There are some things that New Yorkers do that take up time way out of proportion to the end result, huge effort and fierce committment and they’re wonderful. If you want to join in it’s just a question of whether you’re prepared to put in the huge effort, time and committment because they are all iconic NYC experiences. Free summer films in Bryant Park is one of them, others are Shakespeare in the Park and Summerstage put on by the City Parks Foundation.
And if you are seeing a theme here you are right. They all happen in summer in a NYC park and they’re all wildly popular. The time element comes in because there’s a big gap between getting a place to enjoy them and when the action kicks off. For the Bryant Park Film Fest people start queuing sometime before 4pm and the actual film isn’t until 9.pm when it’s dark enough. So you have to get there queue, be part of the huge rush to get a good spot and then you’ve got to fill in the hours.
The effort comes in because how do you fill in that time and hem…deal with the realities of being in one spot for about 5-6 hours. The regulars at the Bryant Park Film Fest know all of this and some turn up with entire multi course meals and illegal alcohol carefully disguished. Thney’re going to eat and drink their way towards the much anticipated film. Naturally all that needs a fair bit of planning. And dealing with necessary bodily functions means never going on your own, because there needs to be at least 2 people, so one can mind the spot on the lawn you have carefully staked out while the other goes off to find a toilet.
Committment is necessary just because getting your dream spot to watch a free film in Bryant Park means you have to give up all the other things you could do in 5-6 hours, you’ve got to do serious plotting to get a good spot and then be ruthless in your execution to beat out your rivals. The people who snag the much prized central spots right in front of the screen or key tables and chairs around the perimeter of the lawn arrive with huge blankets to stake their claim and carry in countless containers of food and drink.
But the reward is worth it. If you snag a great position on the lawn for a free film in Bryant Park you have done something magnificent, something totally unique and you can boast about forever. Even if you only do it for one year. So pick the film you want to see, plan away, take on the hoards and win, baby win!