Call it a comeback. The pandemic has revived the classic American tradition of the drive-in as a safe way to stay entertained without potentially spreading coronavirus. One hospitality group based in New York, the epicenter of the virus in the United States, decided to do just that in a parking lot outside the famous Yankee Stadium.
“It’s a food festival meets cultural event meets classic drive-in,” co-owner Marco Shalma told CNN. “We wanted to create a space where people can eat, watch films or comedians, play bingo and even have date nights in a way that is safe.”
The events will range from karaoke nights, to movie screenings of all genres and even themed nights, like Latin or LGBTQ night. Shalma said the group will focus on showcasing New York talent and food and they hope to hire around 40 people to help with security and food service.
There will be a lifted stage with large screens in a large lot near Yankee Stadium, where talent and emcees will perform. Sound will be streamed from a PA system to attendee’s cars.
The group initially planned to kick off events every weekend after July 4, but after experiencing an overwhelming interest, they are looking into branching out into the rest of the week. The events will run until August, Shalma said.
“We had more than 9,000 people register to attend already and so many amazing people jumping in to offer partnerships,” he said.
To abide by social distancing guidelines, cars will be asked to park 10 feet away from each other and only 200 cars will be allowed to register for each event. Car-side food service will be explored so that attendees won’t have to get out of their cars to pick up food.
The price of the ticket has not been decided yet but MASC is working with their local partners to make sure it’s affordable. The tickets will be all-inclusive and per vehicle, according to Shalma.
In an effort to honor first responders, some tickets will be reserved and given to nurses, doctors, EMS, police officers, among others, for free. There will also be a raffle to give a few tickets away for free.
“We’re trying to create a sense of normalcy during these times,” Shalma said. “This will be a celebration of New York resilience and we’re very excited.”
CORRECTION: This article and headline have been corrected to say that Yankee Stadium is not hosting the festival. The festival is taking place in a parking lot near the stadium. The Yankees are not affiliated with the festival.