Lights out for kid flicks in Willamsburg

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A volunteer organization that screened movies for kids every summer since 2005 at East River State Park in Williamsburg is drawing the curtain on its event, claiming it is fed up with working with the state agency that refuses to help it put on the show.

Susan Anderson of Town Square Inc., a volunteer group that hosted free screenings of films such as “Wall-E,” “Ice Age,” and “Toy Story 3” on the waterfront, said her group is dimming the lights because the state, which she claims is extremely friendly to for-profit groups that use the park, refuses to chip in.

“We raised all the money and did it for free,” said Anderson. “It’s a shame that the state is willing to allow the Smorgasburg and the Brooklyn Flea while making it so difficult for small groups to work with them.”

Since 2008, each July and August, Town Square presented six weeks of movies in East River State Park. Held Thursday nights, each show was kicked off by live children’s music until it was dark enough to start the film.

Anderson declined to go into specific details, but all organizations putting on events in the park are required to bankroll their own security and cleanup, and provide all the necessary equipment. For a small volunteer organization, that can get pricey, forcing some to find ways to finance the events without have to charge for tickets at the gate. Brooklyn Bridge Park’s “Movies With a View,” for instance, has corporate sponsorship that helps foot the bill.

Anderson said the children’s movies typically attracted about 1,000 viewers.

Some neighbors wondered why the state couldn’t help the group put on its show by using some of the $3,000 a week rental fee it collects from Smorgasburg and Brooklyn Flea.

“They allowed this huge flea market to come in every weekend for seven months but they’re not willing to spend a few thousand dollars to get children’s movies,” said Jonathan Burkan. “They are pushing away a woman from the community who has been doing something for the kids for years while keeping the huge corporations who are only here to make money.”

But the state said it is working on getting other films in the park, as well as a staff-run children’s activity series that would include lawn bowling, giant chess and basketball.

Town Square currently runs the Go Green! Greenpoint festival and is also working on building a science and art museum somewhere on the Williamsburg or Greenpoint waterfront.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at
Updated 10:11 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Mike from Williamsburg says:
Glad to hear it. Keep children out of Williamsburg! Go to Park Slope or Westchester.
May 28, 2013, 7:30 am
Juan Gowanus from Greenpoint says:
Sounds like Anderson is trying to confuse the issues. She wants the state to fund her pet project. That has nothing to do with Smorgasburg or Brooklyn Flea, which pay for themselves and then some.
May 28, 2013, 8:42 am
Shirley from 11211 says:
Seriously hoping that Mike will be the first Citibike casualty. I mean that with all sincerity.
May 28, 2013, 9:02 am
Shirley from 11211 says:
Seriously hoping that Mike will be the first Citibike casualty. I mean that with all sincerity.
May 28, 2013, 9:02 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
I'd rip out every bike lane in Williamsburg if it insured that Shirley's granddaughters get hit by a minivan.
May 28, 2013, 9:19 am
Joey from Clinton Hills says:
Kids don't need more movies...they need physical activity and healthy food.
May 28, 2013, 9:31 am
mc from 11211 says:
Yuppies and hipsters don't need more food , booze , and flea market crap; they need to learn how to enjoy parks. Movies in parks is a far better use of them than as commercial venues to buy overpriced, mediocre consumables in.
May 28, 2013, 12:13 pm
Adam from Bedstuy says:
Bedstuy has a similar program so if we can pull it off then I'm not sure why this group can't. I just hope it doesn't change with our hipster invasion; please stay on your side of flushing!
May 28, 2013, 5:34 pm
Johnny Hammersticks from Brooklyn says:
Wishing someone's grand kids getting run over by a minivan. Pure class right there.
May 28, 2013, 6:04 pm
Richard from Williamsburg says:
I went to a lot of the movies there, and to the person who said kids should move around a lot, they did move around a lot before the movie. The kid-friendly bands had them dancing like crazy, and the kids ran around all over the place. I am over 60 and have no children or grandchildren, but I was happy to see the kids in the neighborhood have these Thursday night SummerStarz events.
May 28, 2013, 7:30 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
mike from Williamsburg - kick out the darkies as well but do not send the w chester or slope - try bay ridge
May 28, 2013, 8:26 pm
mc from 11211 says:
Check out this article. Understand how and why parks are a monetized, commercialized, corporate ——show. Our "community leaders", elected officials, and Parks non-profits are to blame.
May 29, 2013, 9:42 am

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