Photo courtesy of The Bel Aire Diner
There’s no word yet on when indoor movie theaters will reopen in New York, but luckily for cinema fans, there is a slew of outdoor, drive-in theaters that are continuing to operate even after Labor Day. From spots right here in Greenpoint and Astoria to those nearby in North Jersey to some cool retro locales a couple hours’ away, we’ve rounded up 13 spots to drive-in, snack on popcorn, and enjoy a good old fashioned movie night.
NEW YORK CITY
Brooklyn Drive-In at The Brooklyn Army Terminal
Hosted by Rooftop Films, this Sunset Park drive-in is showing a slew of titles from the New York Film Festival, as well as a partnership with Amazon Studios to present free screenings of films like All In: The Fight for Democracy, a documentary about voter suppression. Tickets are $35 per car and must be booked in advance. Many screenings include Q&As and features.
Skyline Drive-In in Greenpoint, Brooklyn
This drive-in bills itself as the only one “with a Manhattan skyline view,” and that certainly makes it intriguing. Located at 1 Oak Street on the East River waterfront, this venue is unique in that it also offers outdoor seating for those without a car. Showtimes range from 8:30pm to midnight, and titles include everything from Pretty Woman to Sister Act to Mad Max. There’s a concession stand and tickets are $55 for a car, $35 for a motorcycle, and $22 for a single outdoor seat.
Bel Aire Diner in Astoria, Queens
This old-school diner has been serving up classics like jumbo stacks of pancakes and chicken sandwiches since 1965, but in the wake of the pandemic, they set up a 25-foot outdoor projection screen in their parking lot, which can accommodate 40 cars. Upcoming flicks include fittingly retro picks like Grease and Beetlejuice. The best part, though, is guests can order food from the diner to enjoy in their cars. Tickets are $32 per car. Bel Aire is also hosting other outdoor, socially distant events like trivia nights, paint-n-sips, and comedy nights.
Queens Drive-In at The New York Hall of Science
A collaboration among Rooftop Films, the New York Hall of Science, and the Museum of the Moving Image, this drive-in in Flushing Meadows Corona Park aims to bring “film, culture, togetherness and joy back to the people of Queens.” A portion of each ticket sale ($35 per car) will be donated to local nonprofits serving the areas of the borough hit hardest by the pandemic. Titles range from New York Film Festival films to classics like Jurrasic Park and The Wizard of Oz. Doors open and pre-shows begin at 7pm; films start at 8pm.
Juicy Lucy BBQ: A Flick & A Feast
Across from the South Beach boardwalk, this fun BBQ spot (known for its brisket) launched the new “A Flick & A Feast” series, where drive-in guests can get food delivered to their vehicle. Tickets are $40 per car and include a $20 credit toward food. Upcoming screenings run the gamut from Goodfellas and A Bronx Tale to Pulp Fiction and the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Showtimes are 5pm or 8:15pm.
Newark Moonlight Cinema
Located in historic downtown Newark, on the former site of the Newark Bears Baseball Stadium, this drive-in movie theater will run through October 4, playing everything from cult classics to new releases and highlighting African American filmmakers, actors, and actresses. The showtimes are 9pm Friday through Sunday, but gates open at 7pm, and you can order from the mobile concessions app before the movie begins. The site can hold 350 cars. Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for children 4-12, and free for children under 4.
Drive-in movies at 50 Harrison Street in Hoboken
The city of Hoboken has started a new drive-in movie series in a parking lot at Harrison Street and Observer Highway. The family-friendly films (Frozen, Toy Story, Spiderman) will be shown on Thursdays through Saturdays, with gates opening at 6:45pm and movies starting at 7:30pm. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are $25 per car.
The Gateway Drive-In Theater
Set up as a fundraiser for the Performing Arts Center of Suffolk County, this drive-in experience costs $35 per car. Upcoming titles include Mean Girls, Risky Business, and Scream. Movies start at 8pm and all tickets must be purchased in advance.
Overlook Drive-In Theater in Poughkeepsie
This drive-in is actually not new; it’s been in operation since 1955. It’s about an hour and 40 minutes’ drive from NYC, but the family-owned business says its six-story screen is the largest in the Tri-State area and they’re also known for their double features. Plus, tickets are just $10 for adults, $7 for kids 5-11, and free for kids under 5.
Hyde Park Drive-In Theater
The sister to Overlook, this drive-in has been around since 1950. Ticket prices are the same as Overlook, but it’s a little bit closer to a two-hour drive.
Four Brothers Drive-In
Located in Armenia, it’ll take you a little over two hours to drive to this outdoor theater, but there’s a ton to do here in addition to watching a movie. Opened in 2014, Four Brothers was designed as a super retro throwback to the 1960s, with car-hop service, lawn games, a hotel, and overnight camping. On the more modern side of things, there are electric car charging stations. There are two showings seven days a week and tickets are $11 for adults and $6 for children.
Shankweiler’s Drive-In Theater
This is only a two-hour drive, which may well be worth it to watch a flick at America’s oldest drive-in, which was opened in 1934. For now, they’re only open on weekends. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for children 12 & under, and free for children under 2. If you want to make a day of it, Orefield, Pennsylvania is also near Dorney Park, the Lehigh Valley Zoo, and the cultural city of Allentown.
The Mahoning Drive-In
Also a two-hour drive from NYC, this is another retro theater that’s been in business since 1949. As they explain on their website, “In 2014 our team decided to transfer back to a Reel-to-Reel system and show nothing but retro classics on original 35mm format.” In October, get ready for a list of spooky titles, including the three-night, eight-film Freddy Fest and a special “remake double-take” of The Thing. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for kids.
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