About Roosevelt Island

Where To Enjoy Movies Outdoors This Summer (2017 Edition)

Updated 2 years ago Peter McCarthy
Movie Nights Last Summer on Roosevelt Island
Movie Nights Last Summer on Roosevelt Island
Photo credit: Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation

If you enjoy outdoor movies, this summer promises to deliver delights from June through August, starting on Roosevelt Island as Marty McFly and Doc Brown time-traveling in RIOC's first free community event for the year: Back to the Future at Firefighters Field on Friday June 23rd. (Rain date: June 30th.) Get the new 2018 schedule here.

The Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. resumes its free movies series this summer with six more films, beginning on June 23rd. Aside from the ease and convenience for local residents, something that helps us get into the swing is that RIOC arranges rain dates in advance. Most popular outdoor movie venues don't have rain dates at all, let alone planned in advance for the convenience of their audience.

Before looking at what's being offered, the Daily pauses to give RIOC a nod for offering these family friendly summer events at no cost to us. Not only is the gift generous, RIOC takes pains to make sure you know about it.

So, here's what's on tap:

Starting times for "movie night fun" is 7:00 p.m. for all dates:

  1. June 23rd: Back to the Future, Rain Date: June 30th
  2. July 7th: Miracle, Rain Date: July 14th (Kurt Russell plays Herb Brooks coaching the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team.)
  3. July 21st: Finding Dory, Rain Date: July 28th
  4. July 22nd: Eddie Murphy in Coming to America, Rain Date: August 29th
  5. August 4th: James Dean's classic Rebel Without a Cause, Rain Date: August 11th
  6. August 18th: Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Rain Date: August 25th.
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Movies Away From Roosevelt Island

HBO's Bryant Park Film Festival starts with King Kong on June 19th.

Based on my own experience, I suggest everyone try to watch a movie in Bryant Park, surrounded by verdant greenery and skyscrapers towering above in the nighttime sky, at least once. It's a peak New York experience not duplicatable anywhere else on our planet, maybe not even in the universe.

That said, getting there is the easy part. Getting in is a bit difficult and guaranteed to lessen your trust in the goodness of human nature.

Although a movie won't begin for hours, the gates open at 5:00 when scores of eager movie watchers surge onto the lawn in what's  been compared to the Oklahoma Land Rush. The lawn fills in seconds as greedy corporate types fling giant blankets across the best viewing areas, saving space for late arriving friends, and the well-mannered are pushed aside while their less civilized neighbors race for space on the grass.

When the movies finally begin, they are magnificent to watch in a respectful (of the movies) crowd with all the vibrancy and power of New York huddled nearby.

Oh, and the public rest rooms are the best in Manhattan.

Other Bryant Park features include On the Town as Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly and Jules Munchin discover Manhattan as well as Mitzi Gaynor and Anne Miller, Sabrina with Cary Grant and Bob Fosse's All That Jazz.

Other nearby outdoor film festivals: Central Park Film Festival; Films on the Green; and Movies with a View at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Enhance your summer with a complete list at Curbed New York.

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