It’s summer in New York City. And while temperatures are blazing (it’s been over 90s degrees all last week) with gripping humidity to match, the city is overjoyed by the presence of sunshine and the plethora of events that come with it. Along with boat cruises, concerts, and beach getaways, as I talked about in a previous post, public gatherings for entertainment like Shakespeare in the Park and outdoor movies, which have grown in popularity, are great treats for New Yorkers as well.
Outdoor movies are as much an American pastime as diners and sock hops. Drive in movies were hugely popular in the mid 20th Century, and peaked in popularity with the proliferation of automobiles in the 1950s and 1960s, following the second world war. This current experience doesn’t involve cars, but the sentiment is the same. Families and friends gather on lawns or the city’s rooftops to enjoy classic films of every genre, from various time periods. It’s definitely one of the more exciting ways to spend a night.
One of the more popular ones is Brooklyn’s Summer Screen, which takes place in the Williamsburg neighborhood. Hosted every Wednesday for over a decade, the event has gained quite a following for a number of reasons. One, it takes place in the beautiful McCarren Park, surrounded by luscious trees and views of Manhattan to the west. Also, you can bring your own snacks (don’t try that at traditional theaters), or you can purchase from some of the area’s best vendors. On top of that, the night kicks off with an hour of live music before the sun falls and your favorite movie starts playing. How romantic is that? Oh, and attending is free.
If you’re just finding out about this, you still have time to enjoy it before summer’s over. The lineup for the next three Wednesdays include the 90s romantic comedy, 10 Things I Hate About You; the Academy Award nominated film, The Royal Tenenbaums starring Luke Wilson and Gwyneth Paltrow, among others; and it culminates with a currently unnamed audience pick (the most recent poll shows Almost Famous in first place, with about 360 votes).
There are a number of other outdoor movie options throughout the city as well. Timeout Magazine includes a list of times and locations for your personal schedule. Not all of them are free but still enjoyable. New York City is famous for being busy, but sometimes, it’s good to just relax and enjoy not doing much.