Tag Archives: outdoor events

Outdoor Film Screenings

Summer in NYC is a hot, sticky time full of free outdoor events. There are yoga classes, bubble wars, wandering Shakespeare, Shakespeare in a Parking Lot, countless concerts of all musical varieties and, my favorite part of the summer- outdoor film screenings! There’s something about sitting on the grass, eating picnic food and watching a movie that makes me positively glowy. I suppose it’s because I love the group experience of seeing a movie with hundreds of strangers, but I hate paying the $12.50 to do so in a theater. The outdoor film screening gives NYC back its raucous movie going adventures. The New York Parks Dept. has a pretty exhaustive list of the screenings happening this summer, but I’d like to spotlight the ones I think are particularly exciting!

The Bryant Park film series is one of the best known and therefore one of the most crowded. You need to get there when the lawn opens (5pm) and be prepared to use all your New Yorker bitchiness to get a spot. This year they’ve saved the best movie for last: Bonnie and Clyde on Monday Aug. 23rd. Watch this trailer and consider if watching in a group is worth the hassle for you.

The only really exciting film (for me at least) at Summerscreen this summer is the Labyrinth. God I love David Bowie. Sigh. Lucky for you the screening was postponed by rain and will be happening Aug. 18th, so you still have time to figure out what to wear when on hipster home turf!

On Wed. July 21st take a trip up to Van Cortland Park in the Bronx for a screening of one of the most romantic movies ever released- Casablanca. You and your significant other will be so wrapped up in the romance you’ll almost forget how long it will take you to get home.

The Summer on the Hudson film screenings on Pier 1 in Riverside Park South offer a lovely view of the water and free chairs (if you show up early enough). My two picks are Big Fish on Aug. 4th and Stranger than Fiction on Aug. 11th. Here’s the trailer for the latter; imagine watching it with the Hudson River in the background (sigh, I love summer in NYC).

The Rooftop Film Noir Screenings are new (at least to me) this summer. I find the idea of watching film noir from a rooftop in the W. Village extremely compelling. My pick is Sunset Boulevard on July 22nd.

Hudson River Park’s River Flicks provide cool breezes off the water as well as free popcorn! There’s only one film in the lineup I’d want to see this summer- Julie and Julia (Aug 4th). I’ve already seen it and I can assure you it’s nice light summery fare but be sure to bring a substantial picnic- all the cooking will make you hungry!

Also new to me this summer is the Red Hook Summer Movies festival. From their website it looks like the view behind the screen will be phenomenal- Lady Liberty is the guest star of every film! The films are mostly new to me as well so I can’t give any solid recommendations, though Splash looks ridiculous enough to be fun:

I’m not too keen on any of the movies screening at Socrates Sculpture Park in July, but the August schedule isn’t up yet so you should definitely check the site again later this month to see what comes up!

Rooftop Films, though generally not free, is one of my favorite summer institutions. The screenings take place in a variety of locations, not all on rooftops. My favorite venue by far is the Old American Can Factory, so if one of the screenings happening there appeals to you definitely go! I generally favor the programs of short films. July 21st they’re showing a program of Swedish short films, which I might skip were it not that I’ve seen one of the films (INSTEAD OF ABRACADABRA) and it was marvelous! I would also strongly recommend Animation Block Party (July 30th)- a wonderful night of animated shorts that I’ve attended 2 years running.

Last but certainly not least, my all time favorite venue for film screenings- Brooklyn Bridge Park. There is nothing more magical than sitting between the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges watching a wonderful film with your friends. It is a truly New York experience. The film selection this year isn’t that great but I would say The Blues Brothers on Aug. 19th is the best of the bunch.

Happy watching!!

June 26-28 Hope for sunshine!

First of all I’d like to remind you that I’ve posted some excellent events for tonight, including the event I’ll be attending- the Raspberry Brothers’ Top Gun show. If you come out be sure to introduce yourself to the ringleader (Jerm) and tell him you found out about them through TheBigRedApple; he’ll point you my way and possibly buy you a beer after the show.

Tomorrow night please join me in petitioning the weather gods for sunshine (rain dance anyone?). If it doesn’t rain you can partake of a free open bar on the rooftop of the Empire Hotel, courtesy of Citybartenders.com. Here’s the invite; be sure to RSVP!

The New York City Opera will be performing outside Friday and Saturday nights (cross your fingers). Friday night is La Navarraise:

Massenet’s rarely performed La Navarraise is a turbulent love story unfolding against the backdrop of civil war in Spain.  This work, which is often compared to Leoncavallo’s Cavalleria rusticana, showcases Massenet at his lyrical best.  La Navarraise is set in two short acts with an intermezzo for a total running time of 50 minutes.

and Saturday is

a concert program of beloved arias, duets and overtures that have become part of American popular culture.  Featuring popular melodies from Puccini, Rossini and Verdi.

Hearing these performers sing outdoors is a unique and powerful experience; don’t miss this chance for free opera!

La Navarraise

La Navarraise

This is the last weekend to see Paved Paradise Redux: The Art of Joni Mitchell at The Abrons Arts Center Henry Street Settlement. John Kelly’s interpretation of Joni Mitchell is both “haunting and hilarious.” This is the sort of tribute that is worth seeing on its own merits.

Paved Paradise Redux The Art of Joni Mitchell

Paved Paradise Redux The Art of Joni Mitchell

This is also the last weekend to see a dance performance in a public bathroom. Yes, I said a dance performance in a public bathroom. Only in New York, right? Well, Dark Horse/Black Forest is certainly an interesting piece and it’s performed in the lobby bathroom of the Gershwin Hotel.

It’s an intense love story presented in the most intimate of spaces: the bathroom. It’s dance. It’s art. It’s interior design.

Dark Horse/Black Forest

Dark Horse/Black Forest

On Saturday there are a number of great events to choose from. B is a fan of Dr. Dog, who is performing at the Prospect Park Bandshell as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn! summer concert series. Check out this video for a taste of their brand of psychedelic madness:

If that’s not your thing you may want to check out What’s On Your Plate?, an outdoor screening/foodie event that’s part of the BAMcinemaFEST:

You’ve read Omnivore’s Dilemma and Fast Food Nation and you try to buy local and organic produce at your neighborhood farmer’s market. But do you really know how what you’re eating ended up on your table? Through the eyes of two intelligent and inquisitive eleven-year-old girls from New York City, we follow the many paths, the conflicting economics, and the disparate decision makers who all play a part in what we eat. Ideal for families to watch together, the film presents a variety of perspectives on how food reaches our urban community and its associated challenges. An introduction by the filmmakers will precede the screening. Presented in conjunction with The Afro-Punk Festival.

ALSO on Saturday you have another chance to see Black Taxi, performing this time at Pianos (G and I will be there!). I’ve written about them before; check out this post to see a video of their single ‘Wanted.’

On Sunday there’s a fantastic foodie event- The Unfancy Food Show. Brooklyn Based has all the details; let me just say this will be finger lickin’ good!

Unfancy Food Show

Sunday is your last chance to see acrobats on a boat! The Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge have earned well-deserved praise for this unique entertainment venture; check it out!


Also on Sunday, there are 4 programs of short films screening at the BAM Rose Cinema; I’m particularly drawn to the animated shorts.

BAM Animated Shorts Program

BAM Animated Shorts Program

Have a great weekend and stay tuned for additions!