The New York Parks that Require You to Pay Money to Stargaze
Do New York parks require you to pay money for stargazing? Some do, yes!
It's true, in 2020, six public parks in New York began requiring you to have a permit if you want to come to the park "after hours" to enjoy some nighttime stargazing.
While there are plenty of amazing spots throughout New York State to gaze up at the stars, areas with higher levels of pollution make it more difficult to see the stars, so people convene in lesser populated areas.
"Our beautiful night sky is disappearing. Not many years ago Long Island had some of the prettiest night skies, now our suburban skies resemble those of New York City." -AOSNY.org
As a result, in certain parks, New York State started to charge people for a "stargazing permit" which costs a $35 NYS resident fee and a $60 non-NYS resident fee with a valid motor vehicle license and registration.
How do I get a permit?
New York Stargazing permits can be purchased online and are delivered by mail, by visiting the Long Island Stargazing Dashboard Permit page.
The online application requires you to first sign in or sign up and according to the website, permits purchased online typically take a couple of weeks to receive in the mail.
Stay in your car
With your Stargazing permit, you may bring your binoculars, a telescope, star maps, etc. but you must remain near your vehicle.
Where can I use the permits?
There are 6 designated areas inside these downstate parks near Long Island where you'll need a permit:
Robert Moses: Field 2
Jones Beach: West End 2 and Field 6
Sunken Meadow: Fields 1 and 2
Montauk Point: Upper Parking Lot
Wildwood: Main Parking Lot
Hither Hills: Not valid July & August
When can I purchase a permit?
You may purchase the permit from December 5, 2022, through March 31st, 2023, so if you don't have a permit for this season, you'll have to gaze somewhere else.
Permits are not sold from April 1st through Labor Day.