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§2-08 Special Events and Demonstrations

  1. For purposes of this subdivision, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
    1. "same date" shall mean the same actual calendar date (numerical date and month) or the same day of the same week in a given month, as relevant. For example, "same date" shall encompass the date July 11 as well as the second Sunday in the month of July, as relevant.
    2. "same location" shall mean the location identified in the special event or demonstration permit or the special event or demonstration permit application.
  2. Applications
    1. Applications for special event permits must be received at least twenty-one days prior to the requested date for the special event.
    2. Applications for demonstration permits must be received at least five days prior to the requested date for the demonstration. Notwithstanding this requirement, the department will accept all applications for demonstrations involving the expression of viewpoints on topical issues whenever submitted and process such applications as soon as it is feasible to do so, considering the magnitude of the event and the resources of the department.
    3. Applications for special event and demonstration permits will be accepted beginning on the first Monday in November in the calendar year immediately preceding the calendar year for which such permits are sought.
    4. Permit applications received between the first Monday in November and December 1 in the calendar year immediately preceding the calendar year for which such permits are sought will be processed as follows:
      1. if two or more permit applicants request the same date and the same location, the application from the applicant who held a permit for such date and such location in the calendar year immediately preceding the calendar year for which such permit is now sought, shall be eligible for approval; provided, however, that if more than one of such applicants held a permit for such date and such location in the calendar year immediately preceding the calendar year for which such permit is now sought, the permit application from the applicant that was received first shall be eligible for approval.
      2. if two or more permit applicants request the same date and the same location and none of these applicants held a permit for such date and such location in the calendar year immediately preceding the calendar year for which such permit is now sought, the permit application that was received first shall be eligible for approval.
    5. All permit applications received after December 1 in the calendar year immediately preceding the calendar year for which the permit is sought will be processed on a "first come, first serve" basis.
    6. The provisions contained in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subdivision shall be subject to the following:
      1. For permit applications received between the first Monday in November and December 1 in the calendar year immediately preceding the calendar year for which such permits are sought, the Department shall respond to the applicant no later than the third Monday in December of the calendar year immediately preceding the calendar year for which such permit is sought with one of the following responses:
        1. written notification that the permit application has been denied and a statement of the reason or reasons pursuant to paragraph (c) of this subdivision for such denial;
        2. written notification that more information is needed before the Department can make a determination as to a particular permit application; or
        3. issuance of the permit.
      2. For permit applications received after December 1 in the calendar year immediately preceding the calendar year for which such permits are sought, the Department shall respond to the applicant with one of the responses enumerated in clauses (A) through (C) of subparagraph (i) of this paragraph in accordance with the following schedule:
        1. for applications filed 45 days or more prior to the date for which such permit is sought, the Department shall respond no later than thirty days after the receipt of such applications;
        2. for applications filed less than 45 days but more than 15 days prior to the date for which such permit is sought, the Department shall respond no later than ten days after the receipt of such applications;
        3. for applications filed 15 days or less prior to the date for which such permit is sought, the Department shall respond as soon as is reasonably practicable.
    7. Applications for special event and demonstration permits for events to take place on the Great Lawn in Central Park must be received no less than two (2) or more than nine (9) months before the date of the proposed event.  However, applications for a demonstration made less than two (2) months before the proposed event where exigent circumstances prevented timely application shall be still accepted, provided that the limitation on the number of events on the Great Lawn in subdivision (t) of this section has not already been reached.  Applications must be submitted in writing either by mail or by completing the online form on the Department’s website and will be considered in the order in which they are received as shown by the postmark date and time or by the timestamp, respectively.
  3. Upon application, the Commissioner may deny a permit if:
    1. the location sought is not suitable because of landscaping, planting, or other environmental conditions reasonably likely to be harmed by the proposed event;
    2. the location sought is not suitable because it is a specialized area including, but not limited to, a zoo, swimming pool, or skating rink, or because the proposed event is of such nature or duration that it cannot reasonably be accommodated in that location;
    3. the date and time requested have previously been allotted by permit;
    4. within the preceding two years, the applicant has been granted a permit and did, on that prior occasion, knowingly violate a material term or condition of the permit, or any law, ordinance, statute or regulation relating to the use of the parks;
    5. the event would interfere unreasonably with the enjoyment of the park by other users; or
    6. with respect to events on the Great Lawn, the conditions for events contained in subdivision (t) of this section are not complied with.
