Drive-in Theater Planned for Beacon

Arts, cultural spots prepare to reopen in Phase 4

With indoor theaters shuttered because of the COVID-19 shutdown, including at Story Screen Beacon, drive-ins in Hyde Park and Poughkeepsie have been the only way to see a movie on the big screen. But Beacon may soon be an option.

On Sunday (June 26), Story Screen announced it is working with city officials to convert the University Settlement property on Wolcott Avenue into a drive-in theater for 40 to 50 cars. 

The plan is to show two movies on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, beginning in mid-July at a facility under construction. Concessions will be delivered to cars. 

“We’re absolutely thrilled to bring entertainment back to our community, who have done so much for us in our first year at Story Screen Beacon Theater,” organizers wrote on Facebook.

Meanwhile, other arts and cultural organizations prepared to again welcome visitors under Phase 4 of the state’s re opening plan, which could begin in the Mid-Hudson Region (including Putnam and Dutchess) as soon as Tuesday (July 7). 


The Boscobel mansion will remain closed, but the organization began offering a limited number of grounds passes last month.

Businesses and organizations offering “low-risk” indoor and outdoor arts and entertainment, along with film and music productions, will be allowed to resume as long as employers monitor workers’ health and adhere to guidelines for facial coverings and social distancing. 

The list of approved places includes botanical gardens, museums, nature parks, historic sites and outdoor zoos. 

Professional sports, excluding auto and horse racing, can also resume in Phase 4, although without spectators. The state is asking higher education institutions to submit plans for reopening in the fall.

During Phase 4, social gatherings of up to 50 people and indoor religious services at up to 33 percent of capacity will be allowed, with social distancing restrictions. But movie theaters, gyms and shopping malls will not be able to reopen, as some had anticipated.

In Garrison, Boscobel lost the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival to COVID-19 when it canceled its 2020 season. 

But over the last two months, Executive Director Jennifer Carlquist said this week, the organization also found something “life-affirming”: the pandemic-weary doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists and other health care workers given free access to the gardens, trails and grounds, along with their families, as a respite. 

The ongoing program “kept us going when we were mourning,” Carlquist said. “The pandemic has refocused us and shown us how incredibly lucky we are to have the resources that we do, and motivated us even more to share them in new ways.” 

The Boscobel mansion will remain closed, but the organization began offering a limited number of grounds passes last month. As Phase 4 begins, more people will be allowed on the grounds for self-guided and guided tours. 

For $12, a visitor can have the run of the property for two hours, whether hiking, picnicking or visiting its gardens, Carlquist said. “You get to essentially treat one of the most beautiful homes in America as your own front lawn,” she said.

In addition to Boscobel, Magazzino Italian Art and Storm King Art Center are preparing to reopen to guests. 

“I’m excited for Magazzino to go back to being an active member of the community,” said the museum’s director, Vittorio Calabrese. “I’m also careful because I see what’s happening in other states.” 

Magazzino is planning to debut an exhibit, Homemade, with about 30 works created by eight New York-based artists during the pandemic. 

In addition to requiring reservations and face coverings, Magazzino will allow only 10 people to enter every 30 minutes and limit the number inside to 30. Each group will be given 90 minutes inside the gallery. Visitors will be given a device that buzzes and lights up when they are closer than 6 feet to someone in another group. 

Storm King, in New Windsor, plans to reopen on July 15. “We have developed strict protocols for opening our site and services in stages,” said John Stern, its president. Visitors will have to buy tickets online for timed entry, follow social distancing rules and wear face coverings when distancing is impossible. 

The art center store and cafe will remain closed, as will Storm King’s tram and shuttle services.

2 thoughts on “Drive-in Theater Planned for Beacon

  1. I pray the “drive-in theater” at University Settlement will accommodate walk-ins and bike-ins as well as motor-vehicle operators.

  2. What a great idea. Walk -ins and bike—ins fits so well with the environmentally conscious community of Beacon, and with the neighboring land at Clearwater.