We’ve just about reached that point in the summer when sidewalks heat up so much that the only time it’s pleasant to go outside is early morning or at night. Parents with young kids have the early-morning thing covered (sigh), but many of us are starved for low-stress ways to spend the evening together en famille. Luckily, hot-pavement season coincides with a number of outdoor film series touting kid-friendly flicks. This week alone, three fun family classics are on deck in three boroughs, all of them free of charge. In Brooklyn, head to Brooklyn Bridge Park to catch the G-rated and very fun Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, in which our endearing man-dog duo must protect the village garden plots against a huge marauder. (Show up early to hear D.J.’s from Brooklyn Radio spin tunes before sunset. No need to pack dinner; Rice Restaurants will be selling food.) In Manhattan, you can finally introduce the offspring to the world’s most beloved alien in the PG-rated E.T., at the Charles Street Pier. (Bonus: free popcorn! Bring your own Reese’s.) And in Queens, watch the delightful and heartwarming documentary about an urban dance competition, Mad Hot Ballroom, also rated PG, at the Astoria Park & Pool. (Grateful parents should direct their thanks to the fine folks at the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy, the Hudson River Park Trust, and the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition.) Now a word about that bedtime thing—relax. It’s summer. Everyone needs a little night air. The littlest kids will either collapse in parent arms, bringing back happy memories of BabyFlix/Rattle N’ Reel days, or they won’t. Either way, your kids will remember the thrill of an evening outdoors.
7/24: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, around 8:30 p.m. Empire-Fulton Ferry State/Brooklyn Bridge Park, Main St. at Plymouth St., Dumbo (718-802-0603 or brooklynbridgepark.org). 7/25: E.T., dusk (around 8:30 p.m.), Pier 46, West St. at Charles St. (212-627-2121 or hudsonriverpark.org). 7/28: Mad Hot Ballroom, dusk (about 8:15 p.m.), Astoria Park & Pool, 19th St. at 23rd Dr. (718-728-7820 or centralastoria.org).