Free summer films in Bryant park

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As a perpetually penniless teenager, it can be hard to find fun, exciting things to do on the cheap. Luckily, Bryant Park and HBO have taken pity on those like myself and have teamed up to offer Monday night film screenings on the lawn of the park.

The HBO Bryant Park Summer Film Festival is an annual event that takes place every Monday evening from mid-June to mid-August screening classic films from the second half of the twentieth century and spanning all genres from comedy to thriller. This film festival is known to get incredibly crowded incredibly fast, so if you plan on attending, you’re going to want to arrive at 5PM, the time the lawn opens, even though the film doesn’t start until dark (around 8:30 or 9:00). However, when I went to the screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy on July 1st, it had actually been terribly overcast and drizzly the entire day, deterring most movie goers and closing off the lawn area itself, and giving me a substantial seat (chairs are set up on the gravel surrounding the lawn) without arriving early. So if you aren’t in the mood to picnic for 3+ hours (though with a Chipotle, Pret a Manger, ‘Wichcraft and several park vendors mere steps away, one could find reason to ‘tough out the wait’), try going on a day that is a bit dreary, and perhaps this festival will brighten it.

While the festival is already in full swing, there are still some great movies lined up for July and August including The Women (on August 12th), a 1939 entirely female acted comedy (though the entire film revolves around men) tracking the jumbled up romantic lives of several Manhattan dwellers, The African Queen (on July 22nd), a 1951 romance set in the beginning of WWII and featuring renowned actors Humphrey Bogart (who won his only Oscar for this film) and Katherine Hepburn in the roles of a no-good riverboat captain and an uptight missionary’s sister, along with the ever-so-popular E.T. on the last day of the festival, August 19th. The festival is a fun way to expand your cinematic horizons watching classics from the days of yore, not to mention a cool event to woo and/or impress a love interest, bond with close friends, or drag your sister (like myself) without breaking the bank.

Want to learn more? Check out Bryant Park’s website: