NYC Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management

SAPO Frequently Asked Questions

1) I would like to host a special event/promotional event, what kind of permits do I need?
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 on our website 
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 $25 money order (online $25.75 by credit card) 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.

2) 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 the City street?
Yes. To conduct any type of activity on the City streets or sidewalks such as laying red carpet, rope and stanchions, tables, banners, or a tent, you must obtain a permit from SAPO. To apply for a special event permit online, please visit 
E-Apply.

3) When a special event permit is issued, is there an NYPD officer assigned to monitor the event?
No. SAPO works closely with the NYPD during the planning phases of an event to ensure the components are safe and secure. Once the permit is issued, it is the responsibility of the event producer to hire private security if necessary.

4) Is product sampling allowed on City streets?
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. To apply for a special event permit online, please visit 
E-Apply.

5) How can I find out about upcoming events?
Please visit our website 
www.nyc.gov/SAPO and click on the link to the Citywide Events Calendar.

6) What is the difference between a street festival and a special event?
A street festival is hosted by a not-for-profit, community organization and is 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.

7) 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?
Currently there is a moratorium on all new multi-day/multi-block events. Additionally, events that took place in the previous calendar year are only eligible to take place as they did previously, i.e., same location and same number of blocks.

8) Do you accept cash to cover the $25 processing fee?  
No, all fees must be paid by certified check or money order. If applying online you may pay by check or credit card. Credit cards will be charged ($25.75).

9) Can I apply for more than one block for a block party?
No, block parties are one block only.

10)  How can I sell merchandise at my event?
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. You may also call (212) 487-4071.

11) If I want to start a block association to sponsor a block party, how do I go about doing this?
Please contact your local Community Board.

12) How do I obtain a permit for a block party?
Please complete an online application for a block party at  E-Apply. Upon submission, the application will go directly to the local community board and SAPO simultaneously. The community board will give their initial review and recommendations prior to SAPO reviewing the application. The applicant will need to adhere to the guidelines of the local Community Board.

13) How much lead time do I need for a block party?
SAPO requires submission at least 90 days prior to the date of the event.

14) How do I obtain a permit for a street festival?
If your street fair consists of more than one block and/or more than one day, you must file directly with SAPO 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.

15) Do I need a permit to have fireworks or pyrotechnics at an event?
Yes, you will need to contact the New York City Fire Department.
Please go to 311 Online for more info.

16) Do I need a permit if I am building a stage for my event?
If you are conducting any type of activity on a City street, sidewalk, curb lane, or pedestrian island, you will first need to obtain a permit from SAPO. To apply for a special event permit online, please visit
 E-Apply. A SAPO permit will act as your “primary” permit, giving you permission for temporary use of the City street or sidewalk. If you are building a stage over two (2) feet high, you will need to file for an additional permit though the Department of Buildings.

17) What are the insurance requirements for my event?
SAPO requires insurance for all commercial/promotional events and all street festivals. Block parties wishing to have rides must also provide insurance. A certificate of liability with the City of New York listed as an additional insured for a minimum of $1,000,000 dollars is required.

18) What is the approval timeline for my event?

Street Festival
 – 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 and the appeal process. 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 – To ensure proper review of applications, SAPO recommends submission 14 days prior to the date of the event. Applicants will be notified if their application is denied and the appeal process. Applicants should expect to receive their permit once the total invoice fee is paid and all necessary paperwork and secondary permits are received.

Block Party – Applications must be received by SAPO 90 days prior to the date of 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.

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.

19) What are my rights if the SAPO Director denies my application?
You have the right to appeal in writing to the Executive Director of the Office of Citywide Event Coordination and Management, 100 Gold Street, 2nd Floor, NY, NY 10038 within five (5) business days of notification of denial or approval with conditions. If you do not appeal within five (5) days time, the SAPO Director’s decision will be implemented.

20) If I am selling and/or cooking food at my event, do I need a permit?
If you are selling and/or distributing food to the general public, you are required to obtain a temporary health food license from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene at 42 Broadway, 5th Floor. Visit http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/rii/temp-food-service-guideline.pdf for more information.

21) How can I participate as a vendor at a street fair?
To participate as a vendor at a street fair, please call the Department of Consumer Affairs for a list of sponsors accepting vendors, 212-487-4071.

22) If there is amplified sound at my event, do I need a permit?
Yes, a sound permit, issued by NYPD, is required for amplified sound. Please visit your local precinct. To find your local precinct, please go to 311 Online for more info.

23) Which activities require a Parks Department Special Events Permit?
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.
  • If you want more information on applying for these permits please go to www.nycgovparks.org/sub_permits_and_applications
    /planning_an_event.html
    .

24) Which activities require a MOFTB Permit?

  • Motion Picture/Television Shooting.
  • Still Photography.
  • Premieres: Red carpet, film, television, and theatre events.
  • If you want more information on applying for these permits please go to www.nyc.gov/film.

25) Which activities fall under the parameters of obtaining a parade permit?
A "parade" is any procession or race which consists of a recognizable group of 25 or more pedestrians, vehicles, bicycles, or other devices moved by human power, or ridden or herded animals proceeding together upon any public street or roadway.

Parade permits are issued by the New York Police Department. If you want more information on applying for these permits please go to www.nyc.gov/nypd.

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