Back to Blog

A Simple Guide to Securing a Park Permit for Sports in NYC

It may seem tough, but securing a NYC park permit is not that hard!

Sat Mar 02 2024

Table of Contents

  1. Part 1: Know When to Play and Apply
  2. Part 2: Applying for the Permit
  3. Part 2A: Best Way to Get the Permit You Want
  4. Part 3: Youth and Adult Leagues
  5. Part 4: Required Documents

Yearning for a game of soccer or a friendly match on the basketball court against the iconic backdrop of New York City? Securing a field or court permit might sound daunting, but fear not — we’ve broken down the process into easy steps for you to follow. Let’s get started on making your sports day dreams come true!

Applying for a permit may seem tough, but with all steps written out it’s really not!

Part 1: Know When to Play and Apply

1.1 When to Play

  • Organized League: If you’re part of an organized league, a permit is a must for any formal use.
  • Pickup Games: For informal use or pickup games, check the field availability map for non-permitted time.

1.2 When to Apply

  • Spring and Summer (March 17 — August 31): Renewal Permits: Nov 15 — Jan 15; New Permits: Jan 1 — Aug 23.
  • Fall (September 1 — November 30): Renewal Permits: Apr 15 — Jun 15; New Permits: Jun 1 — Nov 23.
  • Winter (December 1 — March 16): Renewal Permits: Sep 15 — Nov 1; New Permits: Oct 15 — Mar 9.

Part 2: Applying for the Permit

2.1 Submitting Your Request

  • For athletic activity, use an athletic field or court request.
  • For events beyond sports (e.g., field day, birthday party), opt for a special event permit.

2.2 Priority Distribution

  • Youth Leagues: Top priority.
  • School Leagues: Next in line.
  • Returning Customers: Given consideration.
  • Optimal Season Request: Good chance.
  • All Others: We’ll do our best.

2.3 Priority Sports — Multipurpose Fields

  • Spring/Summer: Priority for bat and ball sports.
  • Fall/Winter: Priority for sports played on rectangular fields.

Part 2A: Best Way to Get the Permit You Want

If you are an organization or organizer that has already once applied for permits and are in good standing with the parks department, you have much higher chances of receiving a park permit than an organization that is applying for their first.

For those of you who want a particular field and are in the bucket of applicants applying for their first permit, don’t expect to successfully acquire the permit you want at the hours you originally wanted: you are actively competing with long-standing existing youth clubs and organizations that have a good reputation.

For best odds of securing permits, apply for the hours that may not be the most desirable, yet are open, or fields that aren’t your absolute favorite but are avaialable at the hours you wanted. Eventually, you’ll be placed into the pool with the prioritized applicants and your chances of acquiring a permit for your favorite pitch will become a reality!

Part 3: Youth and Adult Leagues

3.1 Youth Leagues

  • Participants 17 or younger.
  • No fee for youth athletic permits.
  • Strictly for youth-related activities.

3.2 Adult Leagues

  • Participants over 18.
  • Check the Fee Schedules page for pricing.
  • Youth athletic permits not for adult recreation.

Part 4: Required Documents

4.1 Prepare Your Documents

  • Insurance documentation (with NYC Parks as additional insured).
  • League schedules and participant rosters.
  • AED certifications, if applicable.

4.2 Submission Process

  • Submit documents to the borough permit office.
  • The coordinator will guide you on specific requirements.

Securing a permit for your sports event in NYC is a journey worth taking. Follow these straightforward steps, and soon you’ll be enjoying your favorite games in the heart of the city. So, lace up those sneakers, gather your team, and let the games begin!

Join our mailing list

Get insider information on feature updates, new gyms, and more