As the weather warms and the flowers begin to bloom not far from the crossroads of the world, Bryant Park continues to have approx 250,000 people walk by it each day. Now months after the ice has melted and the temporary restaurant overlooking the rink has been disassembled, the main lawn finds itself finally blossoming as it prepares for the summer months and activities ahead.
One of my favorite NYC activities to do each summer happens at Bryant Park every week, and the best part: It’s absolutely FREE!
Each Monday evening, HBO sponsors free summer movies in Bryant Park. This year, in conjunction withe Pepsi and Ralph Lauren, they are offering quite a great line up! It’s an opportunity to see some of your classic favorites, and in my case, see old classics for the first time. Sitting under the open night sky, it’s as if you are removed from the city all together. The hustle and bustle of tourists, cars, and buses, seem to be shielded by the perimeter forcefield of trees. The towering sky scrapers light up around you as the sky goes dark, only to be drowned out by the brightness of the moon above. Freezing or scalding weather, rain or shine, the movies play in the car-less drive-in.
Besides being jealous that I did not grow up in the era of drive-in movies, what I love best about Monday nights in the park is the amount of people that gather together for one event. Unlike most free NYC events, groups are civil and friendly, playing games, eating, and meeting the people around them.While the movies begin at dusk (around btw 8-9pm) the park opens at 5pm, allowing you to claim your space, eat some snacks, and have some fun. The best part is that wine and beverages are allowed in the park! As you enter the park, security will check you bag, but have no fear, they are looking for weapons, not booze. As long as someone arrives early to claim a spot (remember, no plastic of any type can be placed on the grass) people can come and join you at anytime leading up to the start of the movie.
As the flood lights sitting high above the park on a neighboring skyscraper turn off one by one, the classic HBO opening sequence begins to play, and you are non-ceremoniously cued by the people around you to get up and dance along. Cheer, sing, yell, kiss someone, anything to get out some of that built up energy before you settle in on your blanket for the next two hours.
When I say it is one of my favorite activities in the city, I honestly mean that. I’ll be there every week, so if you want to go, but don’t want to go alone, there is always room for one more on our blanket!
Here is the lineup for this summer and a view from the back of the lawn! Get Excited!
June 25-Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
July 2-The Wizard of Oz (Should probably get here early to make room for your ruby slippers)
July 9-On the Waterfront
July 16-Roman Holiday
July 23-The Maltese Falcon
July 30-Rebel Without a Cause
August 6-The Adventures of Robin Hood
August 13-All About Eve
August 20-Raiders of the Lost Ark
Come on out and have a great time for one of the only reasons I go above 14th street!
My number one BP Movie Partner (and phenomenal friend) Malary!