There’s nothing like a night out at the drive-in, and Chronogram readers have spoken: Their favorite place to spend a night under the stars is the Hyde Park Drive-In, run by Barry and Carol Horowitz. If you’ve never had the drive-in experience, which can happen these days with fewer than 300 of the theaters still operating in the US, make this the summer you give it a try.
The drive-in makes for a perfect family night out—the kids can run free, getting their ya-yas out without bothering anyone, then settle down for the show, and even fall asleep, comfy in the car. It’s an outstanding date night—bring a tailgate picnic and a blanket to sit out under the stars and canoodle.
The Horowitzes have been doing it right since Carol’s father opened the destination in 1949, making it the Hudson Valley’s oldest continuously operating outdoor theater. The concession stand offers hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, and pizza, along with cinema classics like popcorn, candy, pretzels, ice cream, and milkshakes. And they’ve kept up with the times (projection is digital-friendly) while keeping it simple: reasonable prices, good shows, tasty snacks, and a welcoming spirit.
That said, we’re lucky to have the drive-in at all. “The property was almost sold in ’89; it would have become a Walmart, but Scenic Hudson stepped in and bought the land and we’re part of FDR National Historic Site now, since 2011,” says Barry. “During the pandemic, Amazon actually kept us alive by providing movies—that and school graduations.”
During summer, the Hyde Park Drive-In is open seven days a week showing two films a night on their one screen. The double-feature of new releases on the big, big screen makes for a lovely, come-as-you-are night out.
“We’re hands-on and we deal with customers directly,” Barry says. “It’s been a lot of fun. Most people are pretty happy at the drive-in.”