One of my favorite post-nap activities was to stuff a picnic blanket in the bottom of the stroller, grab a few snacks from the cupboard, strap the boys in the double-wide and head up to the park. We might bring bubbles, or balls, or hunt for dinosaur fossils as we trekked through Prospect Park’s back trails. We loved to accidently, or purposefully, run into friends. I thought of Prospect Park as my backyard.
Of course, it’s also your backyard.
The Prospect Park Alliance has a lengthy list or rules to keep our backyard available for us all. As my kids got older and we used the park for sports and parties more than for leisure, I wondered, how our activities squared with the Prospect Park Alliance rules. Ms. Jasmine Haynes, with Prospect Park Alliance, indulged me with the hard fast answers but also encouraged everyone just to get out and enjoy the park.
Example 1—My baseball team, which consists of thirteen 5- and 6-year-olds, wants to practice Thursday afternoon in the Long Meadow. Including parents/siblings/sitters the numbers in our group will hover around 25. The parents/siblings/sitters will be off to the side while I coach. Do I need a permit? For each practice?
- You need a permit to play on the ball fields.
- If 25 people you need a permit.
Example 2—It’s a glorious day! Spur of the moment I Facebook, text and email my friends to meet in the park and bring a dish. I have no idea who, if anyone will turn up. If it’s over 25 people, will I get busted? How can I have an impromptu get together in a public park with a 30 day permit window?
- It’s not about getting “busted.” It’s about finding space to accommodate everyone. If you’re PLANNING an event with 25 or more people, you need a permit. If you run into 30 of your friends in the Park, you didn’t PLAN it. That said; don’t show up with coolers and equipment obviously for 100 people and then claim you were PLANNING for you and four friends.
Example 3—Between work and kids I’ve been sleep deprived and overwhelmed. I wake up one morning and realize my son’s birthday is two weeks from today. I look on the Prospect Park website and read I should have requested a permit 30 days before the party. Yikes. What are my options now? Can I still apply for a permit?
- You can apply, but whether you get it in time is uncertain.
Example 4—I’m planning a family reunion in the park. I reserved my permits and secured a location. But when I get to the park, someone else has taken over my secured spot. What do I do?
- you don’t have an EXACT spot. You have a permit to have an event in a general area of the Park (ex. Picnic house south). If you’re picky about what part of that area you like best, then get there early!
Example 5—I got my permit, set up my spot and the party is well under way. Half way through the party an officer stops by and asks for our permit. I open my purse, no permit. I dig through the food box, ask hubby if he has it, even take a peak in the garbage. Still nothing. Then I remember I set the permit on the kitchen counter so I’d remember to take it—it’s still there. Now what? Can I pull up a copy of my permit on my smart phone?
- Just don’t forget the hard copy of the permit.
Example 6—I secure a permit for my daughter’s birthday. On the day of the event rain is blowing sideways. I can’t host a birthday in a monsoon. Do I get a refund for lousy weather? Could I reschedule using the same permit?
- . If it rains on the day you have a permit for, you can call the Special Events office AFTER the day and they can see about rescheduling with the same permit you already received. No extra charge.
Example 7—My son’s baseball team wants to have a bake sale fundraiser right outside the park entrance to raise money for uniforms. One parent mentions we need a permit for the bake sale. Another parent says a permit is only needed inside the park, not on the sidewalk. Can we go ahead with the fundraiser? It’s for a good cause.
- You cannot set up on the sidewalk or by Park entrances.
Example 8—My son’s birthday invite vaguely says his party will be “near the Picnic House”. On the big day I want to hang a cardboard sign with blue balloons saying, “Diegos’s Birthday That Way!!!” Can I?
- Officially no.