Movie theaters remain closed as Phase 2 of reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic remains on pause in New Jersey due to an increased rate of transmission. However, North Bergen residents who miss watching a feature film on the big screen are in luck.
The township has organized a portable drive-in movie theater at the Municipal Pool. The first Drive-in Movie Night was held on Monday, July 20 in the parking lot of the Municipal Pool Complex at 2111 91st Street.
Mayor Nicholas Sacco greeted residents, along with Park Commissioner Hugo Cabrera. Free popcorn was served, and free giveaways were available, courtesy of NB C.A.R.E.S.
The event was a big hit, with families turning out in their vehicles for a free screening of “Jurassic Park.” As a result of the success, more drive-in movie events are planned at the pool.
According to Cabrera, more than 50 cars were in attendance with around four people in each car, totaling approximately 200 people.
Something old yet new
In an interview with the Hudson Reporter, Sacco and Cabrera described their efforts to bring outdoor movies to North Bergen.
Cabrera said the township was looking for an area with enough space to accommodate a drive-in theater. The pool parking lot ended up being a perfect fit, allowing for up to 105 cars at a time.
The township is eyeing another site to host drive-in movies, at 67th street by the baseball field. The drive-in theater system is portable, allowing the township to move the location as needed.
The setup at 67th Street should be able to accommodate a number of cars.
At future drive-in movies, residents would need to make reservations to ensure that there is enough parking space for everyone.
Drive-in theater throwback
Interest in the drive-in theater is expected to grow as word spreads.
“As it catches on, people are going to start going. Everyone seemed to enjoy it that night,” Cabrera said. “It was a throwback. When I was young, I used to go to the one on Route 46.”
Sacco agreed, noting the perks of the new drive-in theater.
“The difference is in old drive-ins you had to get that speaker and put it on your window,” Sacco said. “This one came right through the radio.”
Residents simply need to adjust their radio frequency to the same frequency at which the movie is being broadcast to hear the audio in their cars.
The township plans to continue the drive-in movies until October or November, since residents don’t need to leave their cars to experience the movie.
Outdoor movies for those without cars
For those without cars, there are still movie showings on the big screen.
Sacco and NB C.A.R.E.S. are sponsoring a weekly outdoor movie series on Thursday nights.
Films will be shown free at a different location each week. Free popcorn and water will be provided, along with free giveaways.
Seating is provided. Residents should not bring their own chairs. Residents must stay six feet away from each other.
On July 30, “Trolls 2” will be shown at the 88th Street Park, between Durham and Grand.
On Aug. 6, “The Lion King” will be featured at the Kennedy Branch library, 2123 Kennedy Blvd.
On Aug. 13, “Aladdin” will be shown at the Main Library, 8411 Bergenline Ave.
On Aug. 20, “The Secret Life of Pets 2” will be featured at the Paterson Plank Road Park, next to Hudson Mews.
On Aug. 27 is “Angry Birds 2” at the Nutrition Center, 1441 45th St.
On Sept. 3 “Sonic the Hedgehog” will be shown at Policemen’s Park, Union Turnpike & Grand Ave.
The rain date for each movie is the following night.
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at email@example.com.