Rules & Regulations
To ensure everyone can enjoy Central Park safely, NYC Parks has established rules and regulations for all New York City parks. Visit the NYC Parks website for the complete list.
The New York City Police Department and Parks Enforcement Patrol are responsible for enforcing all rules and regulations. Report problems directly to these agencies:
- Park rules: Parks Enforcement Patrol, 212-427-8700
- Law enforcement: NYPD Central Park Precinct, 212-570-4820
- Wildlife issues (birds, fish, raccoons, turtles, etc.): Urban Park Rangers, 212-360-2774
- City of New York: 311
- Emergency: 911
Grilling & BBQs
AlcoholAlcohol is not permitted in Central Park.
- Cycling is not permitted on pedestrian paths except the marked shared paths at 96th Street and West 106th-108th Streets
- Cycling is not permitted on landscapes
- Travel only counterclockwise on the Drives that circle the Park
- 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 20 mph speed limit
- Travel at a slower speed in response to crowds, emergency, or weather conditions
- Obey all ONE WAY signs and arrows
- Children under age 14 must wear a helmet. 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. Dogs must be on-leash 9:00 am – 9:00 pm. Off-leash hours are 6:00 am – 9:00 am and 9:00 pm – 1:00 am. Learn more >
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
The speed limit in Central Park is 20 mph and is strictly enforced. Motorists and cyclists should slow down when drives are congested.
Central Park Drives north of 72nd Street are car-free, but the four transverse roads that run crosstown at 66th, 72nd, 86th, and 96th Streets remain open to motor vehicles. Drives south of 72nd Street are open to vehicular traffic only during certain hours and only on weekdays:
- West Drive (from 72nd Street south to Central Park South & 7th Avenue) High Occupancy Vehicles only: 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): 7:00 am – 7:00 pm
- Terrace Drive (72nd Street Cross) Drive (from 72nd Street/Fifth Avenue to West Drive South): 8:00 am – 10:00 am
The four Central Park transverse roads that run crosstown at 66th, 72nd, 86th, and 96th Streets are open to motor vehicles.
Drones are not permitted in Central Park.
Special event permits are required to reserve a specific area of the Park, or for activities with 20+ people. Apply through the NYC Parks website.
Grilling & BBQs
Barbecuing is allowed only on these days, but not the entire holiday weekend:
- Memorial Day (last Monday in May)
- Labor Day (first Monday in September)
- 4th of July (whatever day of the week it falls on)
Barbecuing is not permitted in the following areas: athletic fields, playgrounds, woodlands (North Woods, Ramble, Hallett), landscapes that are fenced off, and Conservatory Garden. We recommend locations above 96th Street, such as the lawn at the Harlem Meer or the Great Hill, because they’re less crowded than the southern part of the Park.
Use of propane is not allowed.
Smoking is not permitted in Central Park. This includes the use of electronic cigarettes. Learn more >
We've gathered information to answer your frequently asked questions about Central Park and the Conservancy. Learn More >