Street Activities Permit Applications and Moratorium

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Friday, January 1, 2016
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 


Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule

The Mayor’s Office of Citywide Events Coordination and Management (OCECM), which oversees the Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO), administers New York City’s permit system for street activities, block parties and fairs.

Each year SAPO issues permits to over 200 street fairs and over 5,000 other events, most of which include the use of multiple blocks over several days, the erection of structures, the vending of food, apparel and other goods and the use of amplified sound and the performance of music.  Events like these require additional police officers which increases overtime costs to the City.  These events also divert police officers from core crime-fighting, public-safety and counter-terrorism duties.

To more effectively deploy police resources and control overtime costs, the New York City Police Department has requested that SAPO exercise its discretion temporarily to deny permits for additional events scheduled for calendar year 2016.  The proposed rules will authorize SAPO to deny permits to these events if the event was not held in the calendar year 2015. Events that received permits in calendar year 2015 will be eligible to receive permits again in calendar year 2016 so long as the required fees are paid and there were no violations of the 2015 permit.

The Police Department has also requested that SAPO permits be restricted for block closures on side streets in the Times Square area during ongoing construction, which has had a significant impact on traffic in an already congested area. 

In light of the need to effectively deploy police resources and control overtime costs articulated above and the desire to allow opportunities for new street fairs, during calendar year 2016 OCEM will explore options for reallocating the distribution of street fairs during the 2017 calendar year.

In addition, in order to permit adequate time for review, the deadline for applications for special events is being changed from 10 business days to 30 days.  Additional timing allows all parties for proper planning of resources in a more timely manner.  In response to comments received at a public hearing held on November 23, 2015, the 10 business day deadline will continue to apply to extra small and small special events that occupy sidewalk and curb lanes only.  Extra small and small events do not require street closures and demand less processing and coordination of City resources and that will be reflected in the maintenance of the 10 business day deadline for these events.

SAPO authority for these rules is found in section 1043 of the New York City Charter and Executive Order No. 105 of 2007.