Home Visit the Park Support the Park Volunteer Calendar of Events Parties/Permits Environment Education About



Related Information:


    Home  >  Visit the Park  >  Plan Your Visit  >  Safety and Rules

Plan Your Visit
Places to Eat
Food Trucks in Prospect Park
Safety and Rules
Visiting with Kids
WiFi in the Park
Our Neighborhood / Heart of Brooklyn
Places to Go
Interactive Park Map
Upcoming Events

Safety and Rules

General Rules | Park Drives | Bicycling | Skating | Dogs | BBQ | Fishing | BirdingLawns

When visiting Prospect Park, please remember that your actions affect not only the physical condition of the Park, but also our other visitors. Over nine million people come to the Park every year with a common goal: to have fun. Please be mindful of your fellow guests when you visit Prospect Park so that all will have an enjoyable experience.

Prospect Park

General Rules of Park Use

The following rules are based on various New York City and State regulations and statutes:

  • Smoking is prohibited in all New York City parks. Smoking is allowed on sidewalks outside parks, including sidewalks that form the perimeter of parks. For more information visit Smoke-Free Parks and Beaches.
  • Use litter baskets.
  • Barbecue only in designated areas.
  • Stay on the paths in the woodlands to allow the newly restored forest to grow.
  • Keep your dog leashed, except at official off-leash times and locations.
  • Do not release any wildlife (domesticated or other) into the Park.
  • Do not plant any vegetation (flower, tree, shrubbery, etc.) in the Park without authorization of the Parks Dept.
  • Do not remove any vegetation (flower, tree, shrubbery, etc.) from the Park without authorization of the Parks Dept.
  • Take home all fishing line and hooks to protect wildlife.
  • Bike, skate, and run only on designated paths.
  • Play music at a low volume.
  • For all park-related problems, questions or complaints, call 311, the City Information & Services Hotline.
  • For emergencies within the Park, call 911.

If you need assistance while in the Park:

  • Locate one of the many yellow Police call boxes scattered throughout. (See map)
  • Flag down an official Parks vehicle or Parks Enforcement Patrol vehicle or personnel.
  • Call 311 to report vandalism or disruptive activity.
  • Dial 911 from any payphone or cell phone in an emergency.
  • During business hours, go to Litchfield Villa for assistance.

Stay Safe on the Park Drive

The Park Drive is a 3.35 mile loop around the entire Park that is open to vehicular traffic during weekday rush hours only. The speed limit on the Drive is 25 mph. Please remember these keys to safe recreation while using the Park Drive.

Park Drive Hours:
The West Drive (Southbound) is OPEN to motorists during the following hours ONLY:
Monday through Friday (except holidays), 5 – 7 p.m.

The East Drive (Northbound) is OPEN to motorists during the following hours ONLY:
Monday through Friday (except holidays), 7 – 9 a.m.

The Park Drive is closed to motorists at all other times.

New Safety Measures on Park Drives:
In May of 2012, the Prospect Park Administration and the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) implemented steps to ensure the safe enjoyment of the Park Drives by everyone. This includes lane reconfiguration and pedestrian-activated traffic signals.

At all times:

  • Pedestrians (runners, walkers, children under 14 on bikes, etc) use the left lane.
  • Cyclists and skaters (traveling in a counter-clockwise direction) use the center lane and can use the right lane to pass.
  • Vehicles use the right lane.

Please remember that the rules of the road are in effect regardless of the hours cars are allowed on Park drives. All bicyclists and skaters should stop at red lights. Pedestrians have the right of way.

Bicycling Guidelines

  • Pedestrians always have the right of way.
  • Cycling is permitted only on the main Park roadway, Center Drive, and Well House Drive. Cycling is not permitted on Park paths.
  • Be aware that authorized vehicles use the roads at all times.
  • The speed limit on the Drive is 25 mph.
  • Cyclists must travel in a counter-clockwise direction and obey all traffic signals.
  • Cyclists must use the center lane. The right lane can be used for passing but be aware that authorized vehicles use the right lane at all times.
  • By law, bicycles must be equipped with bells or similar warning device. Helmets are required for children under 14, and are suggested for everyone.
  • By law, bicycles must be equipped with front and rear lights when operating before dawn and after dusk.
  • Do not wear headphones.
  • Signal for turns and lane changes. Be cautious when passing others and warn them of your presence.
  • Only one rider per bicycle.
  • Do not bike with dogs on a leash.
  • Carry ID at all times.

Please remember that the rules of the road are in effect regardless of the hours cars are allowed on Park drives. All bicyclists and skaters should stop at red lights. Pedestrians have the right of way.

Skating Guidelines

  • Before you skate, master the fundamentals of striding, turning and stopping.
  • Skating is only permitted on Park drives. Skating is not permitted on paths.
  • Be aware that authorized vehicles use the roadway at all times.
  • The speed limit on the Drive is 25 mph.
  • When the Drive is open, use the right half of the recreation lane. When the Drive is closed, use the traffic lanes. The recreation lane is for runners and walkers.
  • Skate in the appropriate lane in a counter-clockwise direction at all times.
  • Obey all traffic lights and signs. Come to a full stop when entering the roadway. Do not hang on moving objects.
  • Helmets are required by law for children under age 14. Helmets, wrist guards and knee pads are recommended for all.
  • Wear reflective clothing when skating before dawn and after dusk.
  • Do not wear headphones.
  • Do not skate with dogs on a leash.
  • Carry ID at all times.

