Block Parties and Street Fairs

block party

Community Board 2 reviews some applications for street activity permits but not others. The applications reviewed by the community board's district office are block parties, street festivals, clean ups, mobile units, religious ceremonies and farmers markets not affiliated with the City's Greenmarket program. The mayor's Street Activity Permit Office (SAPO) has the ultimate jurisdiction for approving or denying permits. The district office does NOT review applications for special events, events in New York City parks, or parades.
Visit the SAPO Website
Download the SAPO rules (PDF)
Access additional downloadable guides
Read answers to frequently asked questions
Contact the SAPO Director with general inquiries

Definitions for Permitted Events
The City of New York has established the following definitions.

  • A Block Party is a street activity requiring the closure of a single block of a street, or a portion therof, for a single day intended for a community-based, not-for-profit organization, association, or the like, which has an indigenous relationship to the specific street, community or both.
  • A Street Festival is a street activity requiring a multi-day and/or a multi-block street closure. The sponsor shall be a community-based, not-for-profit organization, association, or the like, which has an indigenous relationship to the specific street, community or both.
  • A Clean Up is a beautification of a neighborhood along a street, sidewalk and/or plaza. Cleanups are limited to a four hour duration, usually in the morning hours. The sponsor shall be a community-based, not-for-profit organization, association, or the like, which has an indigenous relationship to the community.
  • A Mobile Unit is the staging of (a) vehicle(s) for religious purposes while serving a benefit to the community.
  • A Religious Ceremony is an act of public worship on street or sidewalks while serving a benefit to the community.
  • A Farmers Market is a street activity where vendors sell produce as well as other food products directly to the public. The sponsor shall be a community-based, not-for-profit organization, association, or the like.
  • A Special Event shall mean street activities that promote, advertise or introduce a product, corporation, company or other commercial entity or the goods or services of a corporation, company, or other commercial entity to either the general public or to a portion of the general public.
  • A Park Special Event means a group activity, including, but not limited to, a performance, meeting, assembly, contest, exhibit, ceremony, parade, athletic competition, reading, or picnic involving more than 20 people or a group activity involving less than 20 people for which specific space is requested to be reserved. A special event in a park shall not included casual park use by visitors or tourists.
  • A Parade is any procession or race which consists of a recognizable group of 50 or more pedestrians, vehicles, bicycles, or other devices moved by human power, or ridden or herded animals proceeding together upon a public street or roadway.

Events Not Reviewed By Community Board 2
The community board does not review applications for special events, parks special events or parades, as defined above.

A permit for a Special Event now must be applied for online. The deadline to apply is 14 days prior to the event date.
Apply for a Special Event permit

Additional information about applying for a permit for a Parks Special Event, including links to online and paper applications, is available from the Department of Parks and Recreation.
Access the online and paper Parks Special Event permit applications

Additional information about applying for a Parade permit, including a link to the application, is available from the Police Department.
Apply for a Parade permit

Community boards are not notified by the permitting agencies when special event, parks special event and parade permits are approved. Community Board 2 requests that applicants for these permits notify the community board when they submit their applications.
Contact Community Board 2

Application Processes
Street activity permit applications may be submitted online or by paper form. SAPO and Community Board 2 strongly encourage applicants to file online. Applying on-line is faster, eliminates the possiblity of an application becoming lost in the mail and allows applicants to check the approval status via the Internet. Please note that applicants must comply with the filing requirements of Community Board 2 (see below) whether they submit online or by paper.

Online Application Process

  • Confirm that the application can be submitted before the following deadlines:
  • Block Party – 90 days prior to event date
  • Street Festival – December 31 of the year preceding the year of the event. (Note: For the past several years there has been a moratorium on new street festivals. SAPO has taken steps to extend the moratorium through 2011.)
  • Clean Up – 60 days prior to event date
  • Mobile Unit – 30 days prior to event date
  • Religious Ceremony – 60 days prior to event date
  • Farmers Market – December 31 of the year preceding the year of the event

