Rules & Regulations for NYC Musicians

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. This is just pertinent information pulled from NYC government sites.

Definitions

From NYC Parks - Rules & Regulations > §1-02 Definitions:

Regulated Uses

From NYC Parks - Rules & Regulations > §1-05 Regulated Uses:

Section D - Noise; Sound Reproduction Devices; Musical Instruments;

  1. No person shall make, or cause or allow to be made, unreasonable noise in any park so as to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or harm. Unreasonable noise means any excessive or unusually loud sound that disturbs the peace, comfort or repose of a reasonable person of normal sensitivity or injures or endangers the health or safety of a reasonable person of normal sensitivity, or which causes injury to plant or animal life, or damage to property or business.
  2. No person shall play or operate any sound reproduction device, as defined in § 1-02 of these rules, in any park without a permit from the Department and any other City agency or agencies with pertinent jurisdiction. This paragraph (2) shall not apply to the regular and customary use of sound reproduction devices operated in full accordance with these rules so as not unreasonably to disturb other persons in their permitted uses of the park. In areas designated by the Commissioner as “quiet zones,” such regular and customary use of sound reproduction devices shall be prohibited. Signs shall be posted in all quiet zones advising the public of such prohibition. Use of radios and other sound reproduction devices listened to solely by headphones or earphones, and inaudible to others, is permitted in all areas of the parks. Violation of this paragraph constitutes a misdemeanor.
  3. No person shall play or operate any musical instrument or drum, radio, tape recorder or other device for producing sound in any park between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. except under the express terms of a permit issued by the Department. The Department may vary the hours specified in this paragraph in a particular park or area by posting signs advising the public of the restricted hours applicable to such park or area. Violation of this paragraph constitutes a misdemeanor.
  4. No person shall play or operate any musical instrument or drum or cause any noise for advertising or commercial purposes except as authorized by paragraph 1-05(b)(2) or under the express terms of a permit a issued by the Department. Violation of this paragraph constitutes a misdemeanor.

Permit Information

Musician or Performer Permit

You are required to have a permit for some public performances.

You must have a permit to use a sound device such as a loudspeaker, megaphone, or stereo in a street performance. Sound Device Permits are available at local police precincts during business hours. The fee is $45. You do not need a permit for street performances without a sound device.

You must have a permit to perform in or next to a park. A permit is also required to host a special event, distribute fliers, or perform at the Staten Island Ferry terminals. Performance activities are not allowed on ferry boats.

Is it legal to play music on the street?

Yes, it is legal to play music on the street. Street performers usually do not need a permit. A permit is required to use a sound device such as a loud speaker, megaphone, or stereo, or to perform in or next to a park.

Permits and Services > Special Events Permit Application

From the smallest birthday party to the largest concert, special events take place every day in New York City parks. If you want to have any activity in a City park with more than 20 people, or where you would like to reserve a specific area within a park, you need to apply for a special event permit.