The process, apparently, is fairly simple. "They paid the standard $25 application fee for special events," said Parks Department spokesman Phil Abramson. "The permit covered the central plaza from 11:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Any other group is welcome to hold similar events. All they need to do is fill out a special event application on our web site at least three weeks in advance of the event and pay the $25 fee."
Permittees are responsible for clean-up and insurance, which obviously cost more, and must get a police permit for amplified sound. We can assume Forest City Ratner spent a lot more on staff, food, music, and more.
(Photo of participants during the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Tracy Collins.)
Borough Hall steps
And what about using the steps of Borough Hall? "The application filed with us didn’t specifically include the steps," Abramson said. "We permit the plaza and the Borough President’s office can OK activities on the steps."
As for using Borough Hall, Mark Zustovich, a spokesman for the Borough President's office, told me, "There is no paperwork or fee associated with use of the steps… except in the case of a motion picture/television production. When there is no Borough Hall event scheduled on the steps, groups with Parks permits often also use the steps."