New York City offers an amazing array of open-air movie screenings on different locations throughout the summer, and one of the organizers is Rooftop Film Club. Last summer, they began screening films on YOTELs rooftop in Manhattan, which became an immediate success. This year they have expanded the program to include OfficeOps in the trendy Bushwick area in Brooklyn.
It was a truly magical evening when they showed "Pan's Labyrinth" on the rooftop, with the beautiful sunset in the background, followed by a brilliant full moon.
A mixture of New Yorkers and tourists began to drop in an hour before the screening, and was welcomed by the staff outside the building, since OfficeOps discreet entrance could easily be missed otherwise. The Bushwick neighborhood mostly consists of old warehouses, recently remodeled into homes and offices, and they are not handicap friendly.
Ashleigh, the manager, helped me up in the freight elevator, so I wouldn't have to walk up all the stairs. The last two floors getting up to the roof, however, offered no alternatives but the stairs, which was about as much as I could manage with a broken foot on crutches. But the stunning view from the rooftop was well worth it.
The roof itself really looks like most other roofs of old New York buildings, except it has been fixed up with coat of paint. But the view of Brooklyn and Manhattan's skylines are spectacular. Comfortable loungers are placed on a plastic lawn, between a large, 18 foot movie screen, and a popcorn-shaped projector hut.
Rooftop Film Club is an English business which has spread from London to New York and Los Angeles. Ashleigh came from England to manage Rooftop Film Club's Bushwick branch, and told me that OfficeOps offers twice as many seats (188 comfortable lounge chairs with headphones) as YOTEL, alopg with a larger screen (18 feet compared to YOTEL's 15 feet). The tickets cost less ($19 compared to YOTEL's $33, which includes popcorn and champagne), and doesn't sell out as fast.
Upon entering the rooftop, the guests passes by a small kiosk, where staff checks the names off the list and give out the headphones. There is popcorn and soda for sale, and if you haven't brought food but feel a bit hungry, you can order takeaway.
My Argentine neighbors in the lounge chairs next to me ordered pizza from famous Roberta's around the corner. It looked very tasty, and I saw that many visitors had brought wine or beer as well. However, the thought of the steep staircase in combination with my crutches, made me opt for water.
Then it was time for selfies. Not mandatory, perhaps, but I did not see many visitors who missed the chance to take pictures of themselves and their company in front of the magnificent views. Especially just before the movie started, when the sun was on it's way down and painted the sky beautifully red. In fact, it got a bit crowded in the north corner of the roof that overlooked Manhattan.
I do not know if it was because of the rain storm, or because we were so many flights up, but it soon became a bit chilly like a Swedish summer eve, contrasting New York's tropical heat down on the sidewalk below.
Finally it was time for "Pan's Labyrinth," Guillermo del Toro's masterpiece from 2006, to start. As if the magic had spread from the film's protagonist Ofelia's fantasy world on the screen, the rooftop in Bushwick was spared from the thunderstorm performing it's magic in the horizon. A large full moon cast it's ghostly light between lightnings, and a cool breeze swept over the audience. It was as if the weather accompanied "Pan's Labyrinth" to enhance the movie experience.
10.30 p.m. the film was over, and soon we were back down in the New York heat on the street below. But we all brought with us a magic movie experience, and I will be looking forward to the next opportunity to seat myself in Rooftop Film Club's comfortable loungers again.
OfficeOps is located on 57 Thames St in Brooklyn. The easiest way to get there is by the 7 train to Morning street, which takes about 15-20 minutes from Manhattan.
Annika Andersson, as published on MovieZine July 27, 2016