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Sunrise Drive-in
Status: Demolished
Location: 750 W. Sunrise Hwy, Valley Stream, NY 11580
Screens: 1
Capacity: 500 cars
Original owner: Built by Michael Redstone, which became Redstone Theatres, and then National Amusements.
Opening date: August 10, 1938
Final season: 1978
What's there now: Sunrise Multiplex Cinemas.

This page was last updated on January 3, 2010.

The Sunrise Drive-in Theatre, built by Michael Redstone, opened on August 10, 1938, in Valley Stream, New York. This was New York state's first drive-in theatre, and the 15th drive-in built in the entire United States.

The Sunrise Drive-in was the cornerstone for the foundation of Redstone Theatres, a chain of drive-in theatres in the northeast which evolved into Northeast Theater Corporation, and then National Amusements, Incorporated.

Michael Redstone's son, Sumner Redstone, would lead National Amusements into global media by acquiring Viacom Communications, Paramount Studios, and CBS Television, and in the process became one of the largest media conglomerates in the world.

 

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Topo Map from 1979, courtesy of TerraServer USA. Aerial image from 1966, courtesy of HistoricAerials.com. Aerial image from 2006, courtesy of Google Earth. Aerial close-up image from 2006, courtesy of Google Earth.
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Opening soon article from the Gibson Herald on August 5, 1938. Opening soon ad from the Gibson Herald on August 5, 1938. Grand opening tonight ad from the Broklyn Daily Eagle on August 10, 1938. Grand opening tonight ad from the Gibson Herald on August 10, 1938.
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Article from the Broklyn Daily Eagle on August 14, 1938. Article from the Broklyn Daily Eagle on August 21, 1938. Article from the Broklyn Daily Eagle on September 4, 1938. Ad for both the Sunrise and its sister drive-in, the Whitestone Bridge, from the Long Island Star Journal on May 18, 1964.
Click on image to view at full size. Click on image to view at full size. Click on image to view at full size.  
Sunrise Drive-in screen tower, courtesy of Domonic Scalzo. Sunrise Drive-in neon screen tower lighting from 1974, courtesy of Nicki Capparelli. Sunrise Drive-in postcard with ticket stubs, courtesy of Bruce Lacoste.  

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WAS GREAT PLACE FOR YOUNG AND OLD. MY FRIEND'S DAD USED TO TAKES US THERE IN OUR PJ's when we were little kids so we could get right to bed when we got home. ALSO, I enjoyed as a teen when I could drive. I think 20+ % of L.I,Queens,and Brooklyn's population was probably conceived in that place.
#1 - ALLAN - 05/01/2010 - 16:06
I did my basic training at Fort Dix, and one of the projectionists for the Sunrise Drive-in was in my company. His name was Ray. That was back in 1962. The Sunrise Drive-in was my favorite place to go on a saturday evening. I drove out from Brooklyn with my girl friend. Needless to say, I have some really great memories.
I also remember the refreshment building and the singing hot dog at intermission.
#2 - Joe M - 07/28/2010 - 06:51
Joe Del Guidice ‎....my grandfather, Joseph Del Giudice, bought the frontage land of the Sunrise Drive-in Movie Theater, on Sunrise Highway in Valley Stream, N.Y., from an acquaintance of his, Michael Redstone, for the purpose of constructing "The Patio" Night Club. The intent was for my father, Frank Del Guidice, and his son-in-law Joe Pitrelli to own and run it, which they did. Redstone was a pioneer in the entertainment industry and his son, Sumner Redstone, a contemporary of my father's, grew the business into what would include multi-billion dollar media giant, VIACOM......The club was situated on Sunrise Highway, next door to Green Acres Mall, one of the first open air shopping malls on Long Island, N.Y..