  4. If the permit has been denied pursuant to subdivision (c) of this section, the Department shall employ reasonable efforts to offer the applicant suitable alternative locations and/or times and/or dates for the proposed event.
  5. After a permit application is denied, the applicant may appeal the determination by written request filed with the designated appeals officer who may reverse, affirm, or modify the original determination and provide a written explanation of his or her finding.
    1. If a permit application is denied more than 30 days prior to the proposed event, the applicant shall have 10 days from the date that such denial is mailed or otherwise delivered to the applicant to appeal such denial. The Department shall render a decision on such appeal within 10 days of receipt of such appeal.
    2. If a permit application is denied more than 10 days and 30 days or less prior to the proposed event, the applicant shall have 5 days from the date such denial is mailed or otherwise delivered to the applicant to appeal such denial. The Department shall render a decision on such appeal within 5 days of receipt of such appeal.
    3. If a permit application is denied 10 days or less prior to the proposed event, the applicant shall have 1 day from the date such denial is mailed or otherwise delivered to the applicant to appeal such denial. The Department shall render a decision on such appeal as soon as is reasonably practicable.
  6. Permittees are subject to the rules of the Department, the specific terms and conditions of the permit, and to all applicable City, State, and Federal laws.
  7. Permittees must have the permit in their possession at the time and site of the event, as well as any other permits for the event required by the Department or any other governmental agency.
  8. After notice and opportunity to be heard, the Commissioner may alter or add terms and conditions to a permit, or revoke a permit, based upon the criteria set forth in subdivision (c) of this section.
  9. If the Commissioner revokes a permit prior to the date of the event, the permittee may appeal the revocation, subject to the time limitations set forth in subdivision (e) of this section.
  10. Permittees must confine their activities to the locations and times specified on their permit. The Commissioner may establish specific guidelines for certain designated parks or park locations.
  11. During the course of an event, the Commissioner may suspend a permit where exigent circumstances exist in the vicinity of the location for which such permit has been issued.
  12. The granting of a permit does not give the permittee the right to sell or offer for sale any articles, tickets, or refreshments within or adjacent to any park area. To do this requires a separate Temporary Use Authorization issued by the Department.
  13. Permits are not transferable.
  14. If a permittee intends to drive vehicles (e.g. buses, cars, trucks, and vans) into a park for deliveries to an event site or for any other legitimate purpose, the permittee must obtain a separate written permit for each such vehicle, specifying the date, time, route, and parking privilege.
  15. Permit applications must indicate whether electrical energy is required for the event. Permittees shall be responsible for the procurement of and payment for any electrical energy used during the event.
  16. Permittees are responsible for cleaning and restoring the site after the event. The cost of any employee overtime incurred because of a permittee's failure to clean and/or restore the site following the event will be borne by the permittee.
  17. Permittees shall be held liable for any and all damages or injuries to persons or property that may occur or be caused by the use of the permit. By accepting a permit, permittees agree to indemnify and hold harmless the City and the Department from any and all claims whatsoever that may result from such use.
  18. Should there be any injuries, accidents, or other health incidents at an event, permittee must notify the Department immediately by calling 311.
  19. It shall be a violation of these rules to advertise the location of any event requiring a permit under these rules via posting, print media, radio, television, or the internet when the location is under the jurisdiction of the Department and the person who is responsible for placing the advertisement has been informed either that the Department does not intend to issue such permit, or that the Department has already issued another permit for that time and location. There shall be a rebuttable presumption that any person or organization whose name, telephone number or other identifying information appears on any advertisement and who has been informed of the Department's intent to deny an application for such permit or of the Department's issuance of another permit for that time and location has violated this subdivision by either (1) illegally advertising an event, or (2) directing, suffering, or permitting a servant, agent, employee or other individual under such person's or organization's control to engage in such activity; provided, however, that such rebuttable presumption shall not apply with respect to criminal prosecutions brought pursuant to this subdivision(s).
  20. The following condiitions apply to applications for permits for special events and demonstrations on the Great Lawn:
    1. In any calendar year there will be a maximum of seven permits granted for large events on the Great Lawn. For purposes of this subdivison, a large event is a special event or demonstration with anticipated attendance between 5,000 and 60,000 attendees, which requires the use of the ballfields on the Great Lawn, and for events with anticipated attendance of over 50,000, the use of the Turtle Pond lawn area and/or the small lawn panels on both the east and west sides of the ballfields on the Great Lawn. The number of attendees will be limited as follows: (i) no more than 50,000 attendees on the ballfields of the Great Lawn; (ii) no more than 5,000 attendees on the Turtle Pond lawn area; and (iii) no more than 5,000 attendees combined on the small lawn panels to the east and west of the ballfields on the Great Lawn.
