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)?
Depending on the details of your permit, we may be able to accommodate permits on holiday weekends. However, we will not issue permits for the holiday day proper. For example, while we may issue permits for events on the Saturday and Sunday prior to Memorial Day, we would never issue a permit for Memorial Day itself, as we keep spaces clear on these days for public use on a first-come, first-served basis.
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 from the borough. If approved, you will be limited to a maximum of two tables.
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 at events. 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?
There may be other permits required for your event based on what elements you intend to have onsite. Please be sure to review the “Agency Instructions” on your application summary page. This section will outline all the additional permits you will be required to secure based on the answers you’ve provided.
For additional information regarding permits related to event activity you can visit the Citywide Event Coordination and Management website.
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 submit a security for my event?
Not necessarily, the borough permit offices will let you know if insurance or a bond is required for your event.
How do I get a permit to sell something at my event?
If you want to sell items (food or materials) at an event with attendance over 500 people, 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 be sure to answer the appropriate questions related to selling at your event and you will directed on what approvals may be required.
We are a nonprofit organization. Can the event permit fee be waived?
The permit fee is an administrative charge and cannot be waived.
I want to have a picnic area and use a ballfield for my event; what do I do?
Please apply for the park you wish to use with a special event application and indicate in the notes section that you would like to use a ballfield. There is limited availability for ballfields all day on weekends and on weekday afternoons and evenings, and the appropriate athletic field permit fees will be charged.
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?
The use of recreational inflatables (e.g. bounce houses) and mechanical rides may be permitted within certain parks if the park can reasonably accommodate these features. However, the appropriate contract and fees will be required for use and assessed by the Citywide Special Events Office. Visit our Special Event Concession Rules page for a list of fees and to learn more.
Additionally, the proper Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) licenses must be obtained before the feature is allowed in the park. Visit the DCA's Portable Amusement Device License page to get started.
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. We do not accept applications submitted inside the 21 day threshold.
How do I apply for a permit for an event on a street or other non-park property?
If you wish to host your event on a street or pedestrian plaza you may call the Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) at (212) 788-0025 during standard business hours of Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
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