FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Street Activities, Events, Fairs & Block Parties
Q) How do I obtain a permit for a Special Event (this includes any Commercial or Promotional Event)?
A) If you are conducting any type of promotional or commercial activity on a City street, sidewalk, curb lane or pedestrian island (excluding filming and parades), you will need to obtain a permit from the Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO). To apply for this permit you must complete a Special Event application found online at www.nyc.gov/SAPO. The SAPO permit will act as your "primary" permit, giving you permission for temporary use of the City street or sidewalk. Once you have submitted a SAPO application with a $15 money order and have answered all the questions, it can be determined if additional permits are needed. SAPO will then advise if "support" permits (Buildings, Health, etc.) are necessary and will give you contact information on how to obtain these permits.
Q) How do I obtain a permit for a Block Party?
A) Applications are available online or at your local Community Board office. Please complete an application for a Street Fair/Block Party online at www.nyc.gov/SAPO. You must submit the completed application, with a $15 money order for the SAPO processing fee, to your local Community Board for its initial review and recommendation. The completed application must be submitted to the local Community Board prior to submission to SAPO. Additionally, the application must be submitted to the Community Board at least 90 days prior to the event date and to SAPO 60 days prior to the event (with the Community Board's recommendations).
Q) How do I obtain a permit for a Street Festival?
A) If your street fair consists of more than one block and/or is more than one day, you must file directly with the Street Activity Permit Office by December 31st of the preceding year. However, there is currently a moratorium on all new multi-day/multi-block events that did not take place in the preceding calendar year.
Q) How can I apply for a new multi-day/multi-block event? If I have an existing street fair, can it be extended to include additional blocks/days?
A) Currently there is a moratorium that prohibits any new multi-day/multi-block events. Additionally, events that took place in the previous calendar year are only eligible to take place exactly as they did previously, with the same location and same number of blocks.
Q) Do I need a permit to lay a red carpet and ropes & stanchions on the sidewalk? Do I need a permit to construct a tent on a City street?
A) Yes. To conduct any type of activity on the City streets or sidewalks such as laying red carpet, rope and stanchions, tables, banners, and/or a tent, you must obtain a permit from the Street Activity Permit Office. Please complete a Special Event application found online at www.nyc.gov/SAPO and submit it to the SAPO.
Q) What is the difference between a street festival and a special event?
A) A street festival is hosted by a not-for-profit, community organization and is generally organized as a fundraiser for the organization. Street festivals often have food, merchandise vendors and rides. Special events are sponsored by promotional/commercial entities and may include red carpets, grand openings, parking of generators, a sky tracker, or promotional vehicles.
Q) How do I obtain a permit to film a Commercial, TV or Movie Production?
A) Visit the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting to obtain an application online, in person at 1697 Broadway, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10019, or phone for assistance at (212) 489-6710.
Q) How do I obtain a NYPD Parade Permit for a parade, bike race, running race, procession, etc.?
A) You can download the Parade Permit application online at www.nyc.gov/nypd by selecting the "Permit" icon on the left side of the page.
- Complete all captions and abide by all notes on the application.
- Prepare three (3) copies of application with original signatures; ONE COPY MUST BE NOTARIZED.
- Forward completed application to:
NEW YORK CITY POLICE DEPARTMENT
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF DEPARTMENT
INVESTIGATION REVIEW SECTION
300 GOLD ST. RM#305
BROOKLYN, NY 11201
ATTENTION: PARADE SECTION
Q) How do I obtain a permit for an event in a city park?
A) To request a special events permit, fill out the special event permit application at www.nyc.gov/parks and submit it, with your $25 processing fee, to your Borough Special Events Office. The process for reviewing applications for large scale special events is as follows (NOTE-All events are subject to the approval of the Commissioner):
The Borough Special Events Division reviews the application and forwards it to Citywide Marketing and Special Events.
Citywide Marketing and Special Events reviews the application.
Detailed information from the applicant is requested.
A site visit is conducted with the Park Manager and the applicant.
A site fee is assessed based on the Concession Fee Schedule.
Parks obtains the necessary approvals within its department.
Parks executes the contract, reviews the applicant's insurance, and collects the bond and site fee.
The special event permit is issued.
Q) Which activities require a Parks Department Special Events Permit?
A) The Parks Department issues permits for:
Athletic events (charitable and non-charitable events), general, promotional, commercial, and private events held within a park.
Temporary use authorization/vendor permits for revenue-generating activities.
Events/activities where twenty or more people will be present.
School picnics, birthday parties, and field days.
Q) Which activities require a SAPO Permit?
A) There are two classes of permits:
Special Event/Commercial/Promotional Permits: Promotions, stunts, red carpet events, press conferences, and media days.
Street Festival/Block Party Permit: Street festivals, block parties, religious ceremonies, and farmers' markets.
Q) Which activities require a Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting (MOFTB) Permit?
A) Permits are required for:
Motion Picture/Television Shooting.
Premieres: Red carpet, film, television, and theatre events.
Q) What activity falls under the parameters of obtaining a Parade Permit?
A) A parade permit is required in order to conduct a procession, parade, or race within NYC.
