Courtesy, Prospect Park
There’s no better way to enjoy the blissful balmy evenings of summer than by packing a picnic and heading to a free outdoor movie screening—especially when the showing of a classic film or big-budget blockbuster includes impressive backdrops like the Brooklyn or Manhattan skylines.
There are plenty of picks in every borough as well a variety of settings: you can catch a flick at a cemetery, on an aircraft carrier or at a marina. Read on to find out about the different series and highlights in their programming.
Citywide, June 2–September 8
Take a trip overseas without leaving NYC thanks to cultural institution Villa Albertine’s French film festival, which includes 12 features screened in various Brooklyn and Manhattan parks. This year the focus is on the rhythm and emotion of dance, as shown in Heartbreaker (L'Arnacœur) in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park, Leap! (Ballerina) in Brooklyn’s McGolrick Park and Nha Fala (My Voice) in Manhattan’s Riverside Park.
Courtesy, Prospect Park
Citywide, June 10–July 5
The far-reaching NYC Parks outdoor movie program is a film buff’s delight, with dozens of family-friendly screening options in public green spaces throughout the five boroughs. Enjoy picks like Finding Nemo at Torsney Playground in Queens, Sing 2 at Seton Park in the Bronx, Hook at Great Kills Park in Staten Island, Spider-Man: No Way Home at Eugene McCabe Field in Manhattan and The Last Dragon at Brownsville Playground in Brooklyn. Reserved chairs are available at each site for seniors and people with disabilities.
Citywide, June 10–August 24
Don’t let the name of this popular movie series fool you—screenings take place in every manner of outdoor arena throughout NYC, from cemeteries to playgrounds to high schools to factories to parks to, yes, rooftops. Their yearly lineup of over 40 independent films (with a few blockbusters scattered in) is always hotly anticipated. Just a few of this summer’s offerings include In the Heights in Hinton Park, Queens; a New York Nonfiction short film program in Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery; and No Hard Feelings at New Design High School in Manhattan.
Courtesy, Bryant Park
Bryant Park, Sixth Avenue and West 42nd Street, Midtown, Manhattan, June 12–August 21
Manhattan’s popular 4-acre urban oasis has partnered with Paramount+ for another year of bringing the big screen to their sprawling lawn. This year’s lineup of includes Reality Bites, Zoolander and Mean Girls. The lawn opens at 5pm and screenings start at 8pm, so show up early with a blanket or some lawn chairs to secure your spot. No time to pack a meal? No problem—food and drink curated by Hester Street Fair, as well as beer and wine, will be available to purchase.
Film Works Alfresco. Photo: Aaron Simms
The Hudson, 348 Dyckman St., Inwood, Manhattan, June 12–August 28
Inwood Art Works’ series is the City’s sole English and Spanish language free outdoor cinema, and their programming of both independent and popular films aims to be as diverse as their Northern Manhattan community. Thirteen films—including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, La Bamba and The Nutty Professor—will screen on Monday nights. The location at Inwood Hill Park’s Dyckman Marina boasts incredible Hudson River views, and there’ll be preshow music and local entertainment for early birds, plus food and drink for purchase.
Seaport Cinema. Photo: Jane Kratochvil. Courtesy, Howard Hughes Corporation
The Rooftop at Pier 17, 89 South St., Lower Manhattan, June 12–September 21
The Seaport Cinema curates their Movies on the Water series by having the public vote for the films that they screen on their rooftop, which looks out on the East River and Brooklyn Bridge. They also offer refreshments including popcorn, tater tots, chicken fingers, beer and cocktails. Highlights this summer include showings of Air Bud, Jaws, Step Up and Pitch Perfect.
Damrosch Park, Amsterdam Ave. & W. 62nd St., Lincoln Square, Manhattan, June 14–July 21
Film at Lincoln Center, one of the City’s premier arthouse cinemas, is moving choice picks from their programming lineup outdoors to Damrosch Park for two months (they’ll also have onsite concessions). The series kicks off with a three-film homage to composer Terence Blanchard, including Eve’s Bayou, Love & Basketball and Da 5 Bloods, followed by a mini-festival honoring the 50th anniversary of hip-hop—which includes audience favorites Friday and Juice. The closing selection celebrates Korean Arts Week with the breakout 2006 hit The Host from director Bong Joon-ho, who helmed the Academy Award-winning film Parasite.
Intrepid Movie Night. Photo: Erika Kapin
Intrepid Museum, Pier 86, West 46th Street and Hudson River Park, Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan, June 30–August 25
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum provides an atmospheric setting for Free Fridays Summer Movie Nights; this season, they’re screening three appropriately ship-themed films: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Crimson Tide and Top Gun: Maverick.
Courtesy, Riverside Park Conservancy Program
Riverside Park Pier 1 at West 70th Street, Upper West Side, Manhattan, July 5–August 16
Take in gorgeous Hudson River views alongside your movie of choice at Riverside Park’s Pier 1, where there’s a screening just after sunset every Wednesday from July through mid-August. This year’s films include Enchanted, Back to the Future and Luca.
Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 Harbor View Lawn, 80 Furman St., Dumbo, Brooklyn, July 6–August 24
This series has one of New York City’s most awe-inspiring film viewing backdrops: a sprawling evening panorama of the twinkling Lower Manhattan skyline, Governors Island and the Brooklyn Bridge. For eight consecutive Thursdays, you can cozy up on the Pier 1 Harbor View Lawn for films celebrating the theme “We Are Family,” including Romeo + Juliet (1996), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Everything Everywhere All at Once. Time Out Market will be on site at the Pier 1 Promenade with food and drink options, and Brooklyn Radio DJs will provide preshow entertainment.