The New York Hall of Science will remain closed until mid-2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but its vast parking field in Flushing Meadows Corona Park will not go unused. It will house the Queens Drive-In, which will start next month and offer free and ticketed screenings of new independent films, as well as recent and classic films of all genres.
Rooftop Films, in partnership with the Museum of the Moving Image, the Hall of Science and the city’s Economic Development Corporation, will present films throughout the remainder of the summer and in the fall.
“For 24 years, it has been Rooftop’s mission to bring New Yorkers together via the media of film,” Rooftop Films Artistic Director Dan Nuxoll said. “With theaters shuttered and most festivals postponed or moving to streaming, we hope that these events will be part of a collaborative healing process for our neighbors, and give us an opportunity to once again spotlight the most daring new films from around the world.”
Rooftop will also present a drive-in festival at The Brooklyn Armory working with Mutual Aid Risk and Safety to ensure both sites meet city and state safety protocols. Screenings will be available only to those in an enclosed vehicle at first but the partners will continue conversations with the proper agencies to determine whether in the future it will be safe and legal to adapt event spaces to accommodate socially distanced walk-up attendees.
“In this unusual New York summer without concerts and other large-scale events in the parks, Queens is proud to partner with Rooftop Films and others to present this drive-in movie series as an option for families and friends to enjoy together while still prioritizing safety,” Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee said.”We are especially delighted to bring New Yorkers a number of these films free of charge here in the ‘Borough of Families.’”
A portion of public ticket sales will be donated to Elmcor, the youth and adult social services organization serving Elmhurst and Corona, and free tickets to most programs will be made available to residents of Corona and Elmhurst, the neighborhoods that were hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis.
“After months of stay-at-home orders and social distancing, New Yorkers are craving the opportunity to safely go out and seek entertainment,” Councilman Francisco Moya said. “I’m thrilled to see Rooftop Films team up with the Museum of the Moving Image and the New York Hall of Science to provide both its first-ever drive-in festival, and I’m proud to support this fantastic initiative.”
Programming will include screenings of new independent and foreign films, new and classic family films, and classic repertory and thematic programming by the New York Hall of Science and the Museum of the Moving Image.
“At MoMI, we believe in the excitement of being in the same space to watch movies, and in continuing the legacy of cinema as a shared experience,” MoMI Executive Director Carl Goodman said. “We are also pleased to partner with Rooftop Films and NYSCI, as it allows us to bring communal moviegoing back to Queens during a time when many have been hit hard, including independent filmmakers who have lost the venues for their work.”
Visit the Queens Drive-in website in the coming weeks for schedules and ticket sales.
“It is our hope that the Queens Drive-In will help in the process of revitalizing culture in the borough,” NYSCI President and CEO Dr. Margaret Honey said. “We’re beginning by showing films, but as we are able, we hope to feature cultural programming from Queens organizations. This partnership among the Museum of the Moving Image, Rooftop Films and the New York Hall of Science has made an additional commitment to use a portion of the drive-ins proceeds to go to Queens organizations that are helping the communities most afflicted by COVID-19 recover.”