Help Center

Central Park is your 843-acre backyard, your place to play, relax, and breathe a little easier.

As you enjoy this shared public space, please follow these simple guidelines for the safety of our 42 million yearly visitors (as well as for the health of the Park’s wildlife and plant life!).

Looking for help?

Need to report a problem?

Visit the NYC Parks website for the complete list of City-wide rules and regulations.

Frequently Asked Questions / Topics

Alcohol

Alcohol is not permitted in Central Park.

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Ballfield Closures

Central Park’s ballfields are open most days during spring, summer, and fall. To allow for scheduled maintenance and rest after wet weather, the Conservancy uses a red flag system to signal closures. If you see a red flag on a ballfield, it’s closed to the public.

Each winter, Central Park’s ballfields close for the season. This allows our turf crew to care for the landscape and ensure it’ll be ready for the influx of visitors come spring.

In cases of inclement weather, please call our hotline at 212.628.1036 to learn if a ballfield is open or visit our Alerts page.

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Bicycling

Explore our Central Park Bike Map. If you are biking in the Park, please follow bike rules and guidelines to ensure the safety of all Park visitors. Remember to slow down at crosswalks, yield to pedestrians, and proceed with caution. Cycling on landscapes or pedestrian paths is prohibited, except the marked shared paths at 96th Street and West 106th–108th Streets.

Please remember:

  • Drives that circle the Park are one-way (counterclockwise only)
  • Pedestrians have the right of way at all times
  • 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, weather conditions, or emergencies
  • Obey all ONE-WAY signs and arrows
  • Children under age 14 must wear a helmet (recommended for every cyclist, regardless of age)

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Construction Projects in the Park

Curious about construction work being done in the Park? You can find information about all Conservancy restoration projects on our restoration site.

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Coyotes

Coyotes have been present in New York State since the 1930s and have been spotted throughout NYC, including in Central Park. While you should always take caution, it is possible to safely coexist with coyotes:

  • If you see a coyote, or a coyote appears to be watching you, maintain a safe distance.
  • If you are approached by a coyote, make yourself look bigger by putting your arms up and making loud noises. Continue until the coyote retreats.
  • In case of a medical emergency, such as a coyote bite, call 911.
  • Protect your pets. Always monitor pets when in any section of Central Park. We strongly encourage you to leash your pet even during courtesy off-leash hours. Do not allow pets to play with or approach coyotes.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and vigilant in areas with dense vegetation, where coyotes find cover and search for food.
  • Do not feed wildlife. Feeding wildlife lowers their sense of fear of humans and can condition them to approach people on their own. Properly dispose of garbage in secured containers to avoid indirectly feeding coyotes.
  • Be proactive and share this information with your friends and neighbors.

For more information, please visit the WildlifeNYC website.

If you see a coyote in NYC, you can report the sighting.

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Dogs

If you are a dog owner, please familiarize yourself with NYC Parks’ rules and regulations. Please also check out our Dog Owner’s Guide to Central Park for details on when and where dogs can be off leash in the Park, locations of dog-friendly drinking fountains, and other essential information for dog owners to practice being good Park community members.

Service dogs are legally permitted anywhere in the Park that visitors can go.

As a reminder, dogs are never allowed in:

  • All ballfields and recreational courts
  • All playgrounds
  • All sand volleyball courts
  • All water bodies, streams, and ornamental fountains
  • Elm islands at the Mall
  • Great Lawn Oval
  • Hallett Nature Sanctuary
  • Lilac Walk
  • Stephanie and Fred Shuman Running Track
  • Sheep Meadow

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. Even during off-leash hours, dogs must always be leashed in the following locations:

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

Dog owners using Central Park have these responsibilities, established by NYC Parks:

  • Dogs must always be under the control of their owner.
  • Dogs must have a NYC license tag and valid rabies tag.
  • Dogs cannot dig, chase, or harm wildlife, damage Park property, or interfere with other Park users.
  • Always clean up after your dog, including dog hair that you brush off in the Park.
  • Please respect signs, fences, and red flags that may indicate temporary closures due to restoration, maintenance, or weather conditions.

If you discover a lost pet, or have lost a pet yourself, please refer to NYC.gov's instructions or directly visit the Animal Care Center's website to find support.

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Driving

The four Central Park transverse roads that run crosstown at 66th, 79th, 86th, and 96th Streets are open to motor vehicles. All other Central Park Drives are car-free.

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Drones

Drones are not allowed in Central Park.

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Events

There are many events that happen in Central Park from concerts to weddings and birthday parties. To find information about a Conservancy-hosted event, visit the Conservancy Events page.

If you are looking to host an event in Central Park, you will need a permit (required for activities with 20+ people). Please apply through the NYC Parks website.

For restaurant venues in Central Park, please contact:

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Fishing

There are opportunities to fish in Central Park's water bodies, except the Reservoir. You must obtain a fishing license from the NYC Parks Department and review all NYC Parks fishing rules and regulations before you go.

Fishing line and hooks should be properly discarded to avoid harming wildlife. Line, hooks, and trash left behind or improperly discarded can injure or kill wildlife, so please be careful and considerate.