I have a nice, old photo of the club with the drive-in in the background but don't know how to post it here. It can be seen on Facebook...."Sunrise Drive-in"
#3 - Joe Del Guidice - 09/05/2010 - 20:59
I lived in Arverne and my memories of the Sunrise Drive-in was going there with my parents when I was really young and playing in the playground until showtime. Then it was off to sleep in the backseat while they watched the movie on that "big piece of paper".
#4 - Sandy - 06/19/2011 - 15:59
I Lived in Rosedale and use to go to the drive-In with my parents and I remember that it cost one price for the car so we stack in the car and than pulled out our blankets and watch it outside it was great.
#5 - Linda Falbo - 06/25/2011 - 17:22
That Drive- In can be seen in the movie the Lords of Flatbush with Henry Winkler and Sylvester Stallone
#6 - Smitty - 01/04/2012 - 13:33
I have some old flyers from the Sunrise Drive-in; if you'd like to post some on your site, let me know.
#7 - Ken - 02/23/2012 - 10:28
I have great memories of my parents taking us to the Sunrise Drive-In in the early 1960's! As a kid from Brooklyn, going to Valley Stream in those days was like a kid today going to Walt Disney World!
#8 - BRIAN CUNNINGHAM - 03/08/2012 - 20:03
Amazing to think it all started at the Sunrise Drive-In. I lived in Cambria Heights and as a kid in the 50's we would ride our bikes to the drive-in which was unattended during the day and ride from the back towards the front as fast as we could. The humps got bigger as we got towards the front and can't help but think we were the first kids to do jumps with our bikes. :-D
#9 - Paulette - 04/22/2012 - 18:11
Lived in Rosedale near the Drive. We used to sneak in the back by Hook Creak and sit along the back fence to watch the movies!
#10 - Jim Chio - 06/26/2012 - 16:57
I remember when me and my brothers were young we would go in the station wagon with my parents in out jamies and ride the train they had at the drive in and then we would eat and then go to sleep in the back.. what great memories.
#11 - hjc347@yahoo.com - 07/08/2012 - 19:58
In the 40's my Mother & Father ran the refreshment stand and I worked as an usher parking the cars and then sold refreshments. Years later my wife and I would take the chidren to see the movies
#12 - eorpk@aol.com - 12/06/2012 - 19:06
Man, I have a lot of fond memories of this place. My brothers and I used to sneak in when we were like 7-8 years old. We would sit near the snack bar where they had speakers so we could hear the movie. Just seeing that image Sunrise Drive In theater opened the flood gates of good memories.
#13 - Greg Kamer - 02/25/2013 - 20:32
there was also a childrens playground directly in front of the screen.. I also remember when Green Acres shopping center was all outdoors, and not a mall at all
#14 - John Jensen - 07/05/2013 - 20:04
I worked there from 1967 until 1970. Did every job except the refreshment stand. Yeah, I have the best stories! The manager was Mr. Scott; he ruled with an iron hand. Co workers were Pete Deliver, Uve Schneeklaus, Joe Policastro, Richie Speare and others I've forgotten.

When you were parked in the back getting it on, I was the guy that banged on your roof looking for cancer fund donations! This was a tough atmosphere to work in as an 18 year old. Those guys worked on the LIRR, drove trucks, and were TOUGH! Great guys, they prepared me for anything that came my way in life. Great days; had to work every weekend but got in free on my day off. That's right, ay off and $1.35 an hour.
#15 - Freaky Fred - 02/19/2014 - 07:32
as a kid growing in laurelton, ny,
my parents used to take me to GREEN ACRES
for shopping and I vaugly remembered seeing
a huge sign reading SUNRISE DRIVE-IN in
in the late 70's before it was torn down
and because SUNRISE CINEMAS. saw good movies
there. the most tragic thing happened to
it rival theatre GREEN ACRES CINEMAS-formerly century threater NEXT TO THE 'late'
ALEXANDERS. it was demolished years ago-but
I took a PICUTE of it and I still have it!
#16 - rodney dorsey - 06/18/2014 - 13:51
My mother work there from 1956 to 1963
My Aunt work up front an my Uncle was the asst.to Mr Scott
I was there every summer on sunday night
#17 - Ruth Nugent - 08/14/2014 - 08:22
sunrisemultiplex closed down today
1-19-15
#18 - george - 01/19/2015 - 20:44
closed 1978
#19 - al nyland - 08/02/2016 - 17:03
I remember as a kid seeing My first karate movie there on a Saturday Night called "Deadly China Doll" 2 weeks later We begged our dad to take us to see the movie everyone in 1st grade was talking about "Enter the Dragon" loved it loved it loved great memories.
#20 - AJ Palmer - 08/08/2016 - 07:28
I lived on the first block so I could watch the movie from my how used to jump the fence to watch it until Mr Scott caught us after that he gave us passes with our picture on it. Still have it
#21 - Tommy - 10/11/2016 - 14:47
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