New Event Rules Released by SAPO

New Event Rules Released by SAPO for comment by October 13th: Postponed to the 27th

Astor Plaza classified as A in the new event rules

Astor Alive Festival on Astor Plaza. The type of event we’d like more of.

The Street Activities Permitting Office (SAPO) has recently released a second version of New Event Rules that seem to better address the issues of security and overabundance, maybe.  Here they are in their entirety  and here’s the CECM-SAPO webpage.

For NoHo-Bowery these new event rules impact events on the new Astor Place and Cooper Square Plazas and “special event” permits like the annual Il Buco Pig Roast.

Not all aspects of the first version are covered e.g. the addition of PRIVATE events to the roster of Plaza event conferences, receptions, fund-raisers that come with tents and limos  [read ] but what is made even more clear is that the Mayor’s Office intends to be the decider on all things event related and income producing, regardless of neighborhood interests.

In at least one area the new rules seem to have regressed:  the time for local – Community Board – review.  The time to respond to most applications is less, now 30 days, with the exception of large Plaza events which will have 45 days. The time frame for “Special Events” (commercial promotion events) has been reduced to 10 days.  Again, the responsibility lies with the Community Board to be proactive with insufficient time to respond – outreach to constituents, scheduling of Committee hearing, approval of the Full Board, resolution response to SAPO.  Further, should the Community Board impose conditions or denial, it must be issued five days before the event deadline for an applicant to respond.  At no time does the Community Board – or the Community – have an opportunity to evaluate the applicant’s response.  The decision is left to CECM/SAPO also tasked with producing City income.

Still of concern are the fees for events, which seem to have been raised particularly for larger Plaza events, with no portion made available for the Partners who maintain, schedule and monitor Plaza activity. (See page six  of New Event Rules)

But, there is good news – Manhattan and Community Boards 2, 5, and 7 in particular – thanks to NYPD and OCECM review of the initial New Event Rules:

  • redefine street fairs as street festivals to conform to agency permit issuing practices and distinguish between multi-block/multi-day and single-block/single day festivals
  • limit the number of street festival and single block street festival permits that can be issued annually within a community board, within Manhattan, and citywide
  • require applicants to submit applications for single block street festival permits no later than 90 days prior to the proposed event
  • establish November 1 through December 31 as the time when applications for street festivals must be submitted for the subsequent year
  • limit the length of time street events can occur
  • clarify the definition of community sponsor
  • require that at least 50% of vendors participating in an event have a business or local presence within the same community board where the street festival or single block street festival occurs, and
  • change the fees imposed for street fairs to a method that reflects the City’s costs related to administration and traffic control for these events.

The net of this is:

The Director shall issue no more than ten (10) permits for Street festivals per community board in any calendar year. No more than one Street festival permit per calendar day will be issued in any community board. No more than two hundred (200) Street festival permits will be issued within the City of New York in any calendar year, with no more than one hundred (100) 12 of those permits to be held in the borough of Manhattan in any calendar year.

You are encouraged to express your opinion about this second set of new event rules:

  • Website. You can submit comments to SAPO through the NYC rules Web site at
  • Email. You can email written comments to
  • Mail. You can mail written comments to Michael Paul Carey, Executive Director, Office of Citywide Coordination and Management, at 253 Broadway, 6th Floor, New York, New York 10007.
  • By Speaking at the Hearing. Anyone who wants to comment on the proposed rule at the public hearing must sign up to speak. You can sign up before the hearing by calling Michael Carey at (212) 788-0030 by close of business on October 11, 2016. You may also sign up on the day of the hearing in person. You can speak for up to three minutes. Each speaker will be timed

You can read some coverage from POLITICO, here.

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