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Grilling and BBQs

Barbecuing is allowed only on these single days (not the entire holiday weekend):

  • Memorial Day, last Monday in May.
  • Fourth of July, whatever day of the week it falls on
  • Labor Day, first Monday in September

Barbecuing is not permitted in the following areas: athletic fields, playgrounds, woodlands (North Woods, the Ramble, Hallett Nature Sanctuary), landscapes that are fenced off, the Conservatory Garden, and high trafficked areas.

Propane grills are not allowed.

Please visit NYC Parks for more information.

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Ice

Never go out onto the ice of any Central Park water body—and don’t let your dog go out either! Falling into frigid water can cause life-threatening hypothermia within minutes. If you see someone in danger on, in, or near a Central Park water body, call 911.

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Lawn Closures

Central Park’s lawns are open most days during spring, summer, and fall. To allow for scheduled maintenance and rest after wet weather, the Conservancy uses a red flag system to signal closures. If you see a red flag on a lawn, it’s closed to the public.

Each winter, Central Park’s lawns close for the season. This allows our turf crew to care for the landscape and ensure it’ll be ready for the influx of visitors come spring.

For information about scheduled turf care maintenance throughout Central Park, visit our Alerts page.

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Lost and Found

The Conservancy does not keep a lost and found. All items are turned into the Central Park Police Precinct by the 86th Street Transverse Road: 212.570.4820.

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Membership

Conservancy members help us preserve this essential New York resource and enjoy many benefits along the way. If you’re interested in joining our donor community or have questions about your Conservancy membership, please contact our Membership team ([email protected] or 212.310.6672).

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Parking

There is no parking in Central Park, however parking garages are available nearby. Central Park is also accessible via public transportation, including many subway lines and bus stops. Please visit mta.info for more information.

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Plan Your Visit / Opening Hours

Central Park opens at 6:00 am and closes at 1:00 am, 365 days a year.

To help plan your visit, explore the Conservancy’s resource guide or sign up to receive a personalized Park itinerary. You can also find a list of maps, including a Park accessibility map, here. If you have additional questions, stop by one of our eight visitor centers located throughout the Park.

Explore a list of places to eat and drink in the Park, including concession stands and restaurants. Park concessions are managed by the NYC Parks Department. Please always clean up after you eat; our visitors have a hand in keeping the Park clean, and without your help, it wouldn’t be possible to maintain its beauty or cleanliness, or keep its wildlife safe.

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Quiet Zones

These areas are designated Quiet Zones; speakers, musical instruments, and other noise is prohibited:

  • Bethesda Terrace
  • Conservatory Garden
  • Conservatory Water
  • East Green
  • Shakespeare Garden
  • Sheep Meadow
  • Strawberry Fields
  • Turtle Pond

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Red Flags

To allow for scheduled maintenance and rest after wet weather, the Conservancy uses a red flag system to signal closures. If you see a red flag on a lawn or ballfield, that area is closed to the public.

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Research

Many of the materials pertinent to researching Central Park are readily available in municipal institutions around New York City. The resources linked here provide visitors, students, teachers, scholars, and professionals guidance on researching Central Park and the Central Park Conservancy.

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Restrooms

Restrooms are located throughout Central Park. For a list of locations, opening times, wheelchair accessibility, the availability of all-gender restroom options, and other useful information, please visit our Restroom Guide.

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Smoking

Smoking is not permitted in Central Park, including electronic cigarettes. See all smoking rules from NYC Parks.

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Streetlights

Lights in the Park are managed by the Department of Transportation (DOT). You can report light outages to DOT online, or on Twitter.

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Support

Whether you actively “carry in, carry out”—carry out any trash you bring into the Park—volunteer, become a member, or donate to the Conservancy, we’re thankful for your partnership. The Conservancy handles the largest and smallest details of the Park’s care, from planting flowers and removing trash to restoring historic structures and offering hundreds of public tours and kids’ activities. Our work is funded primarily by donations thanks to individuals like you. Here’s more information about all the ways you can support our work.

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Water Fountains

Water fountains are stationed throughout Central Park. The Department of Environmental Protection conducts over 600,000 tests of New York City's water each year to make sure it meets (or exceeds) all state and federal health standards. You’ll see blue stickers on the drinking fountains that let you know the water has been tested and approved. Conservancy staff also regularly power washes these fountains. They are turned off in the winter.

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Wildlife

Respect the wildlife in Central Park—you are entering their home. Never feed or approach a wild animal; feeding wild animals is harmful to their health and can cause animals to become dependent on humans for meals. For matters relating to wildlife, or injured wildlife in the Park, please contact the Urban Park Rangers: 212.360.2774.

In an urgent situation, contact the Park Enforcement Patrol: 212.427.8700, the City of New York: 311, or notify a Central Park Conservancy staff member.

The Conservancy creates many guides for people to use while exploring the Park that include a breakdown of plants in various areas throughout the Park. If you don’t find the specific plant you are curious about, there are some helpful apps including iNaturalist, created by the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society.


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