Manual Application Process

  • Confirm that the application can be submitted before the following deadlines:
  • Block Party – 90 days prior to event date if submitted to Community Board 2, 60 days if submitted to SAPO
  • Street Festival – December 31 of the year preceding the year of the event. (Note: For the past several years there has been a moratorium on new street festivals. SAPO has filed the paperwork to extend the moratorium through 2011.)
  • Clean Up – 60 days prior to event date
  • Mobile Unit – 30 days prior to event date
  • Religious Ceremony – 60 days prior to event date
  • Farmers Market – December 31 of the year preceding the year of the event
  • Paper applications are no longer available online. Applicants may pick up a paper application in person at SAPO—100 Gold Street, 2nd Floor, Manhattan—or the community board district office.
  • Fill out the entire application with as much detail as possible, providing any necessary supplemental documentation.
  • All applications require a $15 non-refundable processing fee in the form of either a money order or a certified check made payable to the "City of New York – Department of Finance."
  • Process for each event type:
  • Block Party, Clean Up, Mobile Unit, and Religious Ceremony applications must be submitted directly to the local community board for their recommendation prior to SAPO review. SAPO will only accept paper applications directly if filing with the community board is not possible. NOTE: Each community board has its own set of guidelines for accepting applications. It is the responsibility of the applicant to obtain a copy of these guidelines from the community board and adhere to them. See below for the requirements of Community Board 2. For manual submissions that go directly to the community board, it is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure SAPO has received the application from the community board by the deadline.
  • For Street Festivals and Farmers Markets, it preferable that applications be submitted first to the local community board for review. Applications must be filed with SAPO by December 31.

Applications that get filed directly with SAPO may be hand delivered or mailed to: SAPO, 100 Gold Street, 2nd floor, New York, NY 10038. For applications that go directly to the community board, the applicant must submit the application 30 days prior to the above SAPO deadlines.

Additional Requirements of Community Board 2
Regardless of whether a street activity permit is applied for online or by paper application, Community Board 2 requires evidence that the applicant is a community-based, not-for-profit organization, association, or the like, with a documentable relationship to the specific street, community or both. For established groups or organizations, the community board requires a letter—

  • requesting review of its application,
  • stating its not-for-profit status,
  • establishing its relationship to the street or community where the event is proposed,
  • indicating the size of the group or organization,
  • providing the name(s), title(s) and contact information for the leadership of the group or organization, and
  • instructing Community Board 2 what contact information is for use only by the district office and what information may be listed in its online resource directories.
If the applicant is not affiliated with a group or organization, Community Board 2 requires a letter of introduction, requesting review of the application and stating the applicant's relationship to the street or community. Applicant must also provide petitions signed by a substantial number of residents and businesses on the street where the event is proposed.
Contact Community Board 2

NOTE: If the community board denies an application, the applicant has the right to appeal the community board’s determination within five (5) business days of receipt by writing to the Director of SAPO at 100 Gold Street 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10038. If the Director of SAPO denies the event, the applicant has the right to appeal within five (5) business days of receipt, by writing to the Executive Director of the Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management at 100 Gold Street 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10038.

SAPO Review Process
Upon receipt of an application, SAPO will begin the review process and may reach out to the applicant if information is incomplete, or it needs to discuss the event further. SAPO will determine if there are any necessary support permits required. An applicant report will be generated with a desciption and contact information for each necessary support permit. The applicant must obtain these in order to receive their SAPO permit.

After initial review, SAPO will contact necessary agencies for their recommendations. Upon feedback from City agencies, SAPO may require the applicant to modify the event, change the event date or location, or deny the event. Special event applicants will receive an invoice for the fee assessed for the event.

When all necessary information is received and the event is approved, the applicant will be issued a permit approximately two weeks prior to the event date (except for special events).

Additional Requirements
All components of an event are subject to approval by SAPO and may require approval by and/or permits from other City agencies. SAPO approval does not constitute permission from other agencies. It is the responsibility of the applicant/sponsor to secure all necessary City of New York permits and provide documentation to SAPO prior to permit issuance.
Learn more about the roles of secondary permitting agencies
Find the contact information for the primary and secondary permitting agencies

SAPO requires a $1,000,000 certificate of liability insurance, with the City of New York listed as an additional insured, for all events excluding block parties without rides. The City of New York should be listed as follows: Street Activity Permit Office, 100 Gold Street, New York, NY 10038. This document may be uploaded electronically within the permit application.