The Bay Drive-In Theatre in Alexandria Bay, NY, in the "Heart of the Thousand Islands" was constructed in 1968 to replace the Thousand Island Drive-In Theatre which was located adjacent to the Thousand Island Bridge into Canada via Wesley Island. With the construction of the cloverleaf at that location of I-81 and NY 12 the original drive-in theatre could no longer exist.
The Bay Drive-In Theatre was constructed on 6 acres of land where a small amusement park had been built and never opened on NY 26 at Bailey Settlement Road, 1/2 mile outside the Village of Alexandria Bay. The screen is a Selby tower screen and all the concession equipment was built by Manley. The capacity of the theatre was 300 cars.
The present owners purchased the Bay Drive-In Theatre in 1982 and have continued to improve both product shown and the services to their patrons. A concentrated effort was made to remodel and expand the operation beginning in 1992. The three years of remodeling which included completely rebuilding the concession area, connecting the concession building to the restroom building with an inside seating area with capacity of 60 seats was finished on Friday, July 14, 1995.
At 4:20am on the morning of Saturday, July 15, 1995, we experienced Microburst 95, the worst wind storm in recent NY history. The theatre was extensively damaged including the building roof structure and the face of the screen. Within 9 days the theatre was back in full operation. When the movie, "Twister" was released in 1996, we had lived the experience shown at the drive-in theatre in that feature.
In 1997, additional acreage was purchased which was contiguous to the original theatre and a second theatre was constructed with a self-designed 33' x 66" tower screen, and a capacity of 200 cars in the new theatre. The second screen went into operation July 30, 1999. Sound in theatre one is FM stereo and AM radio sound as well as some speakers for nostalgic reasons. In theatre two the sound is all radio sound. Projection equipment includes Century and Simplex XL. Christy platters are in operation in both projection booths. Operation is weekends in April (Fri-Sat-Sun), full time in early May thru Labor Day with first run product. Weekends again in the fall into October.