Feb 01, 2020 I Paul Seaburn

New York Now Requires a Permit to Look for UFOs, Meteors and Stars

If you’re someone who watches for UFOs (and who isn’t these days), you may want to avoid doing it in the state of New York. The Empire State isn’t prone to abductions (at least, not of the alien kind) but it is prone to requiring permits for everything (ask any New York street vendor) and now it’s requiring permits for spotting UFOs. Before you ask … we are NOT making this up!

Fee of $35.00, $60-Out of State – Vehicle Registration and Driver’s License Required
Permit allows after sunset parking for stargazing only, valid January 1 - December 31 at:
Hither Hills - Except July & August
Jones Beach - West End 2 and Field 6
Montauk Point – Upper Parking Lot
Robert Moses - Field 2
Gov. Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow - Field 1 & Field 3
Wildwood – Main Parking Lot
Sold at: Babylon Headquarters-Permit Office (beginning January 2nd), Jones Beach, Montauk Downs,
Robert Moses, Governor Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow and Wildwood
Stargazing Permits are only sold January 1 – March 31 and the Tuesday after Labor Day -
December 31.

Obviously, you don’t want to tell the park ranger you don’t need a permit because you’re UFO spotting, not stargazing. Both involve looking up at the night sky, which seems to be the logical issue here. The permit from the Park, Recreation and Historic Preservation Department is obviously designed to cut down on night traffic in some popular parks on Long Island, although it’s not for ‘driving’ but for ‘stargazing’, so it affects those who walk, Uber or take public transportation too. It also doesn’t say of the permit is for one vehicle or one person. Oh, and before you ask … yes, these are public parks paid for with your (if you’re a New Yorker) tax dollars.

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You have the right to remain silent ...

There are so many questions, it’s hard to pick a place to start. Why charge out-of-staters extra? Do stargazers and UFO spotters from New Jersey litter more than New Yorkers? Why does it require a driver’s license? That seems to be discriminatory against those without licenses for whatever reason. What do those license go towards? Will the park use them to remove curbs, logs, boulders and other obstructions so stargazers and UFO watchers don’t trip while not looking where they’re walking? Some cities are doing this for walking cellphone users … why not make THEM get a permit first? They definitely outnumber stargazers and UFO watchers. How soon before this gets applied to other New York parks? Public streets? Rooftops of government housing?

There’s more. How will a park ranger decide if a person who face is turned towards the night sky is looking at stars or bats or UFOs or something else? Isn’t this unfair to the person on the bottom of a couple having traditional missionary sex on the grass? Will displaying the permit allow them to have traditional missionary sex without being bothered if one (or if they’re kinky, both) are facing skyward?

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Crowd surfer or illegal UFO spotter?

Is this fair? Is this American? Is this extortion? Is this New York gouging its citizens and tourists again?

Neil deGrasse Tyson
No. Back in the day, you didn’t need permission to look up at the sky

This is not a left or right issue – the permit fees will be collected no matter who is in office. If you live in New York, contact Governor Cuomo’s office and voice your concerns. If you plan to visit New York, be careful where you look up. If you get stopped, tell the ranger you have a stiff neck. If he asks for a doctor’s note … welcome to New York. You’re screwed.

The skies are free. Looking for stars, UFOs or whatever you seek in the heavens is a right. Keep your heads up!

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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