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            Rules and Regulations

            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 all our 42 million yearly visitors (and plentiful wildlife and plant life!). Looking for help? Need to report a problem? The New York City Police Department and Parks Enforcement Patrol are here to help:

            • 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

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

            Alcohol

            Alcohol is not permitted in Central Park.

            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 to learn if a ballfield is open:

            Central Park Ballfield Hotline: 212.628.1036
            Great Lawn – ext. 330
            North Meadow – ext. 331
            Heckscher – ext. 332

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

            Bicycling

            • No cycling on pedestrian paths except the marked shared paths at 96th Street and West 106th–108th Streets
            • No cycling on landscapes
            • Drives that circle the Park are one-way (counterclockwise only)
            • Pedestrians have the right of way at all times
            • At crosswalks: slow down, yield to pedestrians, proceed with caution
            • 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)

            Coyotes

            Coyotes have been present in New York City for about 30 years and have been spotted in Central Park. How to coexist safely 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 make 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.

            Dogs

            The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all dog owners maintain at least six feet of distance from other people and animals and keep their dogs on a leash. Dogs must be on leash 9:00 am–9:00 pm in Central Park.

            New York City’s dogs love the Park. To ensure visitors and pets alike stay safe, dog owners must follow these rules outlined by NYC Parks:

            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.

            Helpful Resources

            Check out our Dog Owner’s Guide to Central Park for information about visiting Central Park with your dog.

            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.

            Drones

            Drones are not allowed in Central Park.

            Events

            Reserve a specific area of the Park with a special event permit (required for activities with 20+ people). Apply through the NYC Parks website.

            For restaurant venues in Central Park, please contact:

            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, and the 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.

            Propane grills are not allowed.

            Please visit NYC Parks for more information.

            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.

            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.

            Parking

            There is no parking in Central Park. Many parking garages are available nearby.

            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

            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.

            Smoking

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

            Streetlights

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

            Water Fountains

            In the spring, plumbers from NYC Parks turn on the water to ornamental and drinking fountains, restrooms, and irrigation systems across the Park. They are turned off in the winter.

            Wildlife

            Respect the wildlife in Central Park. Never feed or approach a wild animal. 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.

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