Q) Do I need a permit to have fireworks or pyrotechnics at an event?
A) Yes. Once you have filed a permit application with the appropriate agency (SAPO, Parks, NYPD, MOFTB), you will then be directed by the permitting agency to contact the New York City Fire Department to apply for a permit.
Q) Do I need a permit if I am building a stage for my event?
A) If you are building a stage over two (2) feet high, you will need to file for a Department of Buildings Structure permit. However, you must file your application first with one of the primary permitting agencies: SAPO, Parks, NYPD, MOFTB and then you will be directed by the permitting agency to contact the Department of Buildings.
Q) What are the insurance requirements for my event?
A) Below are the various insurance requirements per agency:
SAPO-An Insurance Certificate of Liability listing New York City as an additional insured for $1 million is required for all commercial/promotional events, street festivals, and block parties with rides at the event.
Parks and Recreation-The organizer is required to obtain an original certificate of liability insurance for the amount of $1 million personal liability with a food and beverage rider (if food or beverages are to be sold) including $1,000,000.00 property damage insurance. This insurance certificate must name the City of New York and NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, The Arsenal, 830 5th Avenue New York, NY 10021 as Certificate Holder and Additional Insured. The location of the special event must also be named as the insurance certificate.
Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting-The MOFTB requires a General Liability policy for at least $1 million naming "the City of New York as additional insured pursuant to, or with coverage at least as broad as, ISO Form G 20 26 (11/85 ed.)" for all shooting, scouting, and rigging permits. An Original Insurance Certificate must be submitted; no photo copies are accepted.
NYPD Parade Permit-The New York City Police Department does not have insurance requirements for parade permits.
Q) What is the approval timeline for my event?
A) Below are the timelines for the various city agencies:
SAPO (NOTE: SAPO does not release any permits until all fees, insurance, and proof of support permits are received. Applicants must have the permit on location during the event.)
Street Festivals: Applications must be received by December 31st of the preceding year. Applicants then begin the approval process. If your application is denied, you will receive a notice in writing stating the reason for denial. Applicants should expect to receive their permit once all appropriate paperwork and payments are received by SAPO, usually one week prior to the event.
Special Events: Applications must be received 14 days prior to the date of the event. Applicants will be notified if their application is denied. Applicants should expect to receive their permit once the total invoice fee is paid and all necessary paperwork and support permits are received.
Block Parties: Applications must be received by SAPO 60 days prior to the date of the event. In addition, applicants must submit their application to the local Community Board for their recommendation at least 90 days prior to the event. Applicants will be notified if their event does not meet block party criteria. Applicants should expect to receive their permit two weeks prior to the date of their event if all necessary paperwork has been provided.
Parks and Recreation (NOTE:The Parks Department processes applications on a first-come, first-serve basis; allow 3-4 weeks processing time).
Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting (Applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-serve basis. However, the MOFTB makes every effort to process your permit as quickly as possible.)
Applicants must submit an official permit application to the MOFTB no less than two weeks prior to the date of the event.
All requests for a Premiere Permit should begin with the MOFTB.
Permits can be issued within 24 hours of application.
The deadline for permit applications is by noon the day before your scheduled shoot.
NYPD Parade & Sound Permits
Parade Permits: An application in a form prescribed by the New York Police Department must be filed with the precinct in which the parade formation area is located; provided, however, that applications for parade routes including any portion of Fifth Avenue in the borough of Manhattan or for parades with 1000 or more participants must be filed with the office of the Chief of Department. An application for a permit will be made at least 36 hours prior to the date upon which the parade is to occur.
Sound Permits: You must go to your local precinct and file an application at least five days in advance of your event.
Q) If there is amplified sound at my event, do I need a permit?
A) Yes, you must go to your local precinct's Community Affairs Unit and do the following:
File for a Sound Device Permit Application (this can be downloaded from the NYPD website at www.nyc.gov/NYPD or go to the local precinct for an application).
All answers must be either typewritten or printed in ink.
File application in the precinct where the device is being used.
File application at least five days before the day of the event.
A fee of $45 for the first day's use of the permit will be required upon approval of the application and receipt of the sound device permit.
Submit a Bank Teller's Check, Certified Check or Money Order payable to the Police Department, City of New York.
If approved, the permit is to be picked up on the day of the event or as directed by the precinct staff.
Q) What fees are associated with my event?
A) Fees are based on the type of event and where it is being held:
SAPO- A $15 non-refundable processing fee is required for all permit applications (only certified checks or money orders made payable to the NYC Department of Finance are accepted). This includes all Block Parties, Street Festivals, and Promotional Commercial Events.
Parks and Recreation- There will be a $25 non-refundable administrative processing fee for all special events permits.
If your event has over 500 people, or if it is promotional or commercial in nature, it is subject to a site fee. Please include an event description with your application. Also visit the Parks and Recreation website at www.nyc.gov/parks for a complete Concession Fee Scale.
Mayor's Office of Film, Theater and Broadcasting
NYPD Parade & Sound Permits
Parade Permits: There is no fee required to apply for a parade permit.
