What do I need to know about Hosting Experiences in Parks and Recreational Areas of New York City?
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
What do I need to know about hosting experiences in parks and recreational areas of New York City?
I’m hosting an experience at a park in New York City, do I need a reservation or a permit?
You may need a permit or reservation for certain types of experiences and for certain places where you are hosting.
Follow these steps to figure out whether you will need to get a permit or make a reservation for your experience:
- Step 1: Choose your location. Start by figuring out which park department manages the park or facility you have in mind for your experience. If you do not have a location in mind, each department’s website identifies the parks and facilities in your neighborhood; search for the location and amenities that best suits your experience!
- Step 2: Figure out if you are hosting a “special event.” Once you have found the perfect location, ask whether you are hosting the type of experience that requires a “special event” permit for that location.
- For example, an experience with more than 20 guests that includes any sort of amplified sound would be considered a special event and will require a permit. Note: If you decide you would like to have amplified sound, you will need a separate Sound Permit from a local police precinct in addition to a special event permit. Also, a special event permit is required if you decide to bring equipment such as canopies or tables into a park.
- If you decide to include the sale of food, beverages, and/or merchandise for your experience, you may need a Temporary Use Authorization Permit from the Park’s Revenue Division.
- Fitness: In addition, you may need a permit to host fitness activities, also known as athletic non-charitable events, in a NYC Park. Please continue reading for more information on athletic field or court requests.
- Step 3: If you need a special event permit, complete the application process. Once you have determined that you are hosting a special event, you’ll need to complete the permit application process before hosting your experience.
- Step 4: Figure out if you need to reserve your location, and complete the reservation process. If you don’t need a special events permit, you may still need to reserve your park area or facility. Figure out whether your location requires a reservation or request and, if it does, complete the requisite reservation process (described below).
Step 1: Choose your Location
I’ve chosen the park or recreational area where I want to host my experience. Who do I need to talk to in that park or facility?
New York City Parks
If you plan to host your experience in a city park, including Central Park, any applicable permits or reservations can be made online with the New York City Department of Parks Recreation. If you prefer to apply in person, you can obtain a paper application and speak to someone at one of the City’s six permit offices. Find the complete list of offices here.
If you plan to host your experience in a National Park, information about applicable permits and reservations can be found at the National Parks Service website.
I do not have a specific park in mind, how do I find a location that best suits my experience?
The New York City Department of Parks Recreation’s website includes a barbeque area list, field map, facility list, and destination map that can help you identify the facilities and amenities you are looking for, including whether a park has restrooms, parking, barbeques, and whether alcohol is allowed.
Step 2: How can I tell if my experience in a park requires a permit?
Whether your experience requires a permit depends on where you plan to host it - check out the information below to see what whether your activity requires a permit.
I. For parks managed by the New York Department of Parks Recreation
If you are hosting an experience in any park managed by the New York City Department of Parks Recreation, a special event permit is required if:
- More than 20 guests join your experience;
- You play music (live or recorded) using amplified speakers;
- Your experience includes equipment such as canopies, tables, stages or other special set-up facilities; or
- Your experience interferes with the normal use of the park.
Note: If you plan to sell anything during your experience in the park, you must also obtain a Temporary Use Authorization. You can find out more information by calling the Parks Recreation Revenue division at (212) 360-1397 or by visiting one of their offices.
II. For parks managed by the National Parks Service
Generally, experiences hosted in New York’s National Parks will not need a special use permit. However, you can check the specific requirements for a specific park or trail, here.
Regardless of where you host your experience, if you think you may be hosting a special event, then we encourage you to contact the New York Department of Parks and Recreation or National Parks Service before hosting your experience.
Step 3: How do I get a special event or special use permit?
If you are hosting a special event in one of New York City’s parks and recreational areas
If you are hosting a special event in one of New York City’s parks and recreational areas, you will need to complete an online application or obtain a paper copy in person at one of the borough permit offices at least 30 days in advance of your experience date.
Special event fees will be calculated by the Department after you submit your application, but fees start at and include a $25 nonrefundable fee that must be paid to commence the application review process. For most small events, there is no additional cost beyond the permit fee.
