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10 classic drive-in theaters worth the detour

July 26, 2013, 11:42 a.m.
Hyde Park Drive-in Theater, Hyde Park, N.Y.

Photo: Michele Lee Amundsen/Flickr

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Hyde Park Drive-in Theater, Hyde Park, N.Y.

While it boasts only a single screen of nothing-to-write-home-about size, what the Hyde Park Drive-in Theater has going for it is primo location.

Situated in the Hudson Valley — about a two-hour drive from Midtown Manhattan, door to screen — this frozen-in-time Dutchess County operation opened for business in 1949 and remains one of the closest drive-in theaters to New York City. This dog-friendly establishment is located a stone’s throw from two famous pieces of National Park Service-maintained real estate: Right across the street is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Springwood estate (Roosevelt’s mug graces the drive-in marquee), while five minutes up the road is the 211-acre Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site.

In terms of nearby non-Gilded Age properties, we should mention that a Dairy Queen is next door. However, a pre-show visit may not be necessary given the bounty of greasy/salty/sticky grub for sale at the drive-in’s most excellent snack bar.