Barbecuing in the Park
Where can I Barbecue?
There are two locations where you can BBQ in Van Cortlandt Park:
- Shandler Recreation Area, off Jerome Avenue
- The lawn behind the Van Cortlandt Nature Center, temporarily (while the permanent BBQ area next to the pool is being upgraded) off Broadway & Manhattan College Parkway.
Do I need a permit to BBQ?
Any BBQ that will have more than 20 attendees requires a permit. You can apply for a Special Event permit here: https://nyceventpermits.nyc.gov/Parks/
What are the BBQ rules?
Please be cautious when barbecuing and keep a safe distance from patrons, children, and trees. Be courteous to others and please clean the area carefully before you leave. Our rules prohibit:
- Barbecuing in non-authorized areas
- Barbecuing next to trees, tree roots, or buildings. Please keep ten feet or more away from any structures.
- Any type of open ground or camp fire. Please barbecue at least three feet off the ground.
- Barbecuing by anyone 18 years or younger
All coal and matches must be disposed of in designated hot coal barrels. Please do not place anything flammable in a regular litter barrel. Use water to extinguish hot coals. Improperly dumped coals or matches can do major damage to our parks.
Where are the bathrooms in the park?
- Shandler Barbeque Area: Jerome Avenue, south of 233rd Street*
- Classic Playground: Van Cortlandt Park South & Gouverneur Avenue
- Indian Field: Van Cortlandt Park East, north of 233rd Street
- Mosholu Golf House
- Nature Center: West 239th Street, east of Van Cortlandt House Museum
- Park Headquarters: West 243rd Street & Broadway
- Pool Building: West 242nd Street & Broadway (only when pool is open for the season)
- Rockwood Drive/Mosholu Avenue extension, beyond stables
- Sachkerah Woods Playground: Jerome Avenue & East Gun Hill Road
- Van Cortlandt Golf House
- Van Cortlandt Stadium: West 241st Street & Broadway
- Woodlawn Playground: West 239th Street & Van Cortlandt East
Cross Country Course
How long is the Cross Country Course?
How long is the entire loop if you ran/walked the Cross Country including the flats around the Parade Ground?
Approximately 5 miles
Does my dog need to be on a leash?
Yes, dogs need to be on leashes at all times in Van Cortlandt Park unless they are in a dog run.
Where are the dog runs?
There are 3 dog runs in Van Cortlandt Park:
- Canine Court: Broadway & 252nd Street
- Dog Bone Run: Gates Place & West Gun Hill Road
- Oneida Run: Oneida Avenue & Van Cortlandt Park East
Why hasn’t Parks cut the grass in the dog run?
Dog runs are built with the understanding that the local user group will maintain the dog run. Parks does not maintain dog runs. If you’d like to volunteer at your dog run, please contact email@example.com.
What is the green growth on the surface of the lake?
Van Cortlandt Lake is a eutrophic system, meaning that it contains high nutrients mainly as a result of urbanization. During the summer months, plant and green algae growth can escalate due to high nutrients and water temperatures. Filamentous green algae, several native species of duckweed and water ferns are some of the plant and algae growth that can be found on the surface of the lake. Currently the lake also contains the non-native invasive water chestnut (Trapa natans) that grows during the summer months. We have been removing water chestnut to improve the health of the lake.
Does the lake have harmful algae blooms?
No, we have not had cyanobacteria blooms on Van Cortlandt Lake in recent history. We monitor on a regular basis and would post proper signage if a harmful algae bloom occurs.
Can I fish in Van Cortlandt Lake?
Yes, fishing is permitted in Van Cortlandt Lake but it is catch and release only. Adults 16 years and older are required by New York State law to have a valid fishing license. For more information on obtaining a fishing license: https://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/6091.html
Can I take my boat out into Van Cortlandt Lake?
No, personal boats are not allowed on Van Cortlandt Lake. Occasionally, local boat groups host special events and allow the public to use their row boats and /or canoes for free. Please check out our calendar for upcoming events.
