In times where indoor movie theatres are no longer safe options for summer entertainment, drive-in movie theatres have blast from the past in and around the NYC area as the socially distanced answer to film cravings everywhere. From classics and contemporaries with an unbeatable view of the Manhattan skyline, to blockbusters and drag shows in a diner parking lot, these unique drive-in options channel retro ‘50s energy with the eccentric charm. Grab your car, pack some snacks (or don’t: some of the dining options at these drive-ins are worth waiting for), and head to one of our picks for the Grease-esque activity that will make your summer. Side note: if you didn’t read the last part of this post’s title in your best falsetto whilst pointing to the sky, did you really read it?
Skyline Drive-In ~ Greenpoint, Brooklyn
The major draw of this new drive-in is clearly the view. Located on the East River Waterfront, the Skyline Drive-In is the filming location seen in a number of Fendi and Converse ads and is known for a cinematic experience against the backdrop of the Manhattan skyline. With showings of classic summer movies like The Goonies and Jaws as well as more recent hits like Wonder Woman and Joker, there is certainly something for every audience at this location. They even offer outdoor seating for folks without cars and have an array of food-trucks on-site ready to fuel your in-movie snack needs.
Bel Aire Diner Drive-In ~ Astoria, NY
While the not-typically-spacious nature of city living doesn’t seem conducive to drive-in theatres, the Bel Aire Diner (which been in Astoria since 1965) has found a way to tuck one into their parking lot to accommodate up to 40 cars! And while they do show movies such as Ghostbusters and The Breakfast Club, what truly makes this drive-in unique is the other events that they have designed to entertain guests from the comfort of their cars. From in-car trivia night (where the winner ereives a $50 Bel Aire gift card!) to a drive-in drag variety show called Dear in the Headlights, Bel Aire’s other drive-in events are just as intriguing as their movies! And bonus: because the theatre is right outside of the diner, movie-goers can pre-order food to be delivered straight to the car!
Queens Drive-In at The New York Hall of Science ~ Corona, NY
By the same people who created the sold-out drive-in events at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, the Queens Drive-In is located behind the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which offers a special view of their feature films with the background of the Hall’s rockets (yes, rockets). Besides more conventional movie offerings such as The Muppet Movie, the Queen’s Drive-In also shows independent foreign films such as Blanco de Verano by Mexican filmmaker Rodrigo Ruiz Patterson. Notably, a portion of every ticket sold is donated to the local non-profit organization, Elmcor, which works to support Queens communities that have suffered most deeply from the pandemic.
Tribeca Drive-In ~ Orchard Beach, Bronx and Nickerson Beach, NY *THROUGH August 2
While events like the renowned Tribeca Film Festival are not happening anytime soon, the spirit of the movie-lover persists beyond the reach of the pandemic. From the typical organizers of the Tribeca Film Festival, these pop-up drive-ins are only running flicks through August 2 and include screenings of The Fast & the Furious, Selena, and Casino Royale with IMAX enhanced images and available concessions. This is a summer film fest ready for our new reality, bringing a quality cinematic experience to distanced, but ready audiences.