View Full Version : Any experiences using a BBQ grill in NYC?

November 3rd, 2006, 03:43 PM
Specifically, Manhattan?

I'm a real estate agent and one of my clients wants to be able to grill on his new terrace . . . has anyone done this?

I spoke to a lawyer who told me the use and transport of propane tanks is illegal in NYC, but I think charcoal grills might be okay. FDNY just says go ten feet from the building and be near a water source.

Obviously, I'll have to check with each individual building's board but any anecdotes about buildings that allow grills will strengthen my hand.

ali r.
{downtown agent}

November 3rd, 2006, 04:03 PM
Propane is out.

Balconies are not large enough to meet code.

A terrace has to be large enough so that the grill is 10 feet from any combustible material. I don't know if there is a requirement for how far from the edge of an elevated terrace the grill must be.

NY Times archives:

Rules on Outdoor Cooking Question: I live in a new condominium building and we do not yet have rules concerning outdoor grilling. Some of the residents want to use terraces or patios for cooking. Are there any fire codes or air-quality rules in New York City that ban the use of gas, charcoal or electric grills? . . . Andrew Ertman, Manhattan.

Answer: Yes. Although smoke emitted from family-sized barbecue equipment is specifically excluded from the Department of Environmental Protection's air-quality rules, which regulate other types of smoke emissions, the Fire Department's rules for outdoor cooking make the use of charcoal, electric or gas grills on most apartment building balconies illegal.

The fire laws ban outdoor cooking within 10 feet of any combustible material. This would include furnishings inside an apartment, such as carpeting, curtains and furniture, as well as any windows or doors that are not fire rated. Most balconies in multifamily buildings in the city are not large enough to meet the legal requirements for outdoor cooking.

The law also requires anyone cooking outside to have at hand the implements for dealing with a fire, such as a garden hose hooked to a water supply or a fire extinguisher.

The use of propane gas would probably not be possible because the fire code says that propane cylinders of greater than one-pound capacity cannot be brought into any building.

For more information consult the Fire Department's Bureau of Fire Prevention at (718) 403-1403.

November 3rd, 2006, 05:45 PM
Thanks Zippy.

Sounds like if you stand in the middle of a 25-by-25-foot terrace with a charcoal grill and a hose, you're okay as far as the Fire Dept. is concerned.

Would still love to hear from anyone who has actually done this.

ali r.

November 3rd, 2006, 10:00 PM
In the good old days I used to grill on the roof of a building downtown between Chinatown & Little Italy all the time.

Back then on the 4th of July fireworks would erupt from all sides -- Chinese and Italian ... big arcs of light from all sides as we stretched out on the roof and enjoyed our feast ...

mmmmmm ... burgers and dogs and peppers and corn and chicken and ribs and smores :)

But those days are OVER.

Giuliani and Bloomberg have seen to it that new rules are on the books to stop such bad behavior (granted lots of folks probably did get hurt from both BBQ fires & fireworks -- but luckily I never had such an occurance).

As far as actual enforcement of BBQ regulations goes -- I have no idea. But chances are if you try then your neighbor will narc you out (who wants that nasty fire starter smell wafting in their windows?).

November 4th, 2006, 06:34 PM
I remember friends in East Harlem who used to have us to rooftop BBQs every year.

But this isn't for the likes of me or my friends, this is for clients, who, remember, are always right.

Clearly some new grills are ok: penthouse at 92 Warren has a gas grill on the floorplan, and Highline 519 (still building) told us they'd put in an "outdoor kitchen" on the penthouse roof terrace level.

But I'm still trying to figure out if it's a viable alternative to get an older penthouse space with a roof terrace and just plunk a grill onto it. Would certainly save my clients some $$$.

Your point about making sure the neighbors don't howl is a good one.

ali r.
downtown broker.

November 6th, 2006, 09:09 AM
Your point about making sure the neighbors don't howl is a good one.Invite the neighbors.

November 6th, 2006, 09:12 AM
Within 10' of combustable material?

It is like requiring an on-deck ventalation system (exhaust hood) for any BBQ on any deck! It is a given that no building in NYC will have a deck that is THAT big!

Also, what, if you have a bigger deck yuo have to keep your lawn chairs 10' away?

I understand safety, but if they are going to do something, they should have just banned outright. It is like outlawing the use of wheels but not bicycles on a path! Just grow some bawlz and write the law you intended!

November 6th, 2006, 09:58 AM
Within 10' of combustable material?

It is a given that no building in NYC will have a deck that is THAT big!

Actually, lots do if you're willing to kick up into the $5 million range: either terraces or access to all or part of a building's roof. The point about the lawn chairs is certainly a good one, though.

ali r.
{downtown broker}

October 11th, 2010, 04:35 PM
I have some guy, probably a bum, cooking using BBQ grill just outside my window on the first floor of the apartment building in Brooklyn, New York. My window goes outside between two apartment building. I have to close window shut to avoid smell from the smoke his BBQ grill is making. This is second time in 2 months now. Is it legal? Who should I contact if this continues? Looks like my super doesn't even care.