8 drive-in theaters to check out in the Tri-state area this summer

5 mins read

No longer a thing of the past, drive-in movie theaters are the new, old-school rave. 

People might naturally feel bummed out that movie theaters in the tri-state area are still closed to the public due to COVID-19. Luckily, there is now a safe and just as entertaining alternative to enjoy films on the big screen. Drive-in movie theaters: once considered a relic recreational activity, are making a comeback during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Though Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York are in the advanced stages of reopening, for NYC, in-door recreational spaces like malls, museums, and movie theaters are still closed. Consequently, people got creative, using parking lots and waterfronts to set up their screens. Here are some drive-in theaters you can check out this summer:

Brooklyn Drive-in at the Brooklyn Army Terminal

Courtesy of Rooftop Films

Located in the Sunset Park neighborhood, this drive-in theater provides viewers with access to sought after independent and foreign films through October. The pier has amazing views of the east river waterfront and lower Manhattan. Plus, the screen stretches out over 1200 feet. Moviegoers can purchase their tickets online for 35 dollars, a standard entry for one car with up to five passengers in it. Tickets can be printed or shown to staff from their phones. Doors open around 7:30 PM and the showing begins around 8:30 PM and lasts through 11:00 PM at the latest. Some of the films that have already aired include John Lewis: Good Trouble, The Fight, Relic, and Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets. 

Skyline Drive-in 

Courtesy of Skyline Drive

Showing movies daily at 9PM, Skyline offers attendees a fabulous view of the Manhattan skyline along the Greenpoint waterfront. In addition, it’s got a great lineup. Films that have already aired include Jordan Peele’s Us, Rob Marshall’s Chicago, and Michael Gracey’s The Greatest Showman. If you want something to look forward to, they’ve got a diverse selection of films coming out including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Grease, and The Avengers. Food-trucks are also located on-site. Tickets stand at 54.99 per car for up to seven passengers and 34.99 for motorcycles. Attendees are expected to arrive at least an hour and half before the film begins. All spots are first-come first-serve. 

Queens’ Bel Aire Diner drive-in

Courtesy of Queen’s Bel Aire Diner

Around since 1965, the Astoria based restaurant partnered with Long Island Movie Nights and became one of the first establishments to reinvent itself as a drive-in movie theater for the summer. It uses a 25 foot screen to make it happen and the space allows 30 to 40 cars to view a single movie at a time. The diner will sometimes screen up to four movies a week due to increased popularity. Interested viewers need to follow the diner’s Instagram account in order to view its upcoming films. Some movies aired in the past include Mean Girls, Forrest Gump, and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

The diner also provides moviegoers with the option to buy food from the establishment during the film. Customers can order using the diner’s app or website and will be delivered to their vehicle by staffers using their license plate number. Tickets are available for purchase on the diner’s website and screenings are announced on its instagram a few days beforehand.

| Read: NYC continues 100-year old tradition of outdoor movies

Pleasant Valley Drive-In Theatre 

Located in Barkhamsted, Connecticut, this drive-in theatre has been operating since 1947. The theatre sits on a 3 acre lot near the Farmington River. Screenings last on weekends from May through October, though the drive-in also opens on Thursday nights during the summer. Moreover, it’s got a family-friendly line-up of films coming up this week including Zootopia, Deadpool, and The Jungle Book. 

Normally, the space hosts up to 250 cars per film. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they only host up to 175 vehicles at a time to enforce social distancing guidelines. In addition, the theatre offers movie concessions to viewers. Pleasant Valley also offers a Thursday night carload admission of just 20 dollars from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. Friday through Sunday standard admissions cost 10 dollars per person ages 13 and up, five dollars per person ages six through 12, and are free for children under the age of six. Gates open at 6:30PM and tickets are sold at the door. Pleasant Valley is a cash-only establishment. 

Ingersoll Auto Pop-up Drive-in Theater 

Courtesy of Ingersoll Pop-up Drive in Theatre

Made possible by Ingersoll Auto of Danbury and DNR Laboratories, Ingersoll Drive-in is located outside the Edmond Town Hall Theater in Newtown, Connecticut. It can seat up to 42 vehicles at a time. The theater offers a wide array of both adult and kid friendly films. Unlike other drive-in theaters however, they offer multiple showings of the same film for up to a week. This week, the theatre will screen Disney’s 101 Dalmations

Tickets prices stand at 10 dollars per car, regardless of how many passengers are in the vehicle and are sold on the theater’s website. They must be pre-ordered online and printed to be allowed entry. Viewers arrive by 8:30PM and the films start at 9PM.  

Delsea Drive-in Theatre

Courtesy of Delsea Drive in Theatre

This theater is New Jersey’s only permanent drive-in cinema. It reopened in 2004 after closing in 1987. The theater’s location is prime, situated less than an hour’s drive from Atlantic City and Philadelphia.  It’s also got a great, though limited selection of popular and award-winning films including Bohemian Rhapsody, Despicable Me, and The Rental. Sometimes, the theater will screen two movies in a single night following a 15 to 30 minute intermission. Movies are scheduled on a weekly basis.

The drive-in theater is open Thursday through Sunday during the summer. Tickets cost $11 dollars per person over the age of three-years-old. Normally, tickets could be purchased in-person at the box office. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tickets must now be purchased online at the theater’s website. In addition, food and drink purchases from concession stands must also be made online. Vehicle attendants are also on site to ensure that cars are parked 10 feet apart to keep social distancing. Masks must be worn by all attendees. 

Ramsey Drive-up Movies

Courtesy of Ramsey Drive-up Movies

Located in Ramsey, the theatre uses Eric S. Smith School’s parking lot. Viewers can catch family favorites like Disney’s live action The Lion King, Moana, and Toy Story 4. Films are up on the theater’s website through August 6, though it is unclear if there will be any more showings after. 

Movies start at 8:45PM, but viewers can come by when the entrance opens at 8PM to order food from concession stands in cash-only. Tickets for the films are purchased online and are sold at 25 dollars per carload. Cars are parked on a first-come, first serve basis. Guests are welcome to bring lawn chairs to sit outside their vehicles but they must adhere to social distancing guidelines. 

Newark Moonlight Cinema

Courtesy of Newark Moonlight Cinema

This cinema is a pop-up drive-in theater located at the site of the former Newark Bears Baseball Stadium in the downtown district. The space can hold up to 350 vehicles per showing. Movies will be screened on Friday through Sunday from July 24, 2020 to October 4, 2020. This drive-in theater is especially unique in that it selects films to highlight African American actors, actresses, and filmmakers. Some of the films airing this weekend include Girls Trip, Set it Off, and the award winning Straight Outta Compton. 

Gates open at around 7:00PM and movies begin at 9:00PM. Tickets must be purchased for each passenger of the vehicle over three years old. Tickets are 12 dollars for viewers ages 12 and up and eight dollars for children between four and 12 years of age. Moviegoers must purchase their tickets online beforehand, but they can buy concessions onsite before the movie starts. They do not accept cash at any selling stations. Viewers can sit outside their vehicles during screenings, but they must wear masks and practice social distancing at all times.

Sara Elroubi is based out of Queens and covers current affairs and social justice issues.

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