Front yard grilling etiquette


    Greetings all. I live in an apartment in Carroll Gardens — one with a deep front yard. With the weather finally turning and with no direct access to either the backyard or the roof — I’m looking for some guidance on front yard grilling etiquette. I can’t recall ever seeing anyone doing this on my block however with so much front yard space and so little grilling options I’m wondering if this is kosher. I’d be using a smallish weber charcoal grill. I’m even willing to share with neighbors to buy some good will!

    26 Replies

    1. I think as long as they do veggie burgers and tofu doggies and be sure to use that chimney coal lighter thingy . . .


    2. Rajin,

      Only difference, I think the gated communities let you f’ing BBQ.

      Too high on the fun-o-meter and nix; someone doesn’t like it.

      victim, victim, who is gonna kick ’em?

    3. Sounds like some of you people should move to a gated community in Arizona and put up wooden privacy fences and seal your windows shut so smoke doesn’t get in your eyes.


      If I owned a building with limited or now back space and a front “yard” that deep and it was within the law, you’d bet your ass I’d be grilling out there. And if anybody wanted to pretend to be in some sort of fake home owners association and tell me that “it’s not allowed,” I’d politely invite them to go jump in the Gowanus.

    4. No, it’s not ok. If you don’t have access to the back yard, no grilling for you except at ta public park, where permitted.

    5. Do it! There’s really nothing better than BBQ. You can grill in my yard. Come on over.

    6. I was in your shoes several years ago on Monroe Place in Brooklyn Heights. Decided to go for it but used a small gas grill to limit the charcoal smell. It worked great when I grilled low fat meats like chicken, but when there were burgers on you could see the noxious smoke cloud all the way down the block. Nonetheless, never had a problem with the neighbors as I only did it about 1x/month and offered beers to any neighbors who popped by the check out what was going on. I say try it and gauge the reaction.

    7. mopar, i was thinking the same thing! it’s cute that the OP cares enough to ask, but can you imagine the looks on the faces of our neighbors if somebody said to them “did you ask your neighbors if it was okay to grill out here?” 😀

      it’s way easier to ask forgiveness than seek permission right? life is too short to sit around and worry about theoretical worrywarts who are grimly sitting indoors on a nice day, looking for something to whine about (and yes, sometimes it annoys me too).

    8. Why not just try it and see what reaction you get? If your neighbors are seemingly racist, certainly nimfys like jfss, then it should be quite a ‘fun’ experience.

    9. why not just ask your next door neighbors if they mind?
      i think as long as it’s not going on all day all night and
      your respectful about it. People in CG use their front
      yards for socializing plenty.

    10. This is hilarious. With the good weather, pretty much every family in Bushwick has been living on their stoop all weekend, grilling, the kids on scooters running back and forth in front of the house, and speakers blasting music out the window. This is the New York way. People do a lot of stoop sitting in Carroll Gardens too. Check President St. near the BQE if you want to see some grilling. The six families without back yards are more likely. It’s nicer to do it in the front where it won’t go in people’s windows than in the back yard where it will anyway.

    11. I was maybe a little snarky yesterday. A little. Basically, there’s privacy, yes, but there’s also general tidiness. But also there is no accounting for some people.

      My aunt lives in a subdivision that has rules against hanging laundry in your backyard, or in your garage if you leave the door open.
      My roommate in college was always fixing cars on the lawn. The neighbors were not fans of this practice at all.

      I can appreciate the neighbors who hated Steve’s Cadillac dissembly, but do not understand the laundry thing at all. Aunt lives in the dessert, even. So you have to use a dryer even though your clothes will dry in seconds on the line. That is offensive to me.

    12. zuffy: if you don’t like the guys grilling in frontyard and if the guys look like would not listen to your asking them nicely. I would go with plan (b): call 311 and report a grill which is too close to the structure. Firemen will arrive and write them a ticket. firemen proly will not even get out of the truck: it is right there next to the road.

    13. Thanks all for your comments. As per my initial leaning we probably won’t be grilling in our front yard. However as I type on this 80+ degree day I smell charcoal from two neighboring backyards — is it annoying? Mildly. If anyone here wants to take a stab explaining the difference (real or perceived) between front and backyard laws and or etiquette regarding this issue, I’m all ears. The only difference I see is that backyard activities afford some privacy.

