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Author Topic: New York Drive-ins
Rick Cohen
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Lockport, NY
Registered: Jan 2008

 - posted January 06, 2008 01:13 AM      Profile for Rick Cohen   Author's Homepage   Email Rick Cohen         Edit/Delete Post 

First off, I should introduce myself. My name is Rick Cohen, owner of the Transit Drive-in Theatre near Buffalo, New York. My family has built or operated five drive-ins and many indoor theatres spread out around Central and Western New York over the past nine decades. The Transit Drive-in is the last theatre still in business from all those theatres. I've been a regular viewer and contributor to several theatre sites on the Internet, such as, Cinema Treasures, the drive-in discussion forum on Yahoo Groups, and to a smaller extent Cinematour which I've only recently discovered.

Since last fall, I have been contemplating launching my own Internet site for New York Drive-ins, as a way to preserve the history of New York's drive-ins as well as help to promote the nostalgia of currently operating drive-ins. I began doing extensive research on drive-ins from Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse, Binghamton, Utica, Jamestown, Batavia, Long Island, Kingston, Massena, and everywhere in between.

The site will be 100% non-commercial, it won't be selling any merchandise or advertising, and is not intended to compete with other theatre related sites, but to complement them. By focusing solely on New York Drive-ins, I intend to enhance the accuracy and detail for all of those drive-ins to the utmost degree.

So far, I have documented roughly 188 drive-in theatre sites in New York, with their precise locations, grand opening dates, final seasons, current business use of former drive-in sites, abandoned drive-ins which remain undeveloped, historic images of operating drive-ins, historic aerial photos, and any other relevant information which I can uncover to preserve the history of drive-in theatres.

Many of those New York drive-ins are not currently archived on Cinematour or Cinema Treasures, and several of them are not even found on Some of the more remote drive-ins have not been documented anywhere, as of yet. I have been working with local historians and visiting libraries all around New York, and have collected grand opening ads for virtually every New York Drive-in, as well as verified closing dates from newspaper microfilm. I spent 7 consecutive days of microfilm research at the New York State Library in Albany, and have personally visited the sites of well over 100 out of the 188 documented drive-ins in New York.

I've created a placemark file for Google Earth which shows the precise locations for each of 188 New York Drive-ins, along with a database of information on every drive-in I've researched. Having worked in the drive-in business practically my whole life, I have a long list of resources and contacts which have assisted me in the collection of information and images.

2008 will mark the 75th anniversary of the world's first drive-in theatre, so it is my intention to commemorate that event with the launch of my web site this spring, This is my way of giving something back to the movie theatre community, as well as providing a memorial web site for New York Drive-in theatres, and to help promote nostalgia for the few drive-ins which are still in operation today.

I also intend to freely share all images or information with any non-commercial theatre related web site, as I feel these sites should complement each other's existence and not compete for public attention.

If anyone would like to contribute information or images for New York Drive-ins from their own personal collections, I can be contacted through email at

The web site domain was registered just after Christmas, so I have not done much more than a "coming soon" page. The web site will be ready to launch by the end of April, to coincide with the start of the upcoming drive-in season.

I look forward to reading your comments, and hope to maybe work with any drive-in enthusiasts with knowledge of New York Drive-ins.

Best regards,

Rick Cohen
Transit Drive-in Owner
Lockport, New York

"As long as there are sunsets and stars at night, there will always be drive-in movies."

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Roger Katz

Posts: 339
From: Thomaston, CT
Registered: Feb 2003

 - posted January 08, 2008 05:22 PM      Profile for Roger Katz   Email Roger Katz         Edit/Delete Post 
You can use any of my pictures of NY drive-ins. I have taken photos of the Middlehope Drive-In in Newburgh, West Rome Drive-In in Rome and the remains of the Schuyler Drive-In in Schuyler. I'm sure you've probably visitied and photographed these sites, but my photos are from about 5 years ago, so maybe I get something in there that is now gone. Email me at if you wish for me to send you any of these photos. I believe I also have a few more of each drive-in that were taken at the same time, but which I did not put on the website.

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Rick Cohen
New Member

Posts: 2
From: Lockport, NY
Registered: Jan 2008

 - posted January 09, 2008 07:50 AM      Profile for Rick Cohen   Author's Homepage   Email Rick Cohen         Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Roger,

Thank you for your response, and many thanks for the permission to share your photos of New York drive-ins. I had recently visited both the West Rome Drive-in and the Schuyler Drive-in (aka Skyler Drive-in) when I went on a road trip to photograph drive-in sites. I have not made it down to the Newburgh area, so the pics of the Middlehope Drive-in are greatly appreciated.

I've already photographed the current condition of numerous drive-ins (operational, abandoned, and demolished) located in the Western New York, Finger Lakes, Central New York, Capital Area, Mohawk Valley, and the Southern Tier. Anyone willing to share their photos for use on the web site may contact me directly for further information at

If anyone is willing to contribure current day photos of New York drive-in sites (operational, abandoned, and demolished) in the Thousand Islands, North Country, Lower Hudson Valley, NYC Metro, and Long Island, please let me know and I will happily provide the precise location (including mapping) for each drive-in known to have existed in those regions. Eventually, I would like to document a "what's there now" section of photographs for every former drive-in, showing the current day use for each site.

Best regards,

Rick Cohen

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