Please remember that the rules of the road are in effect regardless of the hours cars are allowed on Park drives. All bicyclists and skaters should stop at red lights. Pedestrians have the right of way.

Dog Walking Guidelines

  • NYC law requires dogs to be on a leash 6 feet or shorter at all times, except during designated off-leash hours in designated areas.
  • Owners must be in control of their dogs at all times.
  • Please dispose of dog waste properly.
  • Dogs are never allowed in playgrounds, on bridle paths, on ballfields, or other designated sports areas.
  • There are no off-leash areas at the Parade Ground.
  • Do not allow dogs to dig – holes create trip hazards.
  • To protect wildlife habitats, dogs must always be leashed and on stay on paths when in wooded areas.
  • Dogs are allowed in the water at the Lake adjacent to the Peninsula meadow during off-leash hours.

Off-Leash Hours:
9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and 5 to 9 a.m. daily in these areas: Long Meadow, Nethermead, Peninsula.
In Prospect Park, dogs are required to be on leash in all other areas.

See dog walking for more information.

Picnic and Barbecue Guidelines

  • Barbecuing is permitted only in designated areas of Prospect Park.
  • You must use a charcoal grill or hibachi raised at least two feet above the ground. Never barbecue under a tree. Do not use a trash barrel as a stand. Do not move picnic tables.
  • Picnics are not allowed on a path, on a playing field, in a shelter, in a playground or in a Park facility.
  • Groups larger than 20 must obtain a permit. For information call (718) 965-8969. Applications must be submitted at least 30 days in advance.
  • When the Drive is closed, vehicles may only unload outside of the Park or at the Litchfield Villa parking lot.
  • Clean-up: Extinguish coals with water, wrap with foil and deposit in labeled BBQ ash barrels. Do not dump coals and ash onto the ground, into the Lake or at the base of a tree. Please bag all other garbage and leave it next to a trash can.
  • Be considerate of others and respect the beauty of your natural surroundings.

Designated Barbecuing Areas: (See map)

  • Picnic House North* and South
  • Peristyle (Grecian Shelter) Lawn
  • 10th Avenue Lawn
  • Bandshell North and South*
  • Wollman Field*
  • Vanderbilt Picnic Area*(not including oval)
  • Long Meadow North (near Grand Army Plaza)

* Picnic tables available.

Fishing Guidelines

  • Fishing is "catch and release" only. Once a fish is caught, remove the hook and return it to the Lake unharmed.
  • No barbed hooks are allowed.
  • Anglers must respect the habitats and nesting grounds of birds and waterfowl.
  • Leave fishing sites clear of all debris.
  • Careless disposal of fishing line poses extreme hazards to birds and small animals. Hooks are especially dangerous to children and wildlife.
  • Please take home even the shortest length of line and dispose of properly.
  • A New York State fishing license is required to fish in Prospect Park for people 16 and older.
  • You can obtain a license from: Department of Environmental Conservation, (718) 482-4900.

You may also purchase a license at:
Bernie's Fishing Tackle 
3035 Emmons Avenue, Brooklyn, NY
(718) 664-7600

Obey all Department of Environmental Conservation and angling regulations.
The following are prohibited in and around Prospect Park waterways:

  • Private boats and other flotation devices
  • Swimming and wading
  • Construction of makeshift fishing piers or bridges along the lakeside.
  • Removal of snow fence, stakes, ladders or any Park equipment or material.

Birding Guidelines

  • The welfare of the birds and their environment comes first. The Park is a breeding ground for birds and home to many small animals.
  • Stay on roads, paths, woodchips and marked trails. Walking off path compacts the soil and destroys plants and young trees.
  • Do not chase or startle birds.
  • Respect the rights and interests of other birders and Park users.
  • Support the protection of bird habitats.
  • If you witness unethical birding behavior, notify Parks personnel. It is illegal to capture birds.
  • Birdwatch in small groups to limit the impact on the environment and other Park users.

For more info on birding in Prospect Park contact: Brooklyn Bird Club, (718) 875-1151


  • All sports are prohibited on lawns when wet.
  • No cleats are allowed in Prospect Park.
  • Cricket is not allowed in Prospect Park for safety reasons. Cricket is allowed at Canarsie Beach and Marine Park. Please call (718) 965-8912 for permits and availability.
  • Metal detectors are not allowed on manicured lawns or in wooded areas.
  • Sports are prohibited on all lawns in Prospect Park from December 1 through March 31. The lawns need time to rest and rejuvenate! The Parade Ground has several synthetic fields open during these months. Please call (718) 965-8973 for permits and availability.
  • The ballfields are available for organized sports on a seasonal basis:
    • April through Labor Day: baseball and softball only
    • September through November: soccer only
  • Volleyball, frisbee, football, and rugby are not allowed in the ballfields. Please use the Nethermead for these sports.

Interactive Park Map   Prospect Park Alliance

Become a Member  |  Volunteer  |  Press Room  |  Employment Opportunities  |  Privacy Policy  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us
Home  |  About  |  Visit the Park  |  Support the Park  |  Shop  |  Calendar  |  Parties  |  Permits  |  Environment  |  Education

©2008 – 2014 Prospect Park Alliance. All rights reserved. Site powered by Atlas Workcenter.