A Blast to the Past

If there were ever a positive to the COVID era, it’s the return of the drive-in movie theater.

The Gateway Theater has embraced a long forgotten entertainment treasure - the drive in movie!

Photo by Olivia Thorgersen

The Gateway Theater has embraced a long forgotten entertainment treasure – the drive in movie!

 When COVID struck, life froze. Things that we took for granted were stripped away like restaurants, school, and the movies. Having to come up with solutions on how to stay entertained in a modern era, we ironically looked to the past for inspiration. Breaking out old board games and dusting off old puzzles to challenge our brains instead of melting them in front of screens. However, in putting down our personal tiny screens, we turned to giant public screens- drive ins. 

Towns all over the island started to use their local spaces to create old school drive-ins, something that we most likely overlooked, yet now plan our weekends around. Right in Patchogue, The Gateway Playhouse started showing movies at their drive in and saw positive responses immediately. In the summer, they showed a lot of family movies such as Finding Dory and Incredibles II.

With the haze over Halloween, desperate parents and teens look to solutions to ensure they can have the best experience in the worst of circumstances. The Gateway drive-in has begun to show Halloween movies and will continue to all month. With titles ranging from Paranorman and Hocus Pocus to Sixth Sense and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, there is a movie for all ages and tastes.  

Having the largest outdoor projection screen surface on Long Island measuring 20x by 40x, The Gateway Drive-in insures an unforgettable memory to come out of isolation. Drive-in goers tune their radio to an FM station through their car stereos in order to hear the movie without distractions and are encouraged to bring their own snacks. 

There can be something beautiful said about the shift back into the past. I know it sounds like a grandma is writing this, but when we can take a couple hours to not be glued to our social media personalities, we get to learn more about ourselves, friends, and families. Spending time with those closest to us and getting to really enjoy the world around us will have major benefits on our future. I personally can recall the game nights I had and long scenic walks I went on with my family in April better than I can remember what picture I liked on Instagram yesterday. These are the kind of moments that stick with us and shape who we are. Going to the local drive-in with my family or a couple of friends (safely of course) sounds far better to me than another day of mind numbingly scrolling on my “for you” page. 

No matter if there is a cure for COVID tomorrow, social distancing rules will still remain a part of our lives for a long time and the mentally of being curious about how truly safe something is will stick with us forever. Whether inventing our own or piggybacking off of the ideas from the past, ways to enjoy everyday activities -especially around the holidays- in a safe manner is extremely important. Living in the most advanced time in history, we seem to have forgotten how to enjoy the little things in life like the local drive-in. 

The Gateway Drive-in Upcoming Movies:

The Addams Family (Animated) – October 16th (7pm)

The Evil Dead – October 16th (9:30pm)

Monster House – October 17th (7pm)

Cabin In The Woods – October 17th (9:30 pm)

Scary Movie – October 18th (8pm)

Alien – October 22nd (8pm)

Ghostbusters – October 23rd (7pm)

Saw – October 23rd (9:30 pm)