Queens Diner Turns Parking Lot Into Movie Theater

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Entertainment, Inspiration, Movie Night, Movies, Queens, NY

By Emily Drooby

It’s a beloved all-American past-time, with a new twist.

The Bel Aire Diner in Astoria, Queens converting their parking lot, into a drive-in movie theater. Peter Dellaportas, whose family owns the diner, says the idea was born from the quarantine.

“Everyone wants to be out and be out in a safe way,” he said.

During the pandemic, parents have been racking their brains for ways to keep their kids entertain while also keeping them safe.

Dr. Robert Tiballi from our Ask the Doctor segments says activities like play dates and sleep away camps are fairly high risk. A drive-in is fairly low risk.

It’s providing good old fashion family fun but also security in a world where, for businesses, there is little.

Like many restaurants across the city, the diner saw a steep drop in their sales because of the pandemic – nearly 70%. The drive-in has kept the phones ringing and orders going out the door.

They only see a profit from concessions, offering a special drive-in menu. The food is ordered online and brought right to customers cars – wrapped up safely in to-go containers.

It has allowed them to hire back their waitstaff – no small feat with many New York service industry workers currently out of a job.

“It’s almost like, a dream, I didn’t think it would blow up like this.,” said Dellaportas.

They’ve also been giving back to the community, donating hundreds of meals to those on the frontlines.

Tickets are sold per car and up to 45 can fit in the lot.