    2. Small events on the Great Lawn are not subject to the limitation contained in paragraph (1) of this subsection.  For purposes of this subdivision, a small event is a special event or demonstration with anticipated attendance of less than 5,000 participants, which does not require the use of any of the Great Lawn ballfields during the hours that the Department permits the ballfields for athletic uses, and does not displace any athletic use on the Great Lawn.  Small events are subject to paragraphs (5), (6), (7), and (8) of this subsection and permits for special events or demonstrations will not be granted for any ballfields when the ballfields are otherwise closed to all uses.
    3. Attendance at large events may not exceed 60,000 persons.
    4. Large events may take place only during the months of June and July and during the period from the third week of August through the first day of October.  A maximum of two events may take place during each of the following time periods:  the month of June, the month of July, and the period from the third week of August through the second week of September. A maximum of one large-scale event may be held during the period between September 15th and October 1st.
    5. Events on the Great Lawn are subject to cancellation by the Commissioner due to inclement weather and/or soil and turf conditions. Factors the Commissioner will take into consideration in determining whether to cancel an event shall include: (i) the possibility of lightning or other extreme weather condition; (ii) rainfall (including forecasted, current, or cumulative rainfall); (iii) soil saturation levels or other risks to turf health; and (iv) any other field conditions that might lead to significant damage to the Great Lawn or the surrounding landscapes.
    6. The load-in plan for all events must be approved by the Commissioner in order to assure that  (A) the flow of persons through park landscapes on appropriately designated paths for that purpose shall be orderly; and (B) the attendees will not damage adjacent landscapes.  In addition, in the case of larger events, the load-in plan must be approved by the Commissioner to assure that maximum number of persons attending does not exceed 60,000 and is in compliance with area restrictions set forth in the last sentence of subdivision t (1) above.  In approving an applicant's load-in plan, the Commissioner shall take into consideration any evidence that the applicant has a proven track record of successfully executed event productions and audience management.
    7. An applicant seeking to hold a large or small event shall post a bond in an amount sufficient to pay for any anticipated damage to the Great Lawn in connection with the scheduled event and made payable to the Department.  The amount of the bond will be determined by the Commissioner based upon the following factors: (A) the length of the event; (B) the time of year of the event; (C) the nature of the event, including but not limited to, the type of equipment that will need to be brought onto the Great Lawn, the location of such equipment, and the use of any vehicles on the Great Lawn; (D) the number of people attending the event; (E) experience regarding any prior events of the same or a similar nature; and (F) whether the event or any activities associated with the event present a high risk of property damage. However, the Commissioner shall have the authority to waive the bond required by this subdivision where the applicant is able to demonstrate that such bond cannot be obtained without imposing an unreasonable hardship on the applicant.  Any request for a waiver of the bond required by this subdivision shall be included by the applicant in their application submitted under this section.  The burden of demonstrating unreasonable hardship shall be on the applicant and may be demonstrated by a showing that the cost of obtaining the bond for the event exceeds twenty-five percent (25%) of the applicant’s budget for the event.  The budget for the event must include not only cash, but also the actual value of any materials and services to be used by the applicant for the event.
    8. A written acknowledgement by the applicant stating, where applicable, how the applicant will comply with the foregoing provisions must be fully executed no less than 10 days prior to the scheduled event’s initial load in.  However, for a special event application involving a demonstration that is made less than ten days before the proposed event, where exigent circumstances prevented timely application, the written acknowledgment must be executed as soon as practicable before the event’s initial load-in.
  21. The East Meadow in Central Park and the paved areas south of the Bethesda Terrace, including the Literary Walk and the Bandshell areas, are available for large special events or demonstrations.  The Department will allow up to  two (2) events per month that occupy the East Meadow for twenty-four hours or more.  The time that an event occupies the East Meadow starts at the occurrence of the initial load-in of equipment and any other materials for the event and concludes when the load-out of the event, including the removal from the park of all equipment and any other materials for the event, is completed.
  22. The Sheep Meadow is reserved solely for passive recreation and the North Meadow and the Heckscher Ballfields are reserved solely for athletic events with permits and passive recreation.  The Department does not grant any permits for special events or demonstrations on the Sheep Meadow, the North Meadow or the Heckscher Ballfields in Central Park.

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