International Airport Drive-In

S. Conduit Avenue & 119th Street,
Jamaica, NY 11420

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Showing 13 comments

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 9, 2013 at 9:44 am

I agree Ken. This is why I suggested it would make a better submission as a blog item. I miss the old news item feature, where CT members were permitted to post news items, directly. I believe, now, you have to submit blog ideas via email, which would then be written and/or edited by an administrator.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 9, 2013 at 8:26 am

That’s up to the site administrators, robboehm. If you allow this listing to remain, then, conceivably, there could be a spate of new CT listings for proposed theater projects – replete with artists renderings, street-views, articles, etc – for any number of venues that never were in existence. That would indicate a bit of a shift in direction for CT. It might be interesting if there were some way to run a separate database within the site for theaters that never came to be, but I’m not sure its appropriate to celebrate those unfulfilled plans within the current theater database.

I agree, the information presented here is quite interesting, but it probably would be better suited as a CT blog item.

robboehm on October 9, 2013 at 7:48 am

I would hope that this listing will stay. It’s too important an item to be deleted because, technically, it never was operational.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 8, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Again, thanks for the research you’ve done, Ken. I think you’ve provided plenty of ammunition, here, to sink the notion that this Airport Drive-In project ever got off the ground (groan, if you must). That last item from July 1, 1952, seems most convincing of all.

Of course, this means that all of the fine research, and musings here on this page will soon vanish into the ether(net), and it will be as if this conversation never took place at all.

But, before I shed a tear, I think I’ll clip this page into a scrapbook on my computer. Once this item is deleted, I’ll do my best to summarize on the Whitestone Drive-In page – just to put some closure on the matter (and satisfy my OCD urges).

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Thanks for that research, masked man! If there is no further news on the matter, I guess this answers 2 questions: Firstly, it appears that grading of the lanes and ramps is among the first tasks performed in the construction of a drive-in theater, and, secondly, that the theater was never officially in existence.

I suppose that will mean deletion of this post. If that happens, Ken, I think your post above should probably be copied into the comment history for the Whitestone Drive-In, just to close the books on this theater that never was. I point to that listing, only because that was where CT member rivest266 first made mention of the proposed construction for the International Airport Drive-In.

kong1911 on October 8, 2013 at 7:02 am

Ed. I 3 blocks from a runway. In the 1950’s when the super constellations came overhead, you almost got skid marks on the roof and everything in the china closet changed places.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 8, 2013 at 7:01 am

It may well be that this listing gets deleted, but there is physical evidence of construction – or at the very least, site preparation. I think we could afford to sit on the listing just a little while longer, to see if anyone can verify whether or not the facility ever opened to the public.

Tinseltoes on October 8, 2013 at 6:27 am

Shouldn’t this listing be deleted? It seems pretty obvious that the drive-in never got beyond the “proposed” stage. You can go through the pages of Boxoffice and find scores of other “proposed” projects that are not listed at Cinema Treasures.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 7, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Kong1911, it definitely progressed beyond the mere “talk” phase, as evidenced by that aerial shot. They got at least as far as grading the parcel with the familiar pattern of parking stalls and aisles for prospective patrons. Still, seems odd to me that the grading would have been completed prior to construction of a screen and utility/refreshment structure. I mean, wouldn’t you want your structures in place first, before making the terrain so hilly and difficult for construction crews to maneuver through? And wouldn’t the cables that would deliver sound to the individual speakers be laid out first, before the grading of the ramps? I have no idea how these theaters were constructed, so it beats me.

Excellent point, however, about the airport noise. I used to live directly under a flight path in Laurelton, Queens, and the noise of an overhead jet could be deafening sitting in your living room with the TV on, let alone out in a field with your car window cracked open for the speaker hook. But then, back in the early ‘50’s, how prevalent were commercial jet planes? This theater, if it ever operated at all, would have probably existed at the very dawn of the commercial jet age.

kong1911 on October 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I’ve lived in this area all my life and never heard a thing about this place. I’ve also talked with people in their 80’s and they don’t remember any place or talk about it. Could be that there was industry talk about it but so close to the airport noise the project was dropped.

Drive-In 54
Drive-In 54 on October 7, 2013 at 10:47 am

It was listed in 1956 Yearbook of Motion Pictures. But that could be wrong also.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 7, 2013 at 10:42 am

Do you have access to old Long Island Press editions? If this drive-in were to have been advertized in any of the daily newspapers, it would have been in the Press. Not sure if southern Queens had any smaller, more locally targeted publications that might have included listings.

Ed Solero
Ed Solero on October 7, 2013 at 9:59 am

I think the old listing was deleted and a new one created with proper spelling of Conduit and Jamaica, since it was so early in the goings on, Stephenvb. I don’t think there’s any other way to fix the location map.

Pity I wasted all that time cruising from lower Broadway out to the Conduit on the street view feature last night!

Tinseltoes had made a fair point in his comment, that there is really no evidence that this drive-in actually ever opened for exhibition. We can see that the site was certainly landscaped for a drive-in theater, per the 1954 aerial, but it is difficult to make out if there are any physical structures – such as screen, snack bar, projection facility – in that image.