Memorial Day Events In New York: Drive-In Movies, Virtual Ceremonies & More

Marla Diamond
May 22, 2020 - 9:40 am

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Even with coronavirus restrictions in place, there are plenty of things to do this Memorial Day weekend.

How about dinner and a movie from the safety of your car?

Local restaurants are turning lemons into lemonade by turning their parking lots into outdoor theaters. 

A company called LI Movie Nights started this two weeks ago, showing "Dirty Dancing" in the parking lot of the Bel-Aire Diner in Astoria.

LI Movies Nights
LI Movies Nights

Farmingdale events planner Nick Matera, who founded LI Movie Nights with two partners, said it's caught on quickly.

"We're doing about three to fours shows a night throughout the island. We've got one in Holbrook, we've got some in Manorville out east, some in Commack coming up. We're looking at a few places in Brooklyn," Matera said, adding that he's received requests from restaurants all over. "We've gotten calls from up in Niagara Falls, Virginia, California people want us to come."

Matera said he's been able to hire back his entire staff by running classic films.

"It's fun to feel the nostalgic feel of a drive-in movie," Matera said. "For now I think this is a fun and exciting way to get out of the house and enjoy yourself."

He said the restaurants benefit because they can sell food to customers, who are asked not to bring outside food to support the local business that's hosting the event. Matera said they also donate meals and proceeds to first responders and others in the health care industry.

This weekend, they'll be showing the "Rocky Horror Picture Show" on Sunday and "The Greatest Showman" on Monday at the Bel-Aire Diner. Click here to see the full list of showings.

In Brooklyn, the wildly popular Domino Park in Williamsburg is helping people socially distance while they sunbathe with painted circles eight feet in diameter and six feet apart on the AstroTurf lawn.

"They're painted with chalk paint that we bought at the local paint store for $1 and we put it down really quick but folks immediately started using it," Director Michael Lampariello said. "We started last weekend and we painted about 30 circles."

Memorial Day ceremonies are canceled, but the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum will hold its annual wreath-laying ceremony virtually.

"It's just such a poignant and important ceremony that we really felt that wee needed to fill that space for all of those who wan to share with us and continue to commemorate those who have gave and made the ultimate sacrifice," President Susan Marenoff Zausner said.

Doing the honors this year is Navy Commander Dr. Jay Yelon who is treating coronavirus patients at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore.

The ceremony will air at 2 p.m. Monday with special performances and the playing of "Taps."

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