Courtesy of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, by Reist Photography
Summertime in New York is filled to the brim with tons of activities: but what about events for movie lovers? Instead of staying cooped up in the nearest theater chain, perhaps it would be better to enjoy some fresh air, cool people, great food and an amazing film. Here are ten fantastic outdoor movie venues, ranging from the well-known to the most obscure. And when you’re done, check out the schedule for the summer.
While Rooftop Cinemas Club at Yotel is easily the nicest venue, SummerScreen makes up for it with a whole lot of character. Basically, this free summer concert and film series, which launched in 2006, is a fun event filled to the brim with activities.
Happening every Wednesday at McCarren Park, each night has live music at 6 p.m. with the movie beginning at sundown. On top of this, each week has vendors from all over the city offering up a wide variety of food that will make anyone’s mouth water. Throw in a great collection of films – Scream, 10 Things I Hate About You, The Royal Tenenbaums and a fan selection that can be voted on by you – and this is a great time for the whole family.
2. Rooftop Cinemas Club, Yotel
Rooftop Cinemas Club at Yotel may have the hottest outdoor screenings in New York City. In fact, all of June’s showings have been already sold out. With a selection that ranges from the current, Deadpool, to the classic, Casablanca, as well as provided seats and wireless headphones, it is easy to understand why so many people are flocking to the luxury hotel’s roof.
If the 10th Avenue skyline was not enough, then go and enjoy the cocktails and the food, which are supplied by Yotel’s Green Fig. It is the hotel’s new restaurant with a menu “inspired by the North African Maghreb Region and our interpretation on “middleterranean” modern cuisine,” according to its website. But be prepared to spend money because tickets start at a steep $33.
3. Socrates Sculpture Park and Film Forum
Photo Courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park
Another great event in the park, the yearly film festival in Long Island City is a collaboration between Socrates Sculpture Park and the Film Forum. While most of the other festivals on this list highlight mainstream movies, this tries to focus more on international pictures.
For its 30th anniversary, the festival will “examine the theme of The River,” according to the event’s website. This includes features like The African Queen, L’Atalante, Suzhou River and more. Along with the movie, each week has music and food vendors that reflect the film’s country.
4. Habana Outpost
Watching a movie at a restaurant/bar may not be an ideal place for cinephiles, but Habana Outpost’s environment provides ‘midnight showing’ like fun. But it is also a place to drink and eat Mexican and Cuban cuisines.
The Fort Greene location is a courtyard filled with picnic tables, with the film being projected on the side of the building. There are subtitles included for those that have trouble hearing – or for those that want to join along. The screenings run until October – ending with The Rocky Horror Picture Show – making it one of the longer events on this list.
5. Movies with a View
Have you ever dreamed of watching a movie with the New York skyline in the background? At Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Movies with a View, it is possible. This venue has been showing movies since 2000 and has served over 340,000 guests, according to its website.
Movies with a View takes place every Thursday during July and August. It is essential to get to each screening early because the park estimates that there will be at least 7,000 moviegoers per night. With classics like Singin’ in the Rain and Purple Rain, the beautiful view and the wonderful breeze coming off the East River, it is easy to understand why this is so attractive.
6. Intrepid Summer Movie Series
Courtesy of the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum, by Reist Photography
Have you ever dreamed of watching Top Gun on New York’s most famous aircraft carrier? Well, now you can. For the last eight years, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex has been holding outdoor movie screenings for free.
But it is important to note that room is limited and tickets are handed out on a first come first serve basis. Visitors are allowed to bring their own food, non-alcoholic beverages, blankets and chairs. This summer, the Intrepid goes into deep space, with Star Trek (2009), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Galaxy Quest. Check the website for further listings.
7. HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival
Courtesy of Bryant Park, by Angelito Jusay Photography
One of the more famous venues on this list, HBO’s yearly Bryant Park Summer Film Festival is an event to behold. In its 24th year, it is easy to love the laid back atmosphere in one of the city’s most storied parks.
It is important to note that there is a list of prohibited items, with the most important one being ‘no chairs.’ This may seem like a hindrance to some, but the energetic crowd certainly makes up for it: especially since this summer’s lineup is one of its best. Between Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Harvey and The Omen, what is not to love?
8. Table 87
Very few things sound better than coal oven pizza and an outdoor movie. Table 87’s claim to fame is that it is the first-ever pizzeria in Brooklyn to offer coal oven pizza by the slice. But it is also the place where you can see family-friendly movies every Wednesday night in June and July.
Starting with The Mask and including classics like The Lion King, Table 87 has you covered for outdoor movie viewing. However, this venue is smaller than others on this list. So be sure to call the restaurant for reservations because it quickly gets booked on movie night.
9. Rooftop Films
Photo courtesy Rooftop Films
Perhaps this entry is cheating, but Rooftop Films offers an array of indie or unknown movies at several venues throughout the city. With tickets starting at $15, the viewer has the chance to see experimental or upcoming filmmakers, who are not usually showcased at these types of events.
With 16 venues highlighted on their home page, each offers up a unique viewing experience for cinephiles. To highlight two, Firefighters Field at Roosevelt Island offers a great viewing experience with the Queensboro Bridge in the background. Also, The Old American Can Factory, which serves as Rooftop Films’ main office, is an old facility with a particular rooftop aesthetic that is largely unseen around the city.
10. Narrows Botanical Gardens
From outdoor Shakespeare to movie screenings, Narrows Botanical Gardens is the perfect place to relax while also being encapsulated by nature’s beauty. A small little park located on Shore Road in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, it is home to free screenings of Night of the Museum, Grease, Despicable Me and more.
One of the lesser known parks or screenings on this list, this area is the pride of the middle-class Brooklyn neighborhood. So bring your blankets, food and beverages to this smaller film festival, which welcomes families of all ages.
There are also French films at the Films on the Green festival that runs all summer and a ton of film showings at NYC Parks.