Drive-In Movie Theater

”Great theater is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to”.

May 15th, 2020 marks a new beginning post Covid-19 in the USA. While the NJ Governor permitted non-essential businesses to open for curbside pickup, NY Governor Andrew Cuomo gave Drive-In Movie Theaters approval to reopen. With movie theaters shuttered amid Covid-19, the Drive-In Movie Theaters experiment a momentary return with a considerable increase in the number of visitors in the aftermath of the pandemic. On the other hand, there is a noticeable increase in the number of people gathering in parks while the thermometers are reaching higher degrees. The social distancing and face mask requirement is the implement of the new normal that is going to stick for a while.

Drive-In Movie Theaters date back to 1933 when Richard Hollingshead had the great idea to originate the first movie theater ever to be open in Camden, New Jersey. The new tendency reached it’s peak later on during the 50s with the arrival of in-car speakers. The concept of watching movies under the stars was not entirely new, as there were some silent films at the beaches before. However, the auto-parts salesman conceived the first drive-in as a result of a problem: his mother wouldn’t fit in a traditional movie theater seat. Although, some of the movies that show up on the Drive-In Movie Theaters were previously released, his new concept of a movie theater consisted in offering a car-loving society a more flexible place for entertainment, where families would gather together. It’s not just that one sees a new movie, but also the whole experience and comfort one has during the movie.

At the outskirts of New York State one can find the Warwick Drive-In Movie Theater originated somewhere in the 50s. As the whole country is preparing for a gradual reopening under special conditions, we couldn’t be more excited to be able to go back to one of the most authentic experience outdoors here in the US. Nevertheless, you have to always wear a face mask and keep social distancing whenever you are not in the car. I must say that people here follow the rules accordingly in order to go back to a certain normality. I still find it quite astonishing to see people in their pj’s showing up at an outdoor movie theater. Before the novel coronavirus, you would just show up early and purchase your tickets on site. Due to the current situation, now you have to order your tickets online. Moreover, ticket holders will still have to show up at least one hour earlier if they want to catch a good spot. They take it quite seriously here, where people will bring their pillows and blankets to get as comfortable as possible in the back of their trucks. Here, the Drive-In Movie Theater counts with three screens projecting three movies at the same time. When you arrive at the drive-in, they provide you with the radio frequency for the movie you previously picked up. This was my second time checking-in at a Drive-In Movie Theater. I can say I was better prepared than the first time by bringing a couple of camping chairs. On the way to the Warwick Drive-In Movie Theater, we discovered the Monksville Reservoir. Right before the sunset, the views were absolutely delightful. It’s the ideal place for canoeing or kayaking, especially at sunset.

All in all, I take the chance to share my experience regarding the Drive-In Movie Theater and encourage other participants to give it a try to one of the most american experience amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Whether you are a movie lover or not, this is undoubtedly a must-do while living in the US. Despite living in such unprecedented times, we must keep our sense of humor alive. As Charly Chaplin once said: ”Nothing is permanent in this wicked world, not even our troubles.”


Cristina Marin


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