1) Get there early if you want a BBQ grill and table!
2) You do not need a permit if you have less than 20 people, but you need a permit if you are over. Click HERE to find out more.
What local parents have to say:
NOTE: Park Slope Parents strongly advises you to adhere to Prospect Park rules and get permits for groups of 20+
"I looked into holding a picnic for my sister and her fiancé, and I'm not sure if it was at these same picnic tables or not (the ones I looked at were near 9th street entrance and playground). I went one Saturday morning (same day of week we wanted to hold party) to ask the folks grilling/hosing parties what time they'd come to claim them, and the all said 4:45-5 am!!! There was no way we were doing that, so we opted for a nearby shady spot w/ blankets only, and bringing our own picnic food w/o grilling. It worked well. I tried to get a permit but the day I wanted had none available. We were between 20-35 people and I opted to risk it. It was fine. I really don't think anyone is going to disturb you unless you're being really rowdy or setting up lots of tables or anything."
"You will have to get there really early on a weekend. It may be easier to pick a spot under a tree, like on the hill by the tennis house and bring blankets. That is how we usually do parties. The BBQ and picnic table areas get snatched up quickly."
"We just had our sons one year in the park (just across from the bandshell). We had probably 30 people there, 2 folding tables, lots of chairs, balloons, a 6 ft wedge... :) We didn't get a permit. Hand carried it all in. No one bothered us. If you want to BBQ I think you have to grab one of those spots early! I don't think you'll have any issues. Good luck. Let me know if I can lend any other advice!
"My only advice is when people say get there early -- get there by 7am if the weather is supposed to be nice. We had a BBQ last year in August by the 9th St. entrance. My husband was there by 7am. He got the last table. It might not be so bad in June, but if you're inviting a ton of people and it would be a big problem if you didn't get a table -- have someone go crazy early."
"We had our 2 year old's b-day party in the park last September, and we had 25+ people and got a permit. (didn't want to play games with this, unless of course you have something in writing from PP saying you don't need one)."
"I think the party was in the early afternoon, and we were there an hour or so earlier to get the spot. we live on 5th street about 2 blocks away from the park, and our location was on the south side of the tennis house, so basically if you walk in from 9th street entrance, pass by the performance shell and the bbq area, cross the driveway - first area on the left. We never intended to do any BBQs, and frankly I find that area being overcrowded anyways. We brought bagels and cream cheese (had Le Bagel deliver a platter of everything to our house that morning), and drinks and snacks for kids and fruit. We actually brought everything in our car, and then unloaded it using my son's stroller (the drinks were in a cooler on wheels). We also had one of our early guests pick up a bag of ice on the way here, and used it to cool the drinks and keep the cream cheese. (just put it on top of the bag). we brought blankets and all sorts of park toys for kids, and our main "entertainment" was my husband's mom doing "story time" (she used to be a professional librarian, and loved the assignment). It worked great in the park. We brought the cake in one of these portable cake contraptions - I bought it on Amazon. figured it'll be handy in years to come. it converts into cupcake carrier too."
"DO NOT bring beer or alcohol of any kind! it's illegal and you can get cited for it. We didn't think about it and brought beers, and gave the leftovers to some couple that was picnicking nearby and they got cited! (by then we got rid of all of it). Also, we were targeting a shady area, which is what that area was (lots of trees), but unfortunately it also didn't have much grass, mostly dirt and that day was pretty windy unfortunately...If you want more grass and sun, you may consider bringing umbrellas."
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