With the onset of the pandemic last spring, New Yorkers lost access to many of the city’s cultural institutions. However, one blast from the past experienced a renaissance: drive-in movie theaters.
Co-sponsored by the office of the Queens Borough President, the New York Hall of Science will be hosting a free drive-in film series for the second year in a row.
Following last year’s wildly successful screenings, the “Free Movie Nights at the Queens Drive-In” program plans on hosting six free events throughout the spring and summer of 2021.
“We’re not out of the woods when it comes to COVID-19 just yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t safely enjoy evenings in Flushing Meadows Corona Park with our family, friends and neighbors,” said Borough President Donovan Richards. “From kids flicks to cinematic classics, there is something for every family to enjoy on the big screen this spring.”
The first screening was held on May 4. Appropriately, the original Star Wars was shown to celebrate “May the Fourth Be With You.” Future screenings will include the films Inside Out, Moonlight, Coming to America, Monsoon Wedding, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. A full list of movies and show times is available at queensdrivein.com.
The Museum of the Moving Image, Parks Department, and Brooklyn-based non-profit Rooftop Films are also helping organize the events, while Queens Night Market will provide food from local vendors.
Social distancing will be strictly enforced, and all guests must register for screenings online before arriving.
Last year saw a resurgence in drive-in movies throughout the five boroughs, including the Skyline Drive-In in Greenpoint, the Bel-Aire Diner Drive-In in Astoria, and the Brooklyn Army Terminal Drive-In in Sunset Park.
For many New Yorkers, these unique cinematic experiences have provided a safe and novel way to enjoy their city during the pandemic.
“When we conceived of the Queens Drive-In last year, our goal was to create an accessible space where the people of the city could come together safely to experience the communal joy of cinema,” explained Rooftop Films president Dan Nuxoll. “We have presented more than two-dozen free screenings over the last few months, including memorable New York premieres of many of the films that were recently celebrated at the Academy Awards.”