The novel virus is bringing back retro fun.
Drive-in theaters may call to mind a bygone era of 1950s Americana, but the nostalgic setup is having a comeback due to the coronavirus.
Now, theaters like Astoria, Queens’ Bel Aire Diner have recently started hosting pop-up drive-in movies in their adjacent parking lots — and the initiative has proven a sell-out success while also keeping folks socially distant.
“It’s been amazing, it’s been overwhelming,” says Kal Dellaportas, the son of the diner’s longtime owner and next in line to run the restaurant, which is currently operating on a takeout-only basis.
“People are reaching out, asking how they can get involved,” he tells The Post of the screenings, which are organized in-house.
On Friday, the Bel Aire hosted its first pandemic drive-in, showing “Grease” to some 35 cars worth of attendees, who enjoyed a movie-themed menu — in addition to the diner’s usual fare — with their orders delivered to them and their garbage collected after.
Attendees were asked to remain in or near their vehicles while enjoying socially distanced bites, and some were dancing on the tops of their cars while watching the film.
Masked NYPD officers watched on from the sidelines, ensuring everyone socially distanced properly.
After Friday’s success, the Bel Aire is now gearing up to show “Dirty Dancing” on Wednesday — and they’re already sold out.
“You spoke and we listened!” the diner writes in an Instagram post announcing a double-screening of the 1987 classic on Wednesday, at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m — the earlier showing intended for families and kids, the later showing meant as a date-night activity. To hold a spot, patrons provide a $20 donation, with half of proceeds going toward food or drink credit at the diner and half going toward an upcoming luncheon bash for the local 114th Precinct.
The police will again be present to ensure “no one brings a lawn chair and sits in the middle of the parking lot” or the like, says Dellaportas.
A local film festival has already inquired about being involved in the diner’s next screening, Dellaportas says.
“It’s a fun way to hang out during quarantine without being too close,” a “Grease” attendee told Newsflare from her seat — the back of a truck.
“This is cool. This is social distancing for real. I like this,” another attendee commented.
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