Park barbecues: Where to grill in NYC this summer

The park barbecue is a great Memorial Day, Fourth of July or Labor Day standby. Gather your friends and fire up the grill in one of these park barbecue areas.

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  • Riverside Park

  • Photograph: Anna Simonak

    Riverside Park

  • Photograph: Anna Simonak

    East River Park

Riverside Park


If you're like us, you've gazed wistfully at the park barbecues in Prospect Park, admiring the BBQ and plentiful sides that line the picnic tables. Well, stand on the edges no longer—it's summer in NYC and there's a grill in a New York park just waiting for you. Consider this your go-to guide for nabbing a great spot on Memorial Day and other long weekends.

RECOMMENDED: Get outdoors in NYC

Grilling 101

1. All parks prohibit open fires, ground fires and propane.
2. Keep grills at least ten feet away from trees and overhead branches.
3. Parties of 20 or more in city parks must obtain a special-events permit for $25 (processing takes approximately one month) (Manhattan: 212-408-0226; Brooklyn: 718-965-8912; Queens: 718-393-7272; nyceventpermits.nyc.gov/parks).
4. Dispose of coals in the marked drums, or extinguish with water and wrap in foil before putting in a nearby Dumpster.

Manhattan parks with barbecuing areas

For permits and other information, call 212-408-0226 or visit nycgovparks.org

Riverside Park

  • Critics choice
  • Free

One of Manhattan’s more scenic areas, this four-mile stretch of waterfront has perhaps the city’s most idyllic grilling hangout. Cookouts are permitted anywhere north of West 145th Street, affording you and your friends plenty of room to spread out. And you’ll need your pals to help lug the equipment; it’s BYOG (bring your own grill).

  1. North of W 145th St on the Hudson River. Enter at Riverside Dr and W 145th St
More info

East River Park

  • Free

The six grills and picnic tables at this barbecue spot are in high demand, and for good reason. The park provides panoramic views of Brooklyn and a riverfront promenade perfect for walking off those calories. Don’t just show up and expect to nab a spot, however: You need a permit no matter the group size, so be sure to book your party early. Enter at FDR Dr and E 10th St

  1. Enter at FDR Dr and 10th St
More info

Morningside Park

  • Free

Past the masonry wall and down the stairs lies a tucked-away world of winding, flower-lined pathways that you would normally encounter in a storybook. Since you'll have to BYOG (bring your own grill) to this party, you might want to delegate the sausages to someone else.

  1. Enter at Morningside Ave at W 121st St
More info

Thomas Jefferson Park

  • Free

It's only a few blocks long, but they've packed this park with features: It has a swimming pool, a large playgrounds, full recreation center and picnic area to boot. Again, you need to provide your own grill (though there are some on site) so bring a few friends to help you carry it all. If there are enough of you, you might even work your meal off with a soccer game afterward.

  1. First Ave, (between 111th and 114th Sts)
More info


  1. Manhattan
  2. Brooklyn
  3. Queens
  4. Bronx
  5. Staten Island

Users say

5 comments
pam f
pam f

I live in NYC Housing , can we as residents BBQ on housing premises on onl major Holidays or is it not allow

lisalaflaca
lisalaflaca

I really don't think it's fair that the only place you can enjoy a family BBQ is north of 145 street what happenedto the family that live below 145st... that rule really sucks and its not fair..

Riverside Park
Riverside Park

LaBelleVie- it is Riverside park that they are referring to. Riverbank state park has an entry at 145th street and goes downtown to 137th street while Riverside park is the park that starts at 145th street and goes uptown. ( you can get to Riverside park via Riverbank park by taking some stairs down)http://www.nycgovparks.org/facilities/barbecue

LaBelleVie
LaBelleVie

it is called riverbank state park not riverside. check the facts.

zeke3572003
zeke3572003

great info however, the parks and recreations website states "May I hold my event on a major holiday weekend (Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Labor Day)? No, we are not able to issue permits for major holiday weekends, as we keep spaces clear for public use on a first-come, first-served basis on those days."