Tag Archives: Socrates Sculpture Park

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!!

August 5-9 Summer in the city…

In August many New Yorkers flee their hometown to escape the sticky heat and herds of tourists; this August make your friends in the Catskills green with envy when you tell them about all the shenanigans you got up to in The Big Apple while they were swatting mosquitoes! This week has lots of jealousy worthy events in store!

This evening, if it doesn’t rain, The Asphalt Orchestra will be performing as part of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival:

An iconoclastic 12-piece marching band conceived by Bang on a Can premieres ambitious processional music from every corner of the music world, works that coax funk from the funereal and would make a halftime show sparkle with sophistication. Choreographer Susan Marshall weds parade spectacle to new pieces by Tyondai Braxton (of Battles), Goran Bregovic, and Stew and Heidi Rodewald, and arrangements of songs by Björk, Meshuggah, Mingus, Nancarrow, and Zappa.

If it rains they’ll be performing throughout August so you’ll have more chances to experience this funky version of a marching band.

Also at the whim of the weather gods, Waltz with Bashir may be screening in Socrates Sculpture Park this evening; for an audience numbed to the violence shown on the news this animated film is somehow more real than a traditional documentary. Here’s the trailer:

On Thursday check out a special shorts screening of work by Peter Buntaine and Lorenzo Gattorna of New York(er) Shorts on a rooftop in Bushwick (15 Lawton Street, Brooklyn; films screen at sunset).

If you’re interested in seeing some better known short films outdoors spend your Thursday evening in Central Park where Ashbury Shorts will be screening at Summerstage:

New York City’s longest running exhibition of award-winning independent short films presents “An Evening of the World’s Best Short Films,” featuring live music, celebrity guests, and noteworthy, festival award-winning short films compiled over the past ten years. Films to be featured include: Super Powers – Best Short Film, 2007 Tribeca Film Festival; Yours Truly – voted best animated short film at over five international festivals; Stalker Guilt Syndrome – Live Action Comedy – Jonah Kaplan, Brooklyn; Tanghi Argentini – Audience Prize, Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival; plus other classic shorts.

For the literary amongst you there’s a great reading at Solas Thursday night, courtesy of the St. Mark’s Bookshop– John Joseph will read from his autobiographical work The Evolution of a Cro-Magnon, which details his experiences in the punk scene and his struggles with homelessness, addiction and insanity. Be prepared to be horrified.

If you want more laughter and less horror in your Thursday check out The Raspberry Brothers at Comix; this time they’re exercising their wit on Karate Kid.

Pat Morita in Karate Kid

Pat Morita in Karate Kid

On Friday, if you missed seeing The Muppet Movie at BAM last week you have another chance to see it, this time on Pier 46 in Hudson River Park.

You also have a chance to see two great up-and-coming bands Friday night at Spike Hill. Ellis Ashbrook is playing alongside Mem (who I wrote about recently). Here’s a great shot from Mem’s last show:



If recent screenings of Cary Grant films have left you hungry for much much more you’re in luck- BAM is having a Cary Grant Retrospective all through the month of August; here’s a clip from Saturday’s offering The Talk of the Town:

Saturday is a big day for electronic music. First, Boys Noize is playing on Central Park’s Sumerstage. For those of you who need a full day of electronic music I bring you… The Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival! This massive event at the Old American Can Factory features performances by Juan Maclean, Young Love and Designer Drugs.


For those of you who have a favorite anime character (admit it- you have more than one), Saturday is your chance to dress the part at Brooklyn Waterfront Artist Coalition‘s All Day Anime Event! Keep your costume legal (no naked nymphs, etc.) and mingle with other anime enthusiasts while checking out awesome new artworks!

If you think you have what it takes to complete the Pizza Tour of Brooklyn join fellow pizzaholics for a day of serious eating this Sunday.


Have you heard of silent kung fu films? No? Well, that may be because there is only one surviving from the golden age of Chinese cinema. Rooftop Films will be bringing it to you with a new original score by Devil Music Ensemble, performed live, at the Automotive High School in Brooklyn. This screening of Red Heroine also includes a martial arts demonstration and is followed by an open bar.

Finally, to add a little art to your weekend I recommend checking out the ongoing exhibit at the Yossi Milo Gallery– Sexy and the City New York Photographs:

Sexy and the City shows the alluring, romantic and sometimes scandalous side of New York’s people and places. Capturing private, intimate moments and blatant displays of sexuality, these photographs span the decades from the 1940s to the present day, taken in landmark locations like the Brooklyn Bridge and in the quiet, out-of-the-way corners of the city.

This is one photograph being displayed:

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic image of a kissing couple in Times Square on V-J Day, 1945

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s iconic image of a kissing couple in Times Square on V-J Day, 1945

Have an excellent week(end) and stay tuned for additions!