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Staff Picks: Movies in Parks At Home

Many of our parks have been the settings of films that bring to life the New York City experience. While you stay safe and stay home, enjoy this selection of classics, rom-coms, musicals, and documentaries filmed in our parks, and picked just for you by our Arts, Culture & Fun team and the staff that brings you Movies Under the Stars.

Visit our Cinematic Parks page to discover more films set in our parks.

The Sun is Also A Star (2019), Coleman Skate Park

Remember: 500 Days of Summer? Enjoy young summer love with: The Sun is Also a Star
Starring Yara Shahidi and Charles Melton

In this moving gif, a girl smiles and reaches or her elbow while playing her fingers on a person's hand who is not seen. They are both sitting in a cafe with teacups on the table.

Credit: GIPHY

This movie opens with a beautiful ode to the New York experience that blossoms with a story about love and science and the immigrant experience as a hopeless romantic tries to prove to an aspiring data scientist that love is more than just, well, ... science. With scenes like the typical train delays, skating at Coleman, cozy cafes, and picnics in the park, this is the perfect New York experience from home. 

Motherless Brooklyn (2019), Asser Levy & Hansborough Rec Centers and Washington Square Park

Have you read: The Power Broker? Meet: Moses Randolph in Motherless Brooklyn
Starring Edward Norton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Bobby Cannavale, Willem Dafoe, Bruce Willis

A man with wet hair wearing a robe looks over at the other man sitting next to him who is dressed in a suit with a fresh bruise on his eyebrow.

Credit: TM & © 2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

If you're into the history of city planning in New York City, the plot of this murder mystery, set in the 1950s, includes an interpretation of the fascinating story of former New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses and activist Jane Jacobs. The movie includes cameos of our recreation centers and the indoor pool at Hansborough Recreation Center, as well as Washington Square Park in a protest scene. 

Hitch (2005), City Hall Park

Skip: I Am Legend Watch: Hitch
Starring Will Smith and Eva Mendes

A man looks up to a mirror in a drug store aisle only to see that his face has been swollen and disfigured from an allergic reaction. A woman next to him looks on to see his reaction.

Credit: Giphy

Sometimes dating isn't easy, even if you're a dating expert ... and you're Will Smith IRL. If you walk away with nothing else from this rom-com, always, always, always remember to bring your allergy pills. 

See You Yesterday (2019), sidewalks of parks in Queens and Brooklyn

Love: Spike Lee films + time-traveling movies? Watch: See You Yesterday!
Starring Eden Duncan-Smith and Dante Crichlow

A girl with braids and wearing a backpack with a tube connecting to it and goggles on her head runs on a street in Brooklyn.

Credit: Tenor

In this remake of the 2017 short film, a teen who lives in a vibrant Caribbean community in East Flatbush uses a time-traveling machine to go back in time with her bestfriend Sebastian to save her brother who was killed by a cop.

When Harry Met Sally (1989), Washington Square Park and Central Park

Love: Rom coms and witty banter? Watch: When Harry Met Sally
Starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal

A man and woman smile while in conversation as they walk by a park.

Credit: Giphy

Can men and women really be just friends? This genre-defining romantic comedy asks the timeless question, while featuring many of New York's most iconic locations, including Central Park's Loeb Boathouse and the Washington Square Park Arch.

You've Got Mail (1998), Riverside Park

Missing: even more romance? Watch: You've Got Mail
Starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks

Someone hands a woman a bouquet of daisies. She smiles as she touches them and says "I love daisies"

Credit: Giphy

If you already rewatch When Harry Met Sally, broaden your horizons with You've Got Mail, another classic New York romance from the mind of the late Nora Ephron. In this remake of the 1940 film The Shop Around the Corner, Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks play rival booksellers navigating romance through the early internet. Much of the movie is shot on the Upper West Side, including Verdi Square and parts of Riverside Park.

Beat Street (1984), Madison Square Park

Still Missing: The Get Down? Throwback with: Beat Street
Starring Rae Dawn Chong, Guy Davis, Jon Chardiet 

Two boys face others off screen. The taller one, wearing a red hoodie and a gray tshirt, says "This ain't New York, this is the Bronx."

Credit: Giphy

This classic film produced by culture icon Harry Belafonte, takes us back to the story of the art of hip hop culture, b-boying, djing, rap, and graffiti, as a young hip hop group from the Bronx attempts to make it big. The movie includes a breakdancing scene in front of the William H Seward statue in Madison Square Park.

Stretch and Bobbito: Radio That Changed Lives (2005), various parks

Love: The Art of Rap? Watch: the story of DJ duo Stretch and Bobbito!
Featuring appearances from Anthony Alonso, Stretch Armstrong, B-Real, and more

Another element of hip hop culture is the hip hop radio shows that gave artists a platform to share their craft, opening doors for many rappers and entertainers in the industry. In this film by Bobbito Garcia, watch the incredible story of the iconic DJ duo Stretch & Bobbito and the impact of their innovative radio show that broadcasted in a basement at Columbia University before moving to Hot 97.


The Real: Rucker Park Legends (2006), Rucker Park

Saw: The Last Dance? (Michael Jordan docu-series) Watch: The Real: Rucker Park Legends
Featuring appearances from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving, Bobbito Garcia, and more

If you're missing basketball in NYC, check out this documentary about Harlem's Rucker Park. The park is the home of legendary NYC tournaments founded by Parks employee Holcombe Rucker, and Rucker Park's court is where many NBA and streetball players made their name.


On The Town (1949), Washington Square Park

Love: Fleet Week in May? Cozy in for this classic musical: On The Town!
Starring Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, Betty Garrett, and Ann Miller

"Three smart girls and three slick fellas (who are sailors)" spend the day looking for fun and love in "New York, New York!" where "The Bronx is up and the Battery's down." Shore leave has never been this catchy! The opening number is filmed across Manhattan, as Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra and Jules Munshin sing and dance their way across the borough.


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