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Last night Amy and I went to the Bryant Park Film Festival, where they were showing To Sir With Love. They opened up the lawn at 5pm for the 9pm movie. Amy was able to snag us a spot on the lawn, although we ended up near the back. I got there around 5:45pm and the lawn was already filled up.


You can’t lay down any plastic tarps or bring chairs or tables onto the lawn. Luckily we had the correct gear, although I found myself a little envious of the people sitting on the sides and near the back in real chairs. The official website says there are 4000 chairs available in the park.

I think if you go to one of these outdoor film festivals expecting the usual amenities of an indoor theater, you are going to be disappointed. You really have to go with the mindset that you like the idea of sitting outside on the ground surrounded by lot’s of people and then as an added bonus, they show a movie.

Here’s what I liked:

There’s a sandwich shop on the grounds called Witchcraft. They will take your order right there on the lawn. They give you a balloon with a number on it, so they can find you later. we opted to get Chipotle and Cosi, but I might have to get in on this “lawn-side service” next time.

I love the park setting itself. In front of us is a big projection screen. Behind us is the New York Public Library. All around us are towering buildings hunching over staring down on us, and all the while, a row of trees surround us to muffle out the crazy distractions of city life.

I like using the four hours of waiting to relax, de-stress and chat with people. Almost like going to a baseball game, except lying down. I got to meet Amy’s friend Anne and her husband. They joined us around 8:30pm and they brought cookies and strawberries. Good job Amy’s friends!

At one point an announcement was made about a lost kid with an orange shirt and his mother waiting for him by the library. It was kind of sad and I’m sure the mother was freaking out. About five minutes later, we saw a kid with an orange shirt being escorted by Park Security to the back of the lawn. The crowd cheered and applauded the kid’s safe return. I predict this incident will inspire parents to keep a closer eye on their young, as well as spark a surge on sales of orange shirts at the Gap.

Here’s what I didn’t like:

The smell of pot wafting through the air. It’s TO SIR WITH LOVE, not THE WALL.
I actually don’t mind the smell of pot, it just felt very uncreative to me, as if the pot smokers couldn’t think of a million other places to go to light up.

I didn’t like the people sitting next to me laying down a plastic trash bag (which is not allowed) to sit on and then proceeded to spill soda on it. My sixth sense picked up on the fact that they would try to let the soda run off the plastic and in doing so, unknowingly have it aimed directly at me, which is exactly what happened. That’s what happens when liquid runs off the corner of something. It finds you. YOU.

The sound quality of the movie was not very good. The volume was too low and the sound system was just not set up to handle the acoustics of the park. I expected a little more considering HBO was sponsoring this.

When the movie finished, everyone dispersed, but you could still find many couples rolling around on the grass making out. I found myself having to carefully negotiate a path around some of these lovebirds, which brings me to my conclusion…

In life, don’t let anyone step on you, even if you’re locking lips with your honey in the supine position.

Click here to view the rest of the film schedule

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2 thoughts on “To Bryant, With Love….

  1. What a coincidence, I was at Bryant Park around 8pm yesterday. It was indeed crowded! It’s the third time I hear that the acoustics are poor. Too bad for a movie show…

  2. Good insider scoop – puts me on the fence to go. But if I’m actually FREE one of these nights…I just may venture over…am hoping to make it for “The Sting”. Yet, ANOTHER classic I’ve only seen parts of…

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