UPPER WEST SIDE — Outdoor summer movie season is upon us with parks and venues across the city welcoming picnickers and cinephiles to grab a spot for a big screen viewing at dusk. And while the choices range from "White Men Can't Jump" to "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and everything in between, most are chosen by the folks putting on the event.
But for the first time, boasts the Central Park Conservancy, the selections for its August film festival were voted on by the public.
Twenty films went up against each other to be narrowed down to just five, across the "Classics," "Rom-Com," "Horror" and "Adventure" categories, to be screened between Aug. 22nd and Aug. 26th in the middle of Central Park at 69th Street, just north of Sheep Meadow.
Nearly 5,000 people voted online for "West Side Story," "Hook," "Silver Linings Playbook," "The Shining," and "Raiders of the Lost Ark," which will be shown in that order across the nights, said Dena Libner, a spokeswoman for the Conservancy.
"We made sharing on social media easy so that people could rally their friends to vote for their favorites," Libner said.
Each night, the free festival, which is in its 11th year and sponsored by Bloomberg, expects a crowd of about 7,000 people to picnic and enjoy free popcorn under the (somewhat visible) stars.
"Central Park has historically been called 'the people's park,' which is why we wanted the people who love Central Park to decide which movies they'd enjoy in its landscape this year," Libner said.
Films begin at 8:00 p.m. rain or shine and seating opens at 6:30 p.m.