Ask The Producer: Shooting in Central Park


I'm looking for some advice on a shoot we'd like to do in Central Park.  It would be a 2 day shoot with both days taking place in the park, full days.  The locations we’re anticipating are a basic park bench in a nice open area, one of the cafes, and the carousel.  It wouldn’t be a HUGE crew, but it would be pretty standard size, say 25-30 folks.  

The permissions process outlined on the website seems to be pretty straight forward, in terms of submitting an application, making a donation, etc.  The insight I’m hoping you can lend is how quickly we could expect to get through the permissions process, the level of donation you think would be appropriate, whether a higher donation gets a quicker result, etc.  Plus just any tips you have.  


Central Park is always a highly requested location, so the biggest piece of advice is get your request in to the park as soon as possible!

$1,250-$1750 for donation per day for a pharmaceutical commercial print shoot. If this were an editorial client, or video, this would warrant a different donation amount.

NOTHING facilitates a quicker permission, but with the new staff turnover this year, they have been more responsive. Expect a response within 2 days, after which you will need a NYC permit as well. Plan on getting park approval no later than 3 days before the shoot day, as you also need that NYC city permit. Also - you can't get a NYC permit without the Park approval first. 

By the way - you may think this is complicated, but keep in mind that Prospect Park in Brooklyn can prove even trickier! You're less likely to get a response, the demands are greater. Overall, more of a production pain to deal with.  


The carousel is actually operated by Donald Trump and they charge a lot - plan on a range of $5-10K depending on hours and if they have a party booked, etc.

Cafe in Park:

The chain cafe Le Pain Quotidien is privately owned and I would suggest dealing with them directly. Their cost is TBD as I have not shot with them before. 

Might be best (cheapest and least restrictive) to allocate the gated area over the ice skating rink - which is paved and with a pavilion & can be propped out as a cafe with tables & chairs. Quick fix!

Photos by Adrian Alston