Beginning June 19, movies under the stars are back on the Bryant Park lawn!
The HBO Summer Film Festival kicks off its free Monday night movie series with “King Kong” — the 1933 version and still the only decent one, with apologies to Tom Hiddleston. This year’s lineup trends toward oldies, with the Audrey Hepburn version of “Sabrina” (July 10), the Alfred Hitchcock thriller “North By Northwest” (Aug. 14) and ending on a high with “Dirty Dancing” (Aug. 21).
Though the films don’t start until sunset (between 8 and 9 p.m.), you’ll have to get there early to claim a prime spot. The Bryant Park Lawn opens at 5 p.m., but if you’re just arriving then, you’re already too late. People line up to rush in and claim the best spots early, so arrive with your blanket at the ready.
You’re probably wondering how to pass the 3+ hours between claiming your spot and showtime. There’s pre-show entertainment including a classic cartoon before every screening beginning at 6 p.m., along with activities like guided meditation (if you can block out the ambient noise of Midtown) and live music.
While packing a picnic is always an option (no alcohol allowed), the Hester Street Fair has curated a bunch of vendors on the Fountain Terrace next to the lawn, serving food from 4:30-9:30 p.m. Among them are Burger and Lobster bringing the requisite rolls, Japanese savory pancakes at Oconomi, poke bowls from Pokee NYC, Taiyaki NYC’s rich soft serve in fish-shaped cones and caffeine by Coffeemania.
A couple more rules: No dogs, chairs, tables or plastic tarps are allowed on the lawn. Films are close captioned, and while navigating the maze of blankets can be tricky, the park also boasts the city’s nicest public bathrooms on its northwest corner.
Bryant Park’s Summer Film Festival runs through Aug. 21. Here’s the full schedule:
June 19: “King Kong”
June 26: “On the Town”
July 3: “The Muppets Take Manhattan”
July 10: “Sabrina”
July 17: “Wall Street”
July 24: “Pillow Talk”
July 31: “The Hustler”
Aug. 7: “All That Jazz”
Aug. 14: “North by Northwest”
Aug. 21: “Dirty Dancing”