Sound Permits: A fee of $45 for the first day's use of the permit will be required upon approval of the application and receipt of the sound device permit. Make Bank Teller's Check, Certified Check or Money Order payable to the Police Department, City of New York.
Q) Do I need a permit If I am selling and/or cooking food at my event?
A) Yes, you are required to obtain a Temporary Health Food License from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene at 42 Broadway, 5th Floor, NY, NY.
Q) Is sampling allowed on City streets?
A) A permit is not required for sampling if the items are kept on your person and nothing is placed on the street or sidewalk such as a table, boxes or bags. Sampling from the back of a parked vehicle is prohibited. If you are setting up a table, banners, coolers or other promotional materials you will need to obtain a permit from the Street Activity Permit Office. Please complete a Special Event application found on line at www.nyc.gov/SAPO and submit it to the Street Activity Office. In addition, if you are sampling any type of food (even pre-packaged food) you will be required to obtain a permit from the Health Department.
Q) How can I find out about upcoming events in New York City?
A) You can view all current and future events online at www.nyc.gov/calendar and click on the link to the Citywide Events Calendar.
Q) Can I sell merchandise at my event or block party?
A) Yes. However, to sell general merchandise you are required to obtain a Temporary Street Fair Permit from the Department of Consumer Affairs located at 42 Broadway, 5th Floor, NY, NY. You may also call (212) 487-4071 for further information.
Q) Is alcohol allowed at my event?
A) Alcohol is prohibited at the following events:
All special events held in parklands.
All Block Parties, Special Events, and Street Festivals.
Applications for Summer Playstreets
Q) What is a Summer Playstreet?
A) A Summer Playstreet is a city street reserved for recreation for school age children and others during the weekday daylight hours of the summer.
Q) Who is eligible to apply?
A) An authorized representative of an organized group or block association may apply for a Summer Playstreet. The group must have two adults who will be responsible for the on-site supervision and activities on the Playstreet.
Q) Will the City of New York or the Community Board provide funding for a Playstreet?
A) Due to limited funding, neither the City of New York nor the Community Board can provide funding for any Playstreets or Playstreet activities. Organizers and/or their sponsors are responsible for providing activities and / or equipment at a Playstreet.
Q) Is there a fee to conduct a Summer Playstreet?
A) There is no fee associated with a Playstreet. Applications are provided free of charge.
Q) Where can I get a Summer Playstreet Application?
A) Applications can be obtained at your local Community Board, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Each Community Board gets 5 Playstreets per calendar year.
Q) Can I apply for more than 1 (one) Playstreet per calendar year?
A) Yes, if available at your local Community Board, your organization may apply for additional Playstreets.
Q) How many days of the week can a Playstreet operate?
A) Playstreets operate, under adult supervision, five days a week, Monday through Friday, between 8AM and 5PM.
Q) When do the Summer Playstreet begin?
A) Summer Playstreets may begin on July 1st or thereafter, and continue through August 29th.
Q) Is parking allowed during a Summer Playstreet?
A) NO PARKING and NO THROUGH TRAFFIC is permitted on the block during Playstreet hours. These restrictions must have the consent of the residents of the block for a street to be designated as a Summer Playstreet.
Q) Can anyone attend / be a part of a Summer Playstreet?
A) The Playstreet should serve the entire community, not just a special group. Everyone should be welcomed to participate in Playstreet events and / or its activities.
Q) What can a Summer Playstreet consist of?
A) A truly successful Playstreet provides a continuous series of events and community activities such as sporting events, arts and craft shows, and other recreational activities.
Q) Can a Summer Playstreet take place on a two-way street or on a Bus Route?
A) For safety purposes, in order to be considered for a Summer Playstreet designation, the following rules must be followed:
The block must be a ONE-WAY traffic street
The block must NOT have a high volume of traffic
The block must NOT be along a Bus Route
The block must NOT have any commercial establishments
Quality of Life Issues & Complaints
Q) What do Community Boards do?
A) Community Boards play an important role in improving the quality-of-life for all New Yorkers. Also, Community Boards play an important advisory role in dealing with land use and zoning matters, the City’s budget, municipal service delivery and many other matters relating to their community’s welfare.
Q) Can I report Graffiti on a building to my local Community Board?
A) The City offers graffiti removal services to communities across the five boroughs. Property owners or authorized representatives must submit a waiver to the City to allow authorized personnel to clean graffiti from first or second-story facades.
Q) Where can I get a Graffiti clean-up waiver from?
A) You can obtain a waiver at your local Community Board or by visiting www.nyc.gov/CAU
Q) Does it cost to clean up the Graffiti on my building?
A) The City of New York currently has a program, “Graffiti FREE NYC”, that cleans Graffiti targeted buildings FREE of charge.
Q) Can I request a tree to be planted in front of my property at your local Community Board?
A) Contact the office to have a tree planted through the "Million Trees Program" on your property. Property owners must submit a request in writing to the local Community Board stating the specific address of where you want the tree to be planted, what streets is it between, and whether there is an existing tree pit at the location.
Q) What else can I report to my local Community Board?
A) You can report any complaint to the community board office, including, but not limited to, the following:
For additional information, contact the Community Board Office at 718-933-5650 / 51 or via email at email@example.com.