It was billed as Cinema under the Stars. Under the clouds was more like it. But the clouds didn’t dribble. The wind didn’t blow (too much). And with barely a hitch, The Peninsula New York unveiled its first outdoor movie night on the terrace of its roof bar Salon de Ning on Monday night.
Make that plein air cinema. The movie was Amelie, the feather light, Proust-inflected rom com that landed Audrey Tautou’s neo-Lousie Brooks haircut in countless magazines, ca 2001.
It was part one in a four-part invention – a quartet of French movies that will be shown on the last Monday of the month from now through October. Coming soon to a chic midtown terrace near you (if you happen to be in New York) are Chocolat (August 27), A Very Long Engagement (September 24) and The Artist (October 29).
We love seeing movies on big screens at hotels and signed on for the premiere, which included
a mix of press and guests who wandered over from the roof’s opposite terrace just before sunset.
The “theater” had the look of an outdoor café with guests seated in cushioned wrought iron armchairs at glass-topped tables. The screen, flanked by black curtains, stood tall at the south end of the terrace backed by tall buildings and, when the clouds parted, a full moon.
In classic movie tradition the night began with a Tom & Jerry cartoon then proceeded almost seamlessly to the movie (it took a few tries before a version with English subtitles came on). Et voila – we happily sipped champagne, nibbled a croque monsieur of brioche, gruyere and bechemal dip and tossed back caramel chocolate popcorn as Amelie’s picaresque adventures unfolded.
About the food: As befits a movie set in France it tasted as good as it looked.The Amelie cupcakes were our favorite – petite red velvets, a wink at the character’s penchant for red dresses, topped with butter cream and individual images of Amelie, Paris and the blue, white
and red flag. They were fashioned by the Peninsula’s new executive pastry chef Deden Putra, the confectionery wizard who dreamed up the 10-foot white chocolate Christmas tree and chocolate Faberge eggs at the Jumeirah Essex House, his former stomping ground.
Each movie will have its own themed menu and cocktail (the Royal Amelie consisted of Champagne and Fragoli Wild Strawberry liqueur). Admission is free with your food and drink provided you spend $35 a person (and with $24 Cine Cocktails, $12 Haute Dogs on baguettes and $8 popcorn ($10 for caramel chocolate – delicious, btw), that’s hardly a issue).
Still, it beats nachos at the multiplex by a metric mile.
Cinema Under the Stars at the Peninsula Hotel, 700 Fifth Avenue at 55th Street; 212 903-3949. There is no fee (except the price of a drink), but reservations are required.