How long is the running track around the Parade Ground?
The running track around the Parade Ground is 1.5 miles.
How many acres is the Parade Ground?
The entire Parade Ground is 66 acres.
What does it mean if a field has a red flag on it?
A red flag on a field means that it is currently closed for play. For more information call The Parade Ground hotline at 718-430-1862 which is updated on a daily basis during the active permit season to inform the public of the status of the fields regarding openings and closures due to weather or other issues.
Are there any special rules for the Parade Ground?
In addition to the general Park Rules, the following are prohibited on the Parade Ground:
- Drones and model planes;
- Tackle football, rugby, golf and studded cleats;
- Tents and umbrellas unless authorized in writing by NYC Parks, and
Is there any free parking in the Park?
Park users may park in the following lots:
- Allen Shandler Parking Lot: closes at 7:00 p.m.
- Riverdale Riding Stables: closes at 10:00 p.m.
- Van Cortlandt Golf House Parking Lot: closes at 7:00 p.m. The first lot as you enter on your left is the free parking lot. The Van Cortlandt Golf House is allowed to charge for parking in the lots closer to the Golf House.
What are the general park rules?
While in Van Cortlandt Park, you are prohibited from:
- Glass containers
- Barbecuing except in designated areas
- Open flame
- Consumption of alcohol
- Dogs off leash
- Amplified sound, except by permit
- Vending, except as allowed by permit
- Posting signs unless authorized in writing by Parks
- Motor vehicles without specific authorization
What are the rules for sporting fields?
Please follow all of the general park rules above plus:
- Fields / courts may be reserved by obtaining a permit at https://www.nycgovparks.org/permits/field-and-court/request
- Teams with valid permits have priority at all times. If you have a permit, please bring it with you.
- Field / court users are subject to all Parks rules. Violation of these rules can result in cancellation of permits and/or denial of future permits.
- Red flags indicate the grass field is closed.
- Do not use the grass field when wet.
- Do not use the field / court when closed for maintenance.
Van Cortlandt Park Administrator’s Office: 718-430-1890
Mosholu Golf Center: 718-665-9164
Parks Enforcement Patrol: 718-430-1815
Permits- Special Events: 718-430-1890
Permits- Sports: 718-430-1840
Riverdale Stables: 718-548-4848
Urban Park Rangers: 718-548-0912
Van Cortlandt House Museum: 718-543-3344
Van Cortlandt Golf Course: 718-543-4595
Parade Ground Hotline: 718-430-1862
Events and General Information: 311
Do I need a permit for my birthday party, baby shower, family picnic, etc.?
If you have more than 20 people participating in your event, yes, you need a Special Event permit. You can apply for a Special Event permit here: https://nyceventpermits.nyc.gov/Parks/
Do I need a permit to use one of the athletic fields?
Sports leagues are required to have permits and can apply for a permit here:
Can I get a permit for this weekend?
It takes us time to have the request reviewed and approved by the appropriate people so please apply 30 days in advance of the event.
How much does it cost to get a permit?
It costs $25 to apply for a Special Event permit.
What time does the pool open / close?
During pool season, the pool is open from 11am – 3pm and 4pm – 7pm. (We clean the pool from 3pm – 4pm.)
What time of the year is the pool open?
The pool typically opens after the last day of school and closes shortly after Labor Day. Visit NYC Park’s VCP Pool page (https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/VanCortlandtPark/facilities/outdoor-pools/van-cortlandt-pool) for more information.
What does it cost to use the pool?
It’s free! You’ll need to have a swimsuit to enter the pool area. We require that you bring a lock to secure your belongings.
How can I volunteer in Van Cortlandt Park?
The Van Cortlandt Park Alliance has volunteer opportunities for both individuals and groups. Our volunteers work on various projects including park beautification, gardening, trail restoration and natural area restoration. For more information please visit our Community Stewardship page.