(NEW YORK) — For residents of New York City, the summer usually means carefree days in Central Park and countless outdoor concerts and movie screenings — but not in 2020. 

With COVID-19 keeping movie theaters closed and restricting the number of people who can gather at an event, the non-profit Rooftop Films has found success this summer with a retro classic that’s becoming popular nationwide: the drive-in. 

Normally, the organization “engages and inspires the diverse communities of New York City by showcasing the work of emerging filmmakers and musicians” as part of its outdoor annual Summer Series, but in 2020, they’re bringing the drive-in back to the fore in Queens and Brooklyn.

Their Queens Drive-In will kick off tonight with a screening of IFC Films’ Tesla, starring Ethan Hawke. Other titles include the documentary thriller The Last Out; the classic family favorite The Muppet Movie; the Academy Award-winning feature film Mad Max: Fury Road, Stanley Kubrick’s enduring and visionary sci-fi masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey, and more.

Dan Nuxoll, the Artistic Director of Rooftop Films, tells ABC Audio, “[I]f done properly, [drive-ins] are really pretty much a completely safe way in these times to bring people together.”

He adds, “[P]eople are really excited about it. You know, and obviously it’s really one of the very few ways in which people can gather right now. So that’s a big part of it. But I think also, you know, it’s with movie theaters all closed, people are just missing that experience.”

Nuxoll explains that the process, from ticket buying to check in is totally contactless, and of course, the patrons stay in their cars, listening to the movie’s audio through their car’s radio. “They just need to sit back and enjoy and watch the movies!”

By Stephen Iervolino
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