is not
safe to park "at the end of the block" where this puts you at the rear
end of a line of cars, as the real problem is not squeezing between cars (so that the solution is to have only a car on one side of you), but being in a position where a driver can back into your bike while pulling in or out of a spot.
If you park in a technically illegal area for you but which still has plenty of cars parked, such as one that's marked "for commercial vehicles only", you're probably
safe from getting a ticket if you cover your bike. Or if you remove your plate -- but again, you risk a tow if you do that, versus a simple parking ticket if a traffic agent with unusual initiative and zeal bothers to lift the cover to write you up.
As for the Muni-meter spots, the rub is what do you do with the little receipt that you're supposed to "leave on your dashboard" when it comes to a motorcycle? Some people tape it to their windshield, if they have one, but of course that does not rule out the wind or some passer-by from ripping it loose. Some people take it with them and fight any traffic ticket with the receipt and the objection that there was no safe place to display it on a motorcycle. This approach has sometimes won in court, but not always.
If you're coming in to the city in the evenings or weekends, I'd say you're fine for just parking in the street (at the front of the block).