NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Frequently Asked Special Events Permit Questions

All special events permits require a $25.00 nonrefundable administrative processing fee, and permits require at least 30 days for processing. You may apply online or obtain a paper copy in person at one of our borough permit offices.

To learn about barbecuing in parks, please visit our Designated Barbecuing Areas page. Please note that barbecuing on beaches is not authorized, and propane tanks are not allowed.

For recommended wedding sites and helpful information, please visit our Weddings in Parks page.

For which activities are special events permits needed?
Special events permits are required for events/activities where twenty or more people will be present. School picnics, birthday parties, and field days all require a special events permit.

Do I need to get a permit for my school or camp group to visit a park, even if we're only going for a few hours?
Yes, but call individual borough office to get the proper forms. The form you need might not necessarily be a special events permit application.

Are there circumstances under which I should get a permit even though my group has fewer than 20 people?
Yes, at times people apply for permits with smaller groups because they want to make sure they will be able to use a specific area in a park and be certain no one else has been issued a permit to use that area, for instance, in the case of wedding photography. While a permit does not guarantee exclusive use of an area within the park, it does give the permit-holder the right to hold his or her event in a specific area and ensures that other groups are not issued a permit to use the same space. In addition, everyone applying for an amplified sound permit or to bring equipment such as canopies or tables into a park needs to apply for a special event permit. Finally, applying for a special events permit alerts our borough representatives of your plans; they can then make recommendations on the most desirable locations or dates for your gathering. Please contact the borough permit office if you have any questions about when you might need to apply for a permit with a smaller group.

Can I get my money back if I don't get what I requested, if it rains, if I decide not to hold my event, etc.?
No. We're sorry, but the application fee is not refundable.

Will I get everything I ask for in my application?
While we do try to accommodate our clients' requests as much as possible, it is sometimes necessary to offer the applicant different times, locations, or dates for events, due to the volume of requests and park rules and conditions.

May I hold my event on a major holiday weekend (Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Labor Day)?
No, we are not able to issue permits for major holiday weekends, as we keep spaces clear for public use on a first-come, first-served basis on those days.

With an event permit for a park, will an area be cordoned off for our use only?
No, an area will not be cordoned off for your use only. The event permit only gives you and your group permission to use the park on your designated day.

How many tables may we use for our event at a park?
In Manhattan, tables and chairs may not be used without prior approval, and usually one to two tables are granted, at best.

For all other boroughs, we suggest bringing your own chairs and tables when possible. If you are using the park's tables, we ask that you be considerate of other patrons and not use more tables than needed.

May we erect a tent and/or hang signs or banners at our event?
You must inform Parks on your application if you plan to hang signs or banners at your event. No signs or banners can be affixed to trees or fences. To erect a tent, you must receive permission from the Special Events office, and you can't stake the tent into the ground. In Manhattan, tents are generally not allowed, except under very limited circumstances.

Will I have access to water, electricity, or other park services during my event?
We don't provide access to electricity or water unless agreed upon in advance with Parks staff. For access to electricity, we advise applicants to rent a generator. Any other requests for services should be directed in writing to the Special Events office.

Will I need any other permits to hold an event in a park?
You will also need a Sound Permit from the New York Police Department (NYPD) if you plan to have amplified sound at your event and/or a permit from our Revenue division if you plan to vend/sell anything in the park.

To get a Sound Permit from NYPD, you must first have your Parks permit, including permission from Parks to use amplified sound. When you have received your Parks permit, take it to your local precinct to receive a Sound Permit. NYPD Sound Permits cost $45.00, and you must apply at least five days in advance of your event.

Will I receive permission to have amplified sound in any park I request?
Not necessarily, there are restrictions on where and when we can grant permission to apply for amplified Sound Permits with the NYPD.

Do I have to have insurance or pay for a bond for my event?
Not necessarily, the borough permit offices will let you know if insurance or a bond is required for your event.

Can I charge people to come to my event in the park?
No, you may not charge for admittance to your event.

How do I get a permit to sell something at my event?
If you want to have a commercial event or an event with attendance over 500, you may need a Temporary Use Authorization (TUA). You will need to provide our Revenue division with a list of vendors, items to be sold, and prices prior to the event. Please call our Revenue division at (212) 360-1397 for more information.

We are a nonprofit organization. Can the event permit fee be waived?
The permit fee is an administrative charge and not a payment for using the park. Therefore, everyone is asked to pay.

I want to have a picnic area and use a ballfield for my event; what do I do?
In Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx, please submit a special event permit for the picnic and a sports permit for the field use.

In Manhattan and Brooklyn, apply with a special event application and indicate that you would like a ballfield. However, please be aware that there is limited availability for ballfields all day on weekends and weekday afternoons and evenings, and that athletic field permit fees may be included in your final permit.

May I host my child's birthday party on a ballfield?
No, ballfields are not permitted for birthday parties.

May I have inflatables or mechanical rides at my child's birthday party?
No, inflatables and mechanical rides are not permitted at any events in any of the boroughs.

Can I get a permit for a playground? How about exclusively?
No, playgrounds are not permitted for special events.

How long will it take to process my permit?
Permits require at least a minimum of 21 to 30 days to be processed (Different guidelines apply to demonstrations and rallies). Please plan accordingly.

How do I apply for a permit for an event on a street or other non-park property?
Contact the Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) at (212) 788-7567.

Contact Us

Still have questions? Please call our borough permit offices for assistance.
Bronx: (718) 430-1848
Brooklyn: (718) 965-8912
Manhattan: (212) 408-0226
Queens: (718) 393-7272
Staten Island: (718) 667-3545
Citywide: (212) 360-1319

Was this information helpful?