Note: If you plan to use devices to amplify sound at your event you may need a Sound Permit from the New York Police Department (NYPD). To get a Sound Permit from the NYPD for your experience in a New York City park, you must first have your special event permit, including permission from the Parks Department to use amplified sound. When you have received your Parks permit, fill out this application and take it to your local police precinct to receive a Sound Permit. NYPD Sound Permits cost $45, and you must apply at least 5 days in advance of your event.
See here for frequently asked special events permit questions.
If you are planning a larger event, please see the Rules and Regulations section for information on Special Events Concessions, including definitions of terms, a concession fee schedule, and exceptions to that schedule.
If you wish to sell food, beverages or merchandise at your special event, or to charge vendors a fee to participate in the event, you may need a Temporary Use Authorization (TUA) Permit from the Parks’ Revenue Division.
II. If you are hosting in one of New York City’s National Parks
Special Use Permit: If you are hosting an experience that requires a special use permit, you will need to complete an application at least 10 days before your event. You will need to pay a nonrefundable application fee of at least $50, and may need to pay up to $750 (depending on the number of guests and type of activity of your event). For more information on the application and how to file it, check out this link.
An important note: To get a special use permit, you will need to have general liability insurance coverage of at least $1M per occurrence that lists the United States of America as an additional insured. See here for more information.
Step 4. Do I need to reserve my location, and if so, how do I do it?
If your experience requires that you host in a certain location, you may want to apply for a permit in order to ensure that you will be able to use a specific area in a park and to be certain that no one else has been issued a permit to use that area.
Note: A permit does not guarantee exclusive use of an area within a park, it only gives 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.
Do I need to consider any other type of license or permit to host my experience?
Yes. Depending on the activity you will be providing or organizing, you may need to obtain additional licenses or permits specific to that activity.
Collection of soil, rocks, artifacts, plants or their parts, animals (including insects) or their nests or eggs, from NYC Parks is strictly regulated. If your experience includes any of these activities on City-owned parklands, you are required to obtain a research permit prior to, and follow the Rules Regulations during, your activity. Prior to your experience, you should familiarize yourself with the Parks Department’s policies.
Film and Photography Permits
Generally, no permit is required to shoot or film in NYC Parks certain film and photography experiences may require a Film Shoot Request Permit from the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre Broadcasting (MOFTB). For more information regarding the MOFTB film permit, please visit http://www.nyc.gov/film or call (212) 489-6710.
Fitness activity or fitness instruction
You do not need a state or city license or permit in order to provide fitness instruction to your guests.
If you want, you can get a training certification from a reputable accredited program through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. In all cases, you should ensure that you have adequate insurance to cover you in case a guest is injured or there’s any property damage. Also consider completing an adult CPR course, like the one offered by the American Red Cross, in case there’s an emergency.
Is there anything else I should be thinking about before hosting a fitness activity?
Yes. First and foremost, your guest’s health and safety should always come first. How you handle your experience and listing is up to you, but we encourage you to:
- Spell out in your listing the fitness level guests should have to participate in your experience;
- Explain what guests should expect from your fitness activity, including the duration and intensity of any cardiovascular activity and types of strength-training;
- Make sure that your guests participate in exercises that are appropriate for their level of fitness;
- Consider starting your fitness activity at a slower pace to evaluate your guest’s fitness level;
- Take appropriate precautions with equipment, facilities and environmental factors;
- If medical attention is needed, direct your guest to a hospital or reputable doctor. Do not attempt to provide physical therapy advice or attempt to make a medical diagnosis yourself unless you are qualified to do so; and
- Keep your guest’s health information confidential.
Example 1: Michelle, who has just received her accreditation from the American Council on Exercise, is leading a full-body workout through Central Park. Her listing makes clear that guests should be properly fit and conditioned to handle a 2 hour workout that starts slowly with dynamic flexibility exercises but goes on to running, resistance bands, body weight and partner exercises. Michelle has thoroughly scouted the area for hazards and will bring an emergency first aid kit. If her experience has more than 20 people or interrupts the public’s ordinary use of the park, she will file an application with the Special Event Permit with the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Michelle is taking the right steps to keep her guests safe.
Example 2: Jon, who has just completed his teacher training course, is leading an Ashtanga yoga class at Madison Square Park. His listing makes clear that guests should be properly fit and conditioned to handle a 1 hour workout that picks up quickly with several fast-paced sequences of linked poses. Jon has thoroughly scouted the area for hazards and will bring an emergency first aid kit. Jon is taking the right steps to keep his guests safe.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).
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