‘King Kong’ and other monsters threaten Jamaica parks

By Juan Soto

Get those lawn chairs, blankets and snacks — it’s summertime and that means the tradition of family and classic free movies at southeast Queens parks is back.

The film ritual returns and parkgoers this year will enjoy flicks like “Monsters Inc.,” “Star Trek” and “Jurassic Park.”

The initiative is led by A Better Jamaica, a nonprofit that promotes cultural activities. This is the seventh straight summer that Family Movies in the Park will take place.

Greg Mays, the organization’s executive director, explained that he got the idea of bringing free film to the community when he was with a family member back in 2006 watching “The Wizard of Oz” at Forest Park in Forest Hills.

“I had a great time there, so I decided to do the same in our neighborhood, in Jamaica,” said Mays.

That first year, the summer of 2007, he showed two free movies.

Depending on the day of the week, the five-week screenings will be held at different neighborhood parks. The movies will be shown on a 25-foot-wide inflatable TV screen with four speakers and two subwoofers. Movies begin at dusk, between 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

On Mondays, the summertime activity will conquer Cambria/Cabbell Park, at Francis Lewis Boulevard and 120th Street. Neighbors enjoyed the first showing on Monday. The next one will be July 21. In this case, residents will enjoy “Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Family Reunion,” starring actor Tyler Perry.

On July 28, the dinosaurs are back in town. “Jurassic Park” will begin at 8:16 p.m. sharp.

On Tuesdays, the action moves to Brookville Park, at Brookville Boulevard and 144th Avenue. Among the screenings between now and mid-August, parkgoers will watch “Transformers.”

On Wednesdays, moviegoers will be at Baisley Pond Park, at Foch Boulevard and Long Street. One of the featured films is “Back to the Future,” which will be screened July 30 at 4 p.m.

And on Thursdays, the action will take place at St. Albans Park, at Merrick Boulevard and Sayres Avenue.

The family movies give way to classic movies on Fridays.

“Last year we had five James Bond movies for the classic, and this summer we will have monster movies,” said Mays, who works at Columbia Pictures.

The classic series will be shown at Rufus King Park, at Jamaica Avenue and 153rd Street. Last Friday, the series opened with “Frankenstein,” and this Friday the Empire State Building better watch out. “King Kong” will be screened at 8:24 p.m.

“Hopefully, in 10 or 20 years, people that saw the movies will share their experiences,” Mays said. “That’s what a community is all about.”

Reach reporter Juan Soto by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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