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Press Releases


June 25, 2004

Contacts: Dina Improta, DCA, 212.487.4283 / Ilyse Fink or Jennifer Givner, DOB, 212.566.3473

Agencies Remind Operators of Licensing Requirements and Issue
Parent Safety Tips to Ensure Summer Season is Fun and Safe

The New York City Departments of Consumer Affairs (DCA) and Buildings (DOB) today announced inspectors from both agencies will step-up enforcement this summer against unlicensed amusement rides that could pose serious safety risks at summer street fairs, block parties, and festivals citywide. Temporary rides including, but not limited to, Ferris Wheels, Swings, Tilt-a-Whirls, and Carousels, that are erected for each special event, street fair or block party must be licensed by the DCA and pass inspection by the DOB's Elevator Division each time they relocate. The Mayor's Community Assistance Unit issues permits for street fair and block parties, and this year expects to issue over 4,400 to sponsoring organizations across the City.

So far this season, the DCA has processed 56 applications for temporary rides at street fairs or block parties. DOB inspectors will perform more than 2,000 total inspections during the amusement park/carnival season, including unannounced spot checks. Operators who violate the law will face maximum penalties of $100 per day of unlicensed activity, and rides without a license must be taken down immediately. License applications are available on the DCA web site at

“Thank heavens for summer in the City with street fairs and block parties, but the amusement rides set up for these special events need to be safe,” said DCA Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra. “At DCA we make it easy for operators and safe for consumers. Our inspectors are making unannounced visits checking fair ride licenses and insurance, and will continue to do so throughout the season.”

“New York City's amusement parks, fairs and carnivals are great summer events. The Department of Buildings and the Department of Consumer Affairs work closely together to make sure that these are places where families can enjoy themselves.” said Patricia J. Lancaster, FAIA, Commissioner of the Buildings Department. She added, “Following our amusement ride safety tips will help make sure that your visit to the park, fair or carnival is both safe and fun.”

Operators of popular inflatable bouncers and slides, like the Moonwalk or Super Slide, must also be licensed and comply with standard manufacturer's safety requirements, as well as properly secure each ride.

“The R.O.A.R organization (Responsible Operators of Amusement Rentals) is happy to work with the Department of Consumer Affairs,” said Scott Weisberg of R.O.A.R., and owner of Scott's Magic and Entertainment Company. “We have the same common goal of making the industry safer; and licensing helps ensures that.”

“While the Mayor's Community Assistance Unit welcomes the fun and excitement associated with block parties and street fairs, we also want to ensure that precautions are taken to keep every event we permit as safe and enjoyable as possible,” said Jonathan Greenspun, Commissioner of the Community Assistance Unit. “Parents and children have a right to expect that amusement rides are safe and reliable and we applaud the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Department of Buildings for putting safety first.”

All operators for portable amusement rides are required to have a one-year license from the DCA and carry appropriate ride and worker's compensation insurance. Truck-mounted rides must pass inspection by the DOB's Elevator Division. CAU and the DCA mailed out letters detailing the rules for portable rides to all community boards, local precincts, City Council members, as well as the individual sponsoring organizations.

For more information, amusement ride operators and street fair/block party organizers are encouraged to call 3-1-1 within New York City, 212-NEW-YORK outside, or go to

Safety Tips from the NYC Department of Buildings are below.



Each year, specially trained inspectors from the NYC Department of Buildings check the condition and operation of each amusement ride in New York City. With the help of this inspection team, we have compiled a list of amusement ride safety tips.

  • Before getting on any ride, always take a moment to look it over. If something does not appear normal or if the ride looks unsafe in any way, DO NOT GET ON IT. Immediately notify the operator of the ride, or if necessary, the police.

  • Take notice of the condition of the ride operator. If the operator seems unknowledgeable or under the influence of drugs or alcohol, immediately alert the manager of the amusement park or carnival, or if necessary, the police. DO NOT GET ON THE RIDE.

  • Before getting on a ride, carefully read the height, weight and medical restrictions. Anyone who does not meet the required specifications is not allowed on the ride. Read any instructions on what to do while the ride is in motion and follow the directions given by the operator.

  • After being fastened into the ride, check the restraints (seat belts, shoulder harnesses, etc.) by pushing and pulling on them to make sure they are adequately secured. If you are accompanying a child, check the condition of his/her restraints as well. If any defects are noticed or the restraints do not seem properly secured, notify the operator before the ride begins.

  • An adult should always accompany young children. Never attempt to force a frightened child onto a ride. When watching a child on a ride, never attempt to lean over the railing or fence to touch him/her.

  • Keep your head, hands, arms, legs and feet inside the ride at all times.

  • Watch your step when entering or exiting a ride. Always walk slowly and be aware of any uneven ground or wire crossings when you step off the device.

  • Some rides can make you dizzy. Hold onto the handrails, especially when exiting.

  • Rowdiness and excessive play are STRICTLY PROHIBITED on all rides.

  • NEVER stand up or exit a ride while it is in motion. Remain fastened in your seat until the ride comes to a complete stop.

  • NEVER get on a ride while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

  • IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY, follow the instructions of the ride operator and emergency personnel.