Bryant Park Rolls opening credits of the summer film series

Free movie nights return to the park on Monday and Tuesday evenings from August 23 to September 28

You must hurry to follow a larger-than-life J.Lo as she struts around the screen, determined to give the Wall Street brothers a taste of their own medicine. The irony of showing “Hustlers” near the neighborhood where many of the film’s wealthy men live only adds to the delight of the main ladies’ shots.

It was the second night of Bryant Park’s Movie Night series, and the park was packed. The hum of cicadas punctuated the Rolling Strip Club soundtrack. Police sirens howled beyond the confines of the film, blurring the line between film and reality. The meta-nature of watching a movie set in New York City while sitting in the heart of the city has provided an absurdly perfect opportunity for self-reflection that has become a hallmark of life during a pandemic.

The free Outdoor Movie Night series offers a low-risk way to enjoy the temperate nights of a waning summer in the city. With 10 films showing on Monday and Tuesday evenings until September 28, there are plenty of films still waiting behind the scenes.

The park will launch a “Broadway to Film” series at the end of the programming.

“As if” we could even think of a more iconic movie, the series began with the quintessential ’90s movie, “Clueless.” After Cher and her beloved yellow plaid mini skirt on screen, there will be movies ranging from “Uncut Gems” to “Moonstruck”.

If that’s not enough, prepare to be struck by the stars. The park will launch a “Broadway to Film” series at the end of the programming. Current Broadway musicals with film adaptations such as “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “MOULIN ROUGE! And” The Phantom of the Opera “are set to perform with surprise appearances from people involved in the musical productions. Now it’s something to sing about.

The lawn opens at 5 p.m. and the movies start at sunset. To access the lawn, look for the people in green. They are the keepers. Posted to the four corners of the lawn, they check the booklets and the vaccination bags before giving access to the probably greener grass on the other side of the gravel.

A CLEAR pass, an Excelsior pass or a photo of your vaccination card associated with a government-issued ID will allow you to enter. Alternatively, members of the public who are tested can present a negative PCR test within three days of the event, along with government-issued identification. . From there, get ready to settle under the stars.

On the second night of the series, people were sitting in clusters on the lawn. Some brought blankets. Others were seated in folding chairs provided by the park. There was an air of ease emanating from the crowd.

Just outside the lawn, on the upper terrace, more people laid down and watched the movie. It was a remote area that did not require proof of vaccination or a negative test result. It was also a privileged place to hear the disjointed chatter of passers-by. Some joked about the scenes being performed. Others summed up the film with divisive brevity, describing it as “this movie where J.Lo is a stripper.” What he lacks in nuance, he compensates by his lapidary and stripped-down reading of the film.

If caffeine isn’t enough to get you out of a summer crisis, maybe the energy of just being around people will do the trick.

While the peanut gallery reviews nourish the soul, there is also real food to support the body. Keep an eye out for the Dunkin ‘tent in the corner of the lawn. Refreshing treats will make the movie even sweeter. The park knows its audience well. America can run on Dunkin ‘, according to the company’s catchy slogan, but New York runs on dreams, preferably cinematic, accompanied by coffee, of course.

If caffeine isn’t enough to get you out of a summer crisis, maybe the energy of just being around people will do the trick. There is something to be said about the collective power of just sitting down and being in the presence of others after such a long separation. Think of it like this: watching a movie like a sitting meditation. Breathing in the movie and exhaling it together can really change the mood.

See for yourself; you can find more expansive quality in the night air after the end credits and people start packing their stuff. At this point, the music can drift upward and filter through the haze of light pollution so you can see the stars. Or maybe it’s just airplanes and the real stars are on Earth.

Andrea G. Henderson