Friday, June 20, 2008

Roosevelt Island Summer Outdoor Movie Night Starts on Saturday, But In Wrong Location - Bring It Back To Southpoint Park

Image of Roosevelt Island outdoor movie showing of Neverending Story from Roosevelt Island 360

Outdoor movie night returns to Roosevelt Island tomorrow night, June 21, with the showing of The Neverending Story. From RIOC:
Summer Movie Series

Look forward to seeing some of your favorite family movies on a giant, inflatable, 2-story outdoor movie screen.
Where: Fire Fighters Field (near the Tram)
When: June 21st- Pre-show start, 8:45 pm
Film start, 9:00pm
Movies: The Neverending Story
Runtime: 94 minutes
Rated PG
Blankets, lawn chairs and picnics are welcome.
For some reason, RIOC had decided to move the outdoor movie venue from Southpoint Park, where it had previously been held, to Firefighters Field. As reported by Roosevelt Island 360, the reason for changing the site of the outdoor movie series was:
... to allow more residents and guests access to the site as the gravel path and incline made it difficult for many to attend.
This is a very, very, very bad idea. It defeats the whole purpose of going to an outdoor movie which is to enjoy a movie in a beautiful, scenic area that has wonderful views. According to other NYC outdoor movie venues:
offers visitors and New Yorkers a chance to watch a movie, as well as enjoy some of New York City's best outdoor scenery -- from skylines to parks.
There are few, if any, outdoor venues in New York City with more beautiful views than Southpoint Park or a more suitable site for an outdoor movie location.

Click on link here to fully view beautiful panoramic nighttime view of Midtown Manhattan as seen from Southpoint Park on Roosevelt Island.

Instead of Southpoint Park, RIOC has chosen as an outdoor movie venue, Firefighters Field, that has views of the underside of the Queensboro Bridge, Keyspan Power Plant, Roosevelt Island Steam Plant and the Riverwalk construction site. Absolutely ridiculous!

Image of Firefighters Field from Bridge and Tunnel Club

Roosevelt Island 360 has an excellent video review of what a Southpoint Park movie night is like:

And a reader of 360's post makes the following excellent observation concerning changing the site from Southpoint Park to Firefighters Field and the importance of special venues for outdoor movies which I agree with wholeheartedly.
Once again what sounds like a sensible rationale for doing something is being given as an answer to your question. But changing the venue of these movies is something that significantly decreases the whole movie going experience. It's also taking the easy way out. The first movies shown at SouthPoint were accessible to everyone. The hospitals were part of the organizing team and quite graciously gave their bus to the team for use during the events. Seniors and disabled were picked up on Main St. and driven up the East Side path right to the southern tip, where chairs had been set up for them. During the showing, the bus stood by and made several trips back for anyone who didn't want to stay until the end.

Did anyone ask them to do this again? And, if they did ask and were turned down, how about asking the residents for a solution? A fund raiser to cover the cost of a bus could have been done, or a donation box at the showings, or a million other options.

I disagree with your statement that "...the idea is to watch the movies anyway." Outdoor movies are as much about the venue as they are about the movie. In fact the movie selection is almost an afterthought. If you want to see a particular movie, you can go to any theater you want and watch in comfort. Outdoor movies are more of a total experience.

The whole point of showing these movies in the first place was to introduce residents to SouthPoint Park, which had been closed for years. It was an attempt to get people down to that end of the Island to show them how terrific that area is and what kind of events could be done down there. With all the new residents on the Island, it's a perfect time to do this again.

Were the residents asked if they wanted a change of venue, or was the decision made in RIOC without input from their customers (the residents)? It's not too late to change the location back!
The decision to move the outdoor movie venue from Southpoint to Firefighters Field represents the same dull and bleak outlook that thinks destroying Southpoint's East River waterfront and NYC skyline views in order to build the Louis Kahn Death Box (some incorrectly call it the FDR Memorial) is a good idea!

I have asked RIOC to return future Roosevelt Island Outdoor Movie Nights to Southpoint Park. I hope RIOC does so and if they do, I am sure arrangements can be made so that anyone who wants to attend will be able to do so.


Anonymous said...

Interesting point of view. I would hate, though, if the RIOC moves the movie back to Southpoint Park and start offering bus services. In times like ours it would be a tremendous waste of resources like oil just to make sure that the movie is set against the Manhattan skyline. Every little drop we can save will go a long way.


If your only concern is not wasting a single drop of oil, RIOC can use the Hybrid electric buses. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

Oil and other resources. Or how about lowering the carbon foot print? Like I said, installing a bus service just to make sure that everybody can attend a movie viewing set against the skyline is a little over the top. You can enjoy a movie on Firefighter's Field. Moving it down south is a luxury that we don't have anymore (when it comes to providing transportation).

But then, this is about personal priorities.

Anonymous said...

Good point. These islanders never seem to be satisfied with anything.

Anonymous said...

Not a good point. The fuel consumption from the tram (the end point of the bus route now) to Southpoint park (where it would go a couple of times when the movie is showing) is neglible, but the difference in venue is enormous. This comment HAD to be written by a RIOC person. They're the only ones I know who'd call using the hospital bus for a few additional trips "installing a bus service". Talk about exaggeration!

"These Islanders" were quite satisfied with the movies where they were. No one asked for them to be moved. It's just easier for RIOC to set them up at Firefighters Field. To say they did it for the seniors is absurd. Did you happen to see the selection of movies? Every one is a kid's movie. No seniors were there, and none will be going to the rest of the kid's movies. So let's at least be honest about the move. It was done for the convenience of RIOC and no other reason.