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The Revival of Drive-In Movies

By: Julia Garelick

After being stuck in quarantine for what seems like countless months, it is exciting to get out of the house, while maintaining appropriate social distance of course. At first, options seemed slim, but restaurants and entertainment venues sought a unique way to change that with the revival of drive-in movies! These makeshift theatres are making a massive comeback as the standard cinema experience is currently impossible. Although the local theatres may be temporarily closed, this doesn’t mean that you can’t leave your house to catch a movie on a big screen! 

Drive-in movie theaters in New York were given the green light to reopen under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s phased plan to restart the economy. Under new restrictions to help curb the spread of COVID-19, moviegoers are being asked to wear masks and must stay in their vehicles at all times with few exceptions such as to use the bathroom. At a modern drive-in movie theater, viewers can park their car in front of a large projection screen and tune their FM radio to a specific station to hear the film’s synchronized audio. The experience is not quite the same as seeing a blockbuster premiere, but it’s a retro form of socializing and entertainment we could see become popular again. 

There are several locations across Long Island that are hosting these events, and if you are able to, it would be thrilling to attend. They will be screened all summer, according to News 12, and certain venues already held successful trial events as early as late May, with plans to continue if movie-goers can adhere to mandated social distancing measures. Here are just a few of places that have held, or are planning to hold, drive-in style movies: 

  • Finding Nemo at Tappen Beach on Thursday, May 28
  • Playing With Fire at Broadway Commons on Tuesday, June 2
  • Solo: A Star Wars Story at Tobay Beach on Thursday, June 4
  • Onward at Ellsworth W. Allen Town Park on Tuesday, June 9
  • Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory at Fireman’s Field on Thursday, June 11
  • Thor: The Dark World at Westfield Sunrise on Tuesday, June 16
  • E.T. at Broadway Commons on Thursday, June 18
  • Jumani: The Next Level at Ellsworth W. Allen Town Park on Tuesday, June 23
  • Grease at Tobay Beach on Thursday, June 25

If these locations are too out of the way for you, Adventureland and the NYCB Theater in Westbury are also showing movies within the next few weeks. You can check their websites and social media pages for additional information.  

Drive-in movies are the perfect, low-cost form of entertainment, and the setting for so many summer memories that this current generation would enjoy. For those who are Netflix addicts or are used to watching films on an iPhone, this is an amazing experience. So sit back in your car, relax, and enjoy the big screen!

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