Looking for the perfect Thursday night plan? Catch Throwback Thursday Movie Night in Union Square Park before summer ends. Next week, August 8th, they’ll be showing Ghostbusters. If you’ve seen it, you can always go back for another watch. If you haven’t, you can now. I went to their showing of Space Jam yesterday, so I’m here to tell you how you (yes you) can turn a free movie into a full night with your friends, family, or with strangers. 

Throwback Thursday Movie Night is a part of Citi Summer in the Square, an umbrella event with free entertainment throughout the week. August 8th has workout classes (Yoga, Boxing, and Tai Chi) from 7-10am, and then children’s programming from 9-5. 5 pm is when the adult-friendly fun starts, with a performance of Dueling Drummers with the NYU Steel Band. There are also more workout classes going until as late as 8:30. 

Union Square Park is one of the most accessible parks to get to. The 4, 5, 6, L, N, Q, R, and W, all meet at the park. There are no tickets needed, just like the rest of Summer in the Square. Movie Night isn’t where you think it would be. Maybe it just wasn’t where I thought it would be. It’s on the North end of the park, opposite from all of those steps where people sit and watch smaller performances.

Throwback Thursday Movie Night. Photo courtesy of summerinthesquare.nyc

The website says that Movie Night starts at 6:30 pm, but that’s just when you can start gathering. It’s also when they start offering food. Union Square has delicious food all around it, but Summer in the Square is partnered with Bocce USQ, an Italian eatery, which will be selling seasonal pizzas in the park. There is also free Honest T, popcorn (Pret A Manger), and snacks from the local Whole Foods, while supplies last.

There is nothing wrong with heading straight to the movie, putting down a blanket, and hanging out with pizza and snacks until Ghostbusters starts at dusk (which will be 8:33 pm on the 8th). Likewise, you have plenty of time to do the 5:30 pm Dance Cardio and the 6:30 pm Cardio HIIT before sitting down for pizza and a movie. But Union Square is also a hub for great shops, restaurants, and reasonably-priced food carts. Feel free to wander, as long as you’re back in time for the movie. 

The movie experience itself is pretty low maintenance. The screen is a giant inflatable monstrosity, so you’ll have no trouble seeing the film no matter where you sit. It’s free-for-all picnic seating, so bring a blanket to sit on. Limited space is available, but there was plenty of room when my friends and I arrived close to dusk.

Last note: To the volunteer who danced through the opening Space Jam theme song, you made our night.

What you’ll need:

– A blanket

– Money for pizza

– Some friends

What you won’t need:

– A ticket or RSVP

– Alcohol (it’s forbidden in the park)

– Drinks (unless you hate Honest T)

– Binoculars to see the movie