Four drive-in drives in upstate New York rated as the Northeast’s best


Aurelius, NY – Buy Your Tickets, Movie Fans: Four of the Northeast’s busiest drive-in theaters are in upstate New York.

Drive-ins – hosted in central New York City, western New York, and the Hudson Valley – were included in the USA Today’s ranking of the Northeast’s 10 best drive-ins. Upstate theaters topped the list, appearing alongside open-air theaters in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

The ranking comes as drive-ins, once considered a relic of America’s entertainment past, are making a comeback during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Outdoor theaters are almost tailor-made for the age of social distancing: Customers can watch movies in the comfort of their temperature-controlled cars rather than sitting side-by-side in an indoor theater. And instead of lining up for popcorn and a giant soda pop, some drive-ins will deliver carhop-style snacks to customers’ cars.

Here are the four Upstate drive-ins worthy of applause on USA Today’s Top 10 list:

A group watches “Grown Ups,” the first of three screenings at Fingerlakes Drive-In in July 2010, sitting in the back of their vehicle as a citronella candle burns to deter mosquitoes. Lauren Long | [email protected]

Fingerlakes drive-in

Located just outside of Auburn at CNY, Fingerlakes Drive-In is New York’s oldest open-air theater. 10Best recognized the 74-year-old drive-in for its craftsmanship between vintage charm and modern advancements.

Nostalgic moviegoers can still use classic drive-in speakers. Customers who want “incredible stereo sound” can choose to tune into the theater’s FM station – the method encouraged by theater staff.

Movie buffs heading to Fingerlakes Drive-In will have no trouble spotting the theater. The original drive-in marquee is currently topped with a life-size Darth Vader and Stormtrooper, a waving Minion, a red classic car, and an old-fashioned movie projector.

Or: 1064 Clark Street Road, Aurelius, Cayuga County

When: Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

Cost: $ 10 for ages 12 and over (ticket includes a $ 2 food ticket); $ 4 for children aged 5 to 11; free for children 4 and under

Learn more: Visit the cinema’s Facebook page or call its 24-hour film information line at (315) 370-7780.

Old-fashioned speakers on stands are still in use at the Fingerlakes Drive-In in Aurelius.

Old-fashioned speakers on stands are still in use at the Fingerlakes Drive-In in Aurelius. David Lassman | The Post-Standard

Public transport service

Irving and Mary Cohen purchased the Transit in 1957, adding it to the dynasty of upstate theaters they had either purchased or built. The theater remains in the Cohen family and is now run by the couple’s grandson.

The Transit Drive-In is only 30 minutes from Niagara Falls. 10Best praised the theater for adapting to the 21st century without giving up its “vintage appeal”.

The cinema shows films every night on four giant screens. And if watching a movie doesn’t satisfy the desire for fun, moviegoers can play a round of miniature golf on Transit’s 19-hole course.

Or: 6655 S. Transit Road, Lockport, Niagara County

When: Open every evening

Cost: $ 11 for ages 12 and over; $ 7 for children aged 5 to 11; free for children 4 and under

Learn more: Visit Transit’s website, visit its Facebook page, or call (716) 625-8535.

1991 Press Photo Frank Feocco raises money at his Finger Lakes Drive-in

Frank Feocco raised money at Fingerlakes Drive-In in Aurelius in 1991. At the time, Feocco had been running the theater for 40 years. | Post-Standard Archives

Four Brothers Drive-In

Drive-in for a movie. Then stay the night.

The Four Brothers Drive-In Theater offers this and more.

The Hudson Valley Theater bills itself as the country’s newest drive-in theater. In addition to its drive-through, Four Brothers has a restaurant, snack bar, and carhops that deliver food directly to customers’ cars. Movie buffs can also stay overnight at the Four Brothers in an old-fashioned campervan or tent.

In addition to the resort style of the theater, 10Best praised Four Brothers for two courses of coffee: thick shakes and fine coffee.

Or: 4957 NY-22, Amenia, Dutchess County

When: Open every evening

Cost: $ 15 for the vehicle and the driver; per passenger: $ 12 for adults, $ 8 for children, $ 9 for seniors and veterans

Learn more: Visit the Four Brothers website or call (845) 373-8178.

Four Upstate New York Theaters Named Northeast's Best

John Brooks of Skaneateles drinks orange soda while waiting for a movie to debut at Fingerlakes Drive-In in 1995. It was the night of the 1950s, and he arrived in a 1955 Studebaker. Dennis Nett | [email protected]

Overlook Drive-In Theater

Why did 10Best call the Overlook Drive-In Theater one of the best drive-ins in the Northeast?

Here’s a reason: The Overlook has a cinema screen as tall as a six-story building, making it the largest outdoor cinema screen in the tri-state area.

The theater is located in Poughkeepsie in the Hudson Valley, less than a two hour drive from Manhattan. It has a range of foods for guilty pleasure, including funnel cakes, popcorn, and burgers.

“Overlook Drive-In gives you a wonderful drive-in experience as it was at the height of America’s love affair with outdoor cinema,” the theater wrote, “when the vast field of grass under the big screen was strewn with hundreds of people outside their cars, on blankets and lawn chairs on a hot summer night.

Or: 126 Degarmo Road, Poughkeepsie

When: Open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays

Cost: $ 10 for ages 12 and over; $ 7 for children aged 5 to 11; free for children 4 and under

Learn more: Visit the Overlook website or Facebook page.


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