Destinations Magazine

Cheap and Free NYC Summer Movie Guide, 2011

By Cheapchicknyc

One of the best things about summer in the city are all the cheap and free movie nights there are! Here’s a comprehensive list of summer films, many held outside in four of the five boroughs!

(THIS MOVIE SERIES ENDS TONIGHT June 15, 2011) Stuyvesant Town: Movies take a different shape here as you watch “Movies on the Oval” with munchies served from gourmet food trucks! Lawn chairs are encouraged here!

Bryant Park: Watch movies in a green oasis among the shadow of midtown’s office towers and the New York Public Library. Designate someone with a blanket to get there early to snag seats-they go quickly, (gravel area opens at 4 p.m., lawn at 5 p.m.) but it’s a great excuse to picnic with friends before the show starts! Or if you’re the designated space-saver, bring your laptop, Bryant Park has free Wi-Fi. Remember to get up and dance during the HBO opening sequence-it’s tradition!

Films on the Green: Visit France through film this summer with subtitled movies! Appropriately enough the movies are inspired by a “summer” theme and take place at parks across the boroughs.

Movies With a View: The Brooklyn Bridge is the perfect backdrop for your movie night! Plenty of food vendors are available for pre-movie noshing as well! Seats go quickly so an early arrival is beneficial here too! Music is played before the movies start!

Hudson Riverflicks: The water’s waves provide a soundtrack and the view to movies on the Hudson River’s Pier 54. Friday nights are for the kids (, and Wednesdays are for the grown-ups (! Here there are rows of seats and areas to set blankets on the ground. Most early arrivals can get chairs, but they’re not guaranteed! Often there is free popcorn given away at these screenings as well!

Intrepid: Is that a battleship in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? You’ll have to figure it out as you watch a movie while you’re actually on the water. Cheap Chick Cheap Tip: Unlike most summer movies, this event is ticketed and access to the ship will be literally closed off once all the tkts have been distributed, so get there early to wait in line (other outdoor movies you’ll likely able to sit and save space and come and go as you please) and be sure your friends can get there before the boat closes up and tkts are gone!

Rooftop Films: Movies with a different sort of view of the Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines, that change venues each week, films on topics ranging from friendship to lesbian extraterrestrials to indie wrestling to autism! Most flicks are $10, but there a few free movies here and there. Local bands precede the movies tho seating type and availability varies by location (often chairs are available, but are v. much first-come, first-served, so you may want to bring a blanket just in case!) They don’t sell food or snacks here so bring your own!

Socrates Sculpture Park: Find a spot among the outdoor art at this Queens Park. Sked not up yet, but check the ws for an updated listing!

Movies Under the Stars With Habana Outpost: Classic movies are served up in this eco-restaurant on Sunday nights. Be sure to try a smoothie mixed by bicycle or some “home-style Latin food with unique Cuban and Central Mexican accents.” (scroll down for movie list.)

Red Hook Summer Movies: Head to the far reaches of Brooklyn to watch free movies on the pier of Valentino Park with your friend and mine, Lady Liberty in site. Films start at 8:30 p.m.

McCarren Park: Ball fields aren’t just for baseball anymore! The folks at the L magazine are hosting this summer film festival in Brooklyn! Bringing your own seating is a necessity here, so bring something comfy to rest your bottom on! There is also food and drink for all and music as well!

Snug Harbor Staten Island Movies:Take the ferry over to Staten Island for free movies on Friday nights at the Snug Harbor Botanic Gardens’ South Meadow Stage.

Movie Nights on the Elevated Acre: Downtown NYC becomes your personal movie theater as films are screened during the River to River Festival on the elevated acre (55 Water Street, between Broad and William Streets in Lower Manhattan). Tkts are free BUT can either be reserved online, or by picking them up at the stairs to the entrance at 55 Water St. at 6 p.m. (the show starts at sunset or 8pm.) Short films precede the feature screening.

IFC stranger Than Fiction Summer Documentary series: Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. see movies on subjects so strange, they have to be true, in the air-conditioned comfort of the IFC Center and hosted by Thom Powers and Raphaela Neihausen!

Czech Movie Night: Every Tuesday night “Czech” out Czech movies (with subtitles) on the rooftop of the Bohemian National Hall at dusk! These movies are free, but capacity is limited and is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Coney Island: Rock and Roll down by the boardwalk with summer movies screened at the Coney Island Museum! Tkts are $6 and benefit the non-profit group Coney Island USA. There is a “pre-show at 8:15pm featuring classic drive in trailers, shorts, old commercials and more. Films start at 8:30pm. Bar and concessions available.”

Did I forget any movie nights? Any tips for movie-goers that I haven’t included? Feel free to share!

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