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  • Official Caretakers of Central Park

Rules & Regulations

Central Park is enjoyed by more than 42 million visitors each year. To ensure everyone can enjoy the Park safely, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation has established rules and regulations (external link) for all New York City parks. Officers from the New York City Police Department and Parks Enforcement Patrol are responsible for enforcing all rules and regulations.

Please visit the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation website for information about accessible facilities, events, and contact information.

Alcohol in the Park
Per the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, which establishes the rules and regulations for all City parks, alcohol is prohibited in Central Park.

No permit is required to bike in Central Park; however, every cyclist must obey these laws and rules:

  • Pedestrians have the right of way at all times.
  • At crosswalks, slow down, yield to pedestrians, and then proceed cautiously.
  • Obey all traffic laws, such as traffic signals, stop signs, and the maximum speed limit of 20 mph.
  • Travel at a slower safe speed in response to crowds, emergency, or weather conditions.
  • Obey all ONE WAY signs and arrows: Travel only counter-clockwise on the Drives that circle the Park.
  • Cycling is prohibited on all pedestrian paths except the marked shared paths at 96th St and W. 106th-108th St.
  • Cycling is prohibited on landscapes.
  • Children under age 14 must wear a helmet, but it is recommended that every cyclist wear a helmet.

Dogs are allowed in most sections of Central Park whenever it is open to the public. They are allowed off-leash when the Park is open from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am when the Park closes. Dogs must be on-leash at all times from 9:00 am until 9:00 pm. For detailed information, please read the rules for dogs. Learn more about Central Park's vibrant dog community and Central Park Paws.

Dogs must be leashed at all times in the following locations:

  • Arthur Ross Pinetum
  • the Bridle Path
  • Cedar Hill
  • Children's Glade (Great Hill area)
  • Conservatory Garden
  • East Green
  • East Meadow Oval
  • Kerbs Boathouse Plaza
  • the North Woods and the Ravine
  • the Ramble
  • Shakespeare Garden
  • Strawberry Fields
  • Turtle Pond Lawn
  • Other areas where signs requiring dogs to be leashed are posted

Driving in the Park
As of June 29, 2015, Central Park Drives north of 72nd Street are permanently car-free. The four Central Park transverse roads remain open to motor vehicles. Learn more at nyc.gov. The Park drives are open to vehicular traffic only during certain hours:

  • West Drive (from 72nd Street south to Central Park South & 7th Avenue) High Occupancy Vehicles only
    Weekdays: 8:00 am – 10:00 am
  • Center Drive/East Drive (from the 6th Avenue entrance on Central Park South to the East 72nd Street & 5th Avenue exit)
    Weekdays: 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Terrace Drive (72nd Street Cross) Drive (from 72nd Street/Fifth Avenue to West Drive South)
    Weekdays: 8:00 am – 10:00 am

The speed limit in Central Park is 20 mph and is strictly enforced. Motorists and cyclists should slow down when drives are congested.

Drones are not permitted in Central Park, according to the rules of the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation.

If you want to have any activity in Central Park with more than 20 people, OR if you would like to reserve a specific area in the Park, you must apply for a special event permit with the City of New York Parks & Recreation Department. Learn more here. For restaurant venues in Central Park, please contact Tavern on the Green, 212.877.8684, or the Loeb Boathouse, 212.517.2233.

Filming and Photography in Central Park
Some film and photography requires a permit and coordination with the Central Park Conservancy's Operations Team. Learn more at our Film and Photography page.

Smoking is prohibited in Central Park and all NYC parks. This includes the use of electronic cigarettes. Visit NYC Department of Parks and Recreation for more information.

If you want to conduct a wedding in Central Park's Conservatory Garden, please visit our Weddings page. For a wedding at any location in Central Park other than Conservatory Garden, please check with the New York Department of Parks and Recreation. To reserve a specific location in the Park, or for an event including more than 20 people, a permit is required. For more information, please visit the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation's website, or call 212.360.2766, Monday through Friday. For information about wedding photography, please email film@centralparknyc.org.

Wildlife in the Park
Respect the wildlife in Central Park. Never feed or approach a wild, stray, or injured animal. For matters relating to wildlife in the Park, please contact the Urban Park Rangers, 212.628.2345. In an urgent situation, you may also contact the Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP), 212.427.8700, call the City of New York (dial 311), or notify a Central Park Conservancy staff member.