    14. I don’t live in CG but live in Bensonhurst. I was pretty pissed off last year when a few houses down from us decided to grill in their front porch. Worse of all, all of us have an awning in our porch. The smoke would travel sideway instead of up. By the time I realized the morons was grilling in the front, the smell of charcoal was got into my house already. They have a backyard, I don’t understand why they didn’t grill there instead.

    15. ando, Brklyndave specifically asked about what the “etiquette” was and we answered him — do you understand the definition of the word?. People in CG sit outside on their stoops and talk to their neighbors all the time, but they don’t grill there. We’re answering his question — if he doesn’t care about etiquette he can certainly go ahead and grill, but then why did he even bother to ask the question?

    16. Hey Brklyndave, I say screw them all. Every person on here who says otherwise is a TOOL.

    17. I think you got your answer. Some people think that grilling in the front yard is “Washington Heights,” which I think was meant as a synonym for “Dominican” which I think was meant as a synonym for “crass.” And yes: some of your neighbors agree. Grilling in the front yard is “not done,” this isn’t *that* kind of neighborhood.

      Other people grill in their front yards and sit on their stoops and talk to their neighbors. Some people straddle these camps.

      The only way to find out is to go for it.

      Search these forums for some background on open container laws, though. The story seems to be that as long as there’s a fence around you, you don’t have an open container. But if your stoop is un-gated and open to the street, technically, you are drinking “in public,” which the NYPD does frown upon.

      And, my final advice and neighborly request as a fellow breather of air around this town … learn to build your BBQ fire without lighter fluid. You can buy a “chimney” that will facilitate this. Newspaper and kindling below, coals on top, and you get your fire going that way. Far less damaging to air quality.

    18. I heard a story of some Carroll Gardens newcomers thinking it might be fun to grill in the front yard and doing so. They got a visit from some gentlemen who lived on the block who told them front yard grilling wasn’t done – this was more than a decade ago. I think there’s a reason that you never see anyone barbecuing in their deep front yards — it was never considered appropriate behavior (except during block parties, when I’ve still seen it done). It’s possible things have changed, but my guess is many of your neighbors won’t like it, even if you share your food. After all, they could be grilling in their own front yards, but they aren’t doing it. People do grill in their backyards all the time in the neighborhood, however.

    19. 10 feet? – nobody keeps this distance IMHO. At least on our block. I do not see or smell grilling that often but it happens from time to time. And when it happens the distance is less then 10 feet from the closest building. Heck, it is often less then 10 feet from neighbor’s building.

      We do not have grill in our backyard – park is very close. But we bought small chiminea (sp?) We did not use it yet and not sure if it legal to use it in Brooklyn backyard. There is nothing on government website.

    20. Clearly SenatorStreet is an ignorant know-it-all, unfamiliar with CG if he thinks the neighbors would go for it. Senator, perhaps your intolerance for other opinions is the source of your problem. I guess they didn’t teach you any manners in that small town you’re from.

    21. ignore jfss. He probably has no idea of the size of the front yards in carroll gardens. Keep it small and not a regular thing and offer some to neighbors who are out and about.

    22. Just what I wanted. Your grill smoke coming in my front windows. You sure would not be doing it in my front yard.

      It’s tacky. Very Washington Heights. Presumably you live in CG because you like the atmosphere and, as you said, you don’t see anyone else doing it.

    23. I’d like to take a stab at this with some theoretical solutions.

      The biggest concern you should worry about when hosting a party or bbq is not to be a nuisance to your neighbors be it the front or backyard. The number one culprit is being too loud. Music too loud, your guest are too loud, hell even your clothing better not to be too loud lest you want to call down the wrath of disgruntled neighbors.

      Timing is also an issue. Saturday afternoons are preferable to sunday nights. Holiday weekends are your best bet.

      And here’s a biggie; keep it tasteful and small. No huge keger parties or raves. Six people tops with low playing music.

      I commend you on already knowing to use a small grill. Bellowing smoke may put off your neighbors if you’re grilling for hours on end or bbq’ing a pig in a huge smoker.

      I live in Carroll Gardens too so I’ll be sure to bring a plate.