The Best of NYC’s Outdoor Movies This Summer

Watch “Singin’ in the Rain” on the waterfront, “The Greatest Showman” on the beach, “Crooklyn” on a pier in Brooklyn, and dozens of other new and classic films under the NYC sky.

Photo by V. Tang/Courtesy of Films on the Green

We like them in the sand. We like them with a band. We watch them on a roof. We watch them with a pooch. There are lots of ways to catch outdoor films during NYC summers (though none serve green eggs as of yet). These screeners give you a chance to enjoy special perks like elevated movie theater bites, preshow mini concerts, and killer skyline views, not to mention a warm breeze in your hair and cool grass under your feet.

Rooftop Films 2019 Summer Series

Say hello to the open-air crème de la crème of New York City’s outdoor cinema, where you can expect not only a diverse lineup of indie features and shorts but also great accompaniments like immersive performances, music, Q&As with the crew, and afterparties. You’ll find yourself traveling across the boroughs for a chance to catch these site-specific screenings. A few we’ll definitely be attending: Strange Negotiations, which follows real-life singer-songwriter David Bazan after he renounces his Christian beliefs, at Green-Wood Cemetery on June 22; Ellen Page’s intimate My Days of Mercy at the William Vale on June 26; Saint Frances, featuring a breakout performance from Kelly O’Sullivan, at Industry City on July 12; and Anbessa, a coming-of-age story set in a changing Ethiopia, at Socrates Sculpture Park on July 17. Through August; times and locations vary

Photo courtesy of Rooftop Films

Movies on the Waterfront

No RSVPs or tickets are required for these screenings on the Astoria Park Great Lawn. Starting mid-July, your Mondays will become far less mundane thanks to a few showings of popular classics and 2019 favorites: Singin’ in the Rain, Clueless, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, The Incredibles 2, and The Godfather. Monday, July 22–August 19; 8:15 p.m.; Astoria Park Great Lawn

Coney Island: Flicks on the Beach

Ride the Wonder Wheel and stroll the boardwalk by day, then catch an outdoor movie by night at Coney Island’s free Flicks on the Beach. This summer, expect a four-film lineup of blockbuster hits that the entire family can enjoy every other Monday: The Greatest Showman on July 9, Back to the Future on July 30, Coco on August 6, and Black Panther on August 20. West 12th Street, Coney Island

Photo by Ethan Judelson

Bryant Park Movie Nights

Perhaps the most popular (and crowded) of the outdoor film programs, Bryant Park Movie Nights is back and ready to serve us some silver-screen magic. Nabbing a seat on the lawn is historically horrifying, but who can blame the early birds after hearing about 2019’s lineup (the Adam Sandler classic Big Daddy on June 17, teen romance darling To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before on July 1, and the hilarious Anchorman on August 5), presented by none other than the leading source for entertainment on demand, Netflix. (And concessions curated by Hester Street Fair don’t hurt either.) Bryant Park, Midtown; films begin at sunset

Movies With a View

Views off of Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 1 Promenade, burgers and beer from Smorgasburg, a nice breeze off the East River, and DJ sets curated by Brooklyn Radio: not bad for a midweek night out! Oh, and did we mention free movie screenings? This year’s theme, Better the Second Time Around, honors Movies With a View’s 20th anniversary with showings of the most popular films screened in the series’s history, including Girlfight (July 18), Crooklyn (August 1), and The Big Lebowski (August 8). Every Thursday, July 11–August 29; Brooklyn Bridge Park, 334 Furman Street

Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Bridge Park/Facebook

Films on the Green

This summer, focus on the three F‘s: Free. French. Films. The Films on the Green series is back, but with a feminist (that’s four!) twist, showcasing the work of fierce female filmmakers, including Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Mustang, June 28 at Transmitter Park in Brooklyn), Éléonore Faucher (Sequins, July 19 at Riverside Park Pier 1 on the Upper West Side), and Marguerite Abouet and Clément Oubrerie (the animated Aya of Yop City, July 12 in Tompkins Square Park). Through Tuesday, September 3; 8:30 p.m.; dates and locations vary

Photo by V. Tang/Courtesy of Films on the Green

ImageNation Outdoors Film & Music Festival

There might be quite a few outdoor film programs happening this summer, but none have as much soul as ImageNation’s Outdoors Film & Music Festival, taking place in various locations around Harlem. The evenings start at 6 p.m. with a dance party to R&B, soul, and hip-hop beats spun by DJ Mike, then transition to film screenings when the sun begins to set at 8 p.m. Go up to bat with Jackie Robinson on July 10, take a dramatic walk down Beale Street on August 17, and hop on Aretha’s Soul Train on August 22. Wednesday, July 10–